11 Apr 2011

No sanction for approaches to northern candidates - party

8:55 am on 11 April 2011

Maori Party president Pem Bird says any canvassing of candidates to run against Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is being done without the party's official sanction.

Te Rarawa chair Haami Piripi says he turned down an approach to stand against Mr Harawira, but many iwi leaders in the north are concerned about how the party can maintain a presence there.

Mr Bird says he's heard that a number of people have been approached.

A meeting of the party's national council next weekend will discuss whether it will follow its non-competition agreement with its former MP, who is now an independent.

Mr Bird told Waatea News that the immediate priority is to re-establish Maori Party branches in the north, as many electorate officials followed Mr Harawira out of the party.