12 Jul 2013

Sharples, Bird stepping down at AGM

9:19 pm on 12 July 2013

The co-leader and the president of the Maori Party will officially stand down this weekend, as the party moves to finally settle its leadership woes.

Pem Bird.

Pem Bird. Photo: RNZ

The party's Annual General Meeting began in Whakatane on Friday night, with the new leaders to be elected on Saturday.

Pita Sharples announced that he would step down as co-leader on 2 July, saying he wanted to bring unity to the party.

Dr Sharples said it became clear to him while campaigning for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election that the leadership has been on the minds of its supporters.

Party president Pem Bird is also resigning after three years in the role.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell says as far as he knows, he is the only person standing for the position of male co-leader.

As for the presidency, Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua chair Naida Glavish and Auckland business consultant George Ngatai both have their hands up.

The kaupapa of the party merging with the Mana Movement is also likely to be discussed.