2 Sep 2011

Iwi advancement what matters - Tainui exec says

7:16 pm on 2 September 2011

The head of the Waikato Tainui executive, Tukoroirangi Morgan, says the Chair of Te Kauhanganui (the tribal parliament) is diverting attention away from a significant aim - to advance the iwi.

Te Kauhanganui chair, Tania Martin, has issued a statement repeating that Mr Morgan has been disqualified from Parliament and the iwi's executive. The statement said he had been dismissed by 30 Marae votes.

But Mr Morgan disputes that, saying the motion was invalid and he's still the chair of the executive.

Mr Morgan says his focus now is to negotiate an outstanding Treaty claim, which he says has been supported by a recent parliament meeting.

He says the people sent a clear message to continue rather than worrying about comments made by Mrs Martin.

An advisor for Mrs Martin says Mr Morgan did not receive a mandate to negotiate on behalf of Waikato Tainui.

A power struggle between Tania Martin and Mr Morgan has been playing out in public for more than a month.

The conflict centres on spending, financial reporting and, ultimately, the undermining of Parliament's role.

Mrs Martin herself faced dismissal last year - when the Maori King sacked her for criticising a Te Arataura report.

She was later reinstated after seeking an injunction from the High Court Claiming her dismissal was unconstitutional.