Waitangi celebrations are always a hot topic for one reason or another. Our new Prime Minister, Bill English has declined to attend this year. This has caused reactions from a number of people. Today I want to highlight a few of them for you to digest.
Former politician and political commentator John Tamihere believes it’s a smart move.
The Māori Party are disappointed with his comments and decision.
You only need to search Waitangi on Twitter to see that there are many opinions on what has been going on. Many are calling out the PM for saying he wasn’t invited to speak as correspondence from the organising committee would suggest otherwise.
This is not the first year that there have been issues between the PM and local iwi.
In 2016 John Key didn’t attend after a gathering of Ngapuhi voted to ban him.
In 2012 there were protests at the flagpole at Waitangi.
2009 – PM John Key was jostled.
2004 – PM Helen Clarke was jostled.
1998 Helen Clark (Leader of the Opposition) was “brought to tears when Titewhai Harawira challenged a male elder for allowing Clark, a Pākehā, to speak on the marae when Māori women could not.”
Increasing numbers of politicians are choosing not to attend Waitangi, commemorating instead at Government House in Wellington.