Peters slams Sharples for tribunal appointments 'on election eve'

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters says serious questions need to be asked over Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples' appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal on the eve of the General Election.

Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

"This is utter contempt for constitutional propriety," Mr Peters says.

"There cannot be a valid reason for announcing four new appointments and seven re-appointments when no-one knows who will be the government."

Mr Peters says Dr Sharples has totally ignored the principle that no government should make significant decisions close to an election.

"He is either naïve, and one hopes a Minister in any New Zealand government is not, or he is trying to cement a place on the tribunal for his chosen 11 in fear of the election outcome."

Whether warrants were about to expire or not is not the issue, Mr Peters says.

"Tying a future government to a decision made in the last few days of the previous government demonstrates a total lack of respect for the voters' wishes."

Mr Peters says it might pay for Dr Sharples to read the Cabinet manual which makes the point that governments have chosen to restrict their actions to some extent in the period approximately three months before an election is due or from the date an election is announced, if this is within three months of the election date.

Examples of the forms of restraint given in the manual are the deferral of significant appointments and limitations on government advertising, Mr Peters says.