Maori King Tuheitia backs Maori Party in controversial political comments

The Maori King has laid down a challenge this election, throwing his support firmly behind the Maori Party.

But King Tuheitia's comments at his annual coronation commemorations in Ngaruawahia have brought criticism from those who say he has no business getting involved in politics.

"I'd just like to acknowledge all of the candidates standing for the Maori Party. You have my blessing, my vote and once in Parliament you will have a huge hand in my life," he said in a rare ballot box endorsement from the Maori King. 

King Tuheitia outlined the Kingitanga movement's plan to fight all future general elections. 

He's backing Rahui Papa who's standing against Labour's Nanaia Mahuta, the King's own cousin, in Hauraki-Waikato.

"It's humbling, very, very humbling," Mr Papa said.

King Tuheitia is also defending his right to be directly involved in politics.

"I have chosen to put the Kingitanga front and centre," he said.

It's something his mother stayed away from, and not all his followers think it's appropriate. 

"Well sadly the Kingitanga hasn't positioned so overtly in politics for as long as I can remember," said Ms Mahuta, Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato. 

Despite King Tuheitia backing for Mr Papa, Ms Mahuta will be extremely tough to unseat.

That's because at the last election she had a a 7500 majority - more than both the Mana and Maori Party candidates combined.

"I believe that Nanaia' got Hauraki-Waikato sewn up," said Kelvin Davis, Labour's deputy leader.

Today's declaration from King Tuheitai shows the Kingitanga movement is taking a long term view.

"We will make the General Election and the need to secure political influence a lifelong commitment," he said. 

The fight for Hauraki-Waikato is set to be a battle royal. 

His comments at his annual coronation commemorations in Ngaruawahia have brought criticism. Source: 1 NEWS



Man in serious condition following assault near Christchurch mall

A 41-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition in a Christchurch hospital, following an attack in the early hours this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area beside the Hornby Mall, on Shands Road, for a scene examination.

It is expected to be cleared by midday today.

Police are continuing to investigate the scene to establish what occurred.

Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Police in stand-off with man barricaded in Huntly house

Police are currently involved in an ongoing stand-off in Huntly, which started around 2am this morning.

The eight-hour stand off began when police were called to a home on Harris St, where a man and woman had been fighting.

Upon arriving at the scene, police found the man had locked himself inside and was refusing to come out. 

At 9am, he was still refusing to come out of the home and police negotiators are currently on site, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Charles Burgess told Stuff.

"He's barricaded himself in the house and is threatening to harm himself," Senior Sergeant Burgess said.

He's not known to have access to any guns, Burgess said but does have access to knives and other items inside the home. 

"A police negotiation team are trying to speak to the man so we can bring an end to this event."

A section of the road has been cordoned off and detours are in place.

No one else is inside the home and no one has been injured.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Truck rolls causes road closure in Tararua

A truck has rolled in Tararua and is blocking lanes in both directions.

The truck rolled on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, also known as the Pahiatua Track, about 7.40am this morning.

The driver sustained moderate injuries. 

No other vehicles were involved.

Police are advising motorists to use an alternative route.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS


Man dies in overnight crash near Gisborne

A man has died following a crash involving a car and truck on State Highway 35 near Gisborne last night.

The driver of the car died at the scene.

Emergency services were called to the scene near Makarori Beach Road at around 9pm.

The road was closed overnight, for the Serious Crash Unit to investigate, but has since been reopened.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS