Winston Peters hits back at 'balderdash' idea of strained relationship between Govt, Māori

Winston Peters denies a diminishing relationship with Māori, amid Oranga Tamariki being investigated for its baby uplifts and Ihumātao protests ongoing.

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The deputy Prime Minister talked about the Government’s relationship with Māori on TVNZ1’s Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

The deputy Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast today issues had been "smoldering for some time", but suggestions the Government's relationship with Māori had gone up in smoke were "nonsense".

Protests are set to be held outside Parliament today over Oranga Tamariki and protests have been boiling in east Auckland for a long time - but heating up especially since last week - over the plan to build housing on sacred Māori land.

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It’s been labelled the biggest Māori land protest in decades. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Peters said he was going to be listening to the facts and hearing what people had to say on the issues.

"Just because there's been a show at this area [Ihumātao] in the last two weeks, that our whole relationship with Māori has collapsed is really balderdash.

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About 15 people gathered to protest against the uplift of Māori babies. Source: 1 NEWS

"What we don't need, please, is sensationalism around a very serious issue, particularly when it comes to Oranga Tamariki," he said, adding that the Government had invested $1 billion in the organisation.

Mr Peters added that many members of Parliament have come from a Māori background and care about the issues.

"We have a Cabinet which has a lot of understanding and relationships and history with Māori."

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The deputy PM and NZ First leader talked to TVNZ1’s Breakfast today about his party’s falling poll numbers. Source: Breakfast