Sepuloni said she thought it was cowardly that ACT leader David Seymour did not go to Rātana.
“What we’ve seen in the past is despite the fact that there may be debate that makes politicians feel uncomfortable, they generally show up. And so, it was cowardly of David Seymour not to show up, particularly given so much of his agenda, his narrative, his rhetoric, has been with respect to Māori, so he should have been there.”
On Tuesday, National deputy leader Nicola Willis told First Up that the Treaty of Waitangi is “clearly” a partnership between the Crown and iwi. It followed Seymour’s claim that he believed the Treaty was not a partnership.
Sepuloni said she was not comfortable with National’s promise the Treaty would not be undermined.
“I’m not comfortable in the decisions that have been made. That doesn’t show leadership. They’re saying they’re not going to support something even though they’ve allowed it to go to Select Committee.
“It’s going to take up the time of the politicians and the officials. It’s also going to take up money. There’s a lack of leadership in even allowing this to go through, so I’m not comfortable with the promise or the direction and the decision-making that’s been undertaken by Christopher Luxon and the government in general.”
NZ First leader Winston Peters and deputy leader Shane Jones delivered fiery speeches at Rātana, and faced some heckling. Sepuloni said she had not seen a response like it at the Pā before.
“It was very confrontational. It was very uncomfortable to watch, and there’s a level of arrogance, really in the way in which the issues were approached by the politicians from the government.
“That was what incited the heckling and the response from those that were in attendance.”