ACT leader David Seymour was at an Auckland festival on Sunday afternoon celebrating the opening of a temple in India.
On Saturday, at the hui at Tūrangawaewae Marae, around 10,000 Māori gathered to express frustration over new Government policies.
However, Seymour was nowhere to be seen.
“Basically because you don’t have to go to every single event that happens in New Zealand,” he explained to Newshub.
Those who did go to the hui – which was called by the Māori King – have major concerns regarding Māori health, Te Reo, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Seymour said the new Government is trying to unify New Zealand.
“I’m sick and tired of people being categorised by questions like Newshub’s right now – ‘Do I think Māori are happy?’,” he said.
“There’s no answer to that because actually there’s about three-quarters of a million people who are quite capable of thinking for themselves and don’t need to be categorised by race.”
At the hui to voice their fears over the coalition Government’s Māori policies, 10,000 people turned up.
“So 10,000 people, what exactly is that – 0.02 percent of the New Zealand population?” Seymour asked.
“We’re promoting a modern, multi-ethnic, liberal democratic country where everyone has the same rights and duties.”
Māori health advocate Lady Tureiti Moxon filed an urgent claim with the Waitangi Tribunal, concerned about the plans to scrap the Māori Health Authority. Now the Waitangi Tribunal has granted an application for an urgent inquiry.
Lady Tureiti said plans for the Māori Health Authority have been underway for almost 20 years since 2005.
“We finally get there and just in one fell swoop – this Government wants to get rid of it,” she said. “It’s just wrong.”
In a statement to Newshub, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti said: “We are aware a statement of claim has been lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal. As this is an active claim, we are unable to comment on it right now.”
Lady Tureiti said Māori have the poorest health of any ethnic group in Aotearoa.
“How many people need to die before we actually do something?” she asked.
NZ First MP Shane Jones originally described the hui as a “monumental moan-session”.
“I definitely didn’t get the volume of people correct… but the content of the kōrero – I don’t think I was too far off the mark,” he said.
He believes the new Government is trying to take the whole country forward.
“I’m deeply saddened by the description of our Government as a vessel of white supremacy,” Jones said.
“The Government is focused on the interests of every single Kiwi rather than every single iwi.”
And Jones said there is “no scope whatsoever for separatism in a flourishing, integrated New Zealand”.
“We need to have iwi leadership step away from the inflammatory language of white supremacy and other offensive remarks,” he said.
But Lady Tureiti wants Māori to have “our own solutions”.
“That’s what we want. The Crown doesn’t have all the solutions. The Crown has proven itself to be a very bad parent.”
Because she says doing what we’ve always done changes nothing.
“As much as people say that we are all one people and we all deserve the same – Māori do not get the same,” she said.
“We want good health. We want to contribute well to our country and our communities but in order to do that, we want to do that for ourselves.
“We don’t want the Government telling us what’s right for us and what isn’t right for us and what they will do for us. We want to do those things for ourselves and we want them to enable us to do that.”