Flavell goes back on comments about Helen Clark

By Heta Gardiner

The Māori Party has come out strongly opposed to Helen Clark taking the top job at the UN. Today Te Kāea interviewed Māori Party co-leader and Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell who acknowledged the party changed its stance. It follows a Te Kāea interview in April where Te Ururoa Flavell told Te Kāea he was strongly supportive of her nomination.

Flavell says, “The Māori Party believes that we can't support her bid until she addresses the wrongs of the past. Until she acknowledges how she has wronged Māori.”

The tense history between Helen Clark and the Māori people is well documented. And the Māori Party was playing a whole different tune in April.

Flavell told Te Kaea, “I thank her and thank the government who have nominated her for this position, and rightfully so.”

But today the co-leader changed his position.

“I was caught by surprise by that question. We have since had time to reflect on that position and delve more deeply into the issue,” says Flavell.

The change of heart comes with unusual timing given that Helen Clark put her nomination forward four months ago.

“It is my job to put forward a fair reflection of the Māori Party's views on various issues. This was an important one for us so caution was needed.”

Helen Clark heads the UN Development Programme and is hoping to become the next secretary-general of the world body.