Simon Bridges questions what Labour has done for Māori as politicians descend on Rātana

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Politicians from both sides of the House are descending on a small town near Whanganui today for the annual celebration of the Rātana Movement as the political year kicks off.

The event celebrates the Rātana faith's founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges and National MPs arrived this morning at the same time as the Māori Party and new party Vision NZ led by Hannah Tamaki of Destiny Church.

This visit is Mr Bridges' third visit to Rātana as leader of the National Party.

Simon Bridges, Nick Smith, Judith Collins and other National Party members at Rātana.

He joked he had "high hopes" for the National Party vote from Rātana, doubling the vote from one to two.

Mr Bridges criticised what Labour had done for Māori.

"What have they done? The Prime Minister said yesterday she values the facts. Well here are some facts," before citing the latest benefit figures, saying they disproportionately impacted Māori.

Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford with mum Jacinda Ardern and dad Clarke Gayford, along with Marama Davidson, at Rātana.

Latest benefit figures show that in December 2019, 147,464 people were receiving the Jobseeker Support benefit, a 10 per cent increase on the previous year. It comes amid a low unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent.

"It's the action and delivery that matter in Government," Mr Bridges said.

"When I say something I'll do it. When the National Party say something, we'll do it."

The Prime Minister is set to arrive at Rātana in the afternoon.