Simon Bridges labels Māori Party co-leader's haka in the House as 'fun and games'

Abbey Wakefield
Source: 1News

National’s Simon Bridges has described the Māori Party’s behaviour as “fun and games” after co-leader Rawiri Waititi performed a haka and got kicked out of the House yesterday for accusing National Party Leader Judith Collins of racism.

“It’s fun and games, it’s very easy to say someone or a party is racist and to make a show of that,” Bridges said.

“National were raising very legitimate concerns actually in a moderate way, that the Government can’t answer them is actually a sort of in a sense isn’t our fault, actually it tells its own story,” Bridges said.

"Over the past two weeks there has been racist propaganda and rhetoric towards tangata whenua," Māori Party’s co-leader Rawiri Waititi told the House.

National Party leader Judith Collins was questioning Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday over the He Puapua report — a report on the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples in Aotearoa — and the incoming Māori Health Authority.

Green MP Teanau Tuiono walked out in solidarity with the Māori Party and told 1 NEWS the National Party were “racially profiling.”

“I can see the strategy in what they’re doing, they’re flailing in the polls, they have an unpopular leader, and so they have been using Māori as a political football and so when things escalated in the House and the Māori Party got up and walked out, I walked out in solidarity,” Tuiono said.

“Neither the Māori Party, nor the Labour Party, nor the Green Party, nor the Speaker, despite a heck of a lot of hullabaloo on it, they couldn’t really tell us what it was that was racist, it was just a general thing,” Bridges said.

Act MP Nicole McKee said the Māori Party’s behaviour didn’t represent her indigeneity.

“When somebody stands up and says they are speaking for indigenous peoples and tangata whenua in that particular sense they were not speaking for me, and that I am an indigenous person that I think that it’s important that we have the ability to have a debate and we are in the house to do that, exactly that,” McKee said.