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Maori King and party leader want to engage with Bainimarama

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 4, 2009) – The New Zealand government has refused to give its support to the Maori Party’s plans to send a team of Maori to Fiji.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said on New Zealand’s TV ONE's Q + A program, she wants to send a team of prominent Maori to Fiji to try to help the government, following Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The team will include the Maori King Tuheitia Paki and Dr Pita Sharples, the Minister for Maori Affairs and co-leader of the Maori Party.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the group could go as long as they were representing the Maori Party and not the government.

She has criticised the New Zealand government's lack of tolerance towards Fiji, saying military Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama deserves a hearing.

Turia told Q+A that New Zealand's harsh approach is wrong and isolating Fiji is not the answer.

"We've talked about this and we believe that there is a way forward and we should talking with Fiji rather than adopting the stance that we have," Turia said.

She believes the way forward is sending a high powered Maori delegation to Fiji.

"Dr Sharples is very keen to look at how we might be able to use New Zealand leadership and the thought of Tumu Te Heuheu, the king, that maybe a very small delegation could go and talk with Bainimarama," said Turia.


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