By Tova O’Brien
The Maori Party looks unlikely to attend what is expected to be the biggest meeting of Maori in 30 years - next week's water rights hui.
Prime Minister John Key says the Government is also planning to avoid the meeting at Turangawaewae Marae because it does not believe there is any need for it.
“We do not want to engage in a national hui because we do not believe that there needs to be one,” he says.
However Koro Wetere of Ngati Maniapoto says the Government should be prepared to enter into discussions with Maori.
“You've gotta talk together. You mightn't bloody like it but at the end of the day you don't ignore the people who own the assets,” he says.
The Labour Party is planning to attend the hui, as are Mana and the Greens. New Zealand First would consider it, but National, Act and United Future will not.
That leaves the Maori Party. Co-leader Tariana Turia says she doubts they will be attending.
“Well at this point I don't really see the point in going,” she says.
Fellow co-leader Pita Sharples agrees.
“We believe this is a thing that iwi/hapu have to work out themselves,” he says.
Ms Turia’s recent appearance at the Waitangi Tribunal was all about symbolism , and if the Maori Party chooses not to attend this hui it may be a snub that is not forgotten.