Turia calls on Sharples to step down
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is being urged to step down at the next election by his fellow co-leader, Tariana Turia, who has already foreshadowed her retirement.
Mrs Turia says she wants to give the party plenty of time to consider a replacement for the co-leadership position she has held since 2004.
The party's third MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, is almost certain to succeed as co-leader.
However, he may not stand again at the next election if Dr Sharples doesn't give up the reins - and Dr Sharples says he wants to stay on in 2014.
Mrs Turia, who is now 68, told Waatea News she may hand over the co-leadership before the next election, and she wants Dr Sharples, who is 71, to also consider it.
"The leadership role is not about being a minister. Being the leader of a political movement is something quite different. There is absolutely nothing stopping Pita from continuing to be the minister," she said.
Dr Sharples told the New Zealand Herald all of the Maori Party's members have their own views on what future co-leadership arrangements should look like, but any decisions would be made by the party as a whole.
Mr Flavell - who is now aged 57 - said if Dr Sharples runs again, that would leave his own political future uncertain, as "that doesn't provide us with succession planning".
"I hadn't planned on making Parliament a career at all. So I'm just considering it."
Mr Flavell says he expects to decide what he will do by April, when the Maori Party's election candidate nominations are due.
All three of the Maori Party's MPs have been in parliament since 2005, after the party formed when Mrs Turia quit the Labour Party over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.