Maori Party praises MPs for charter school support
The Maori Party is praising two Labour MPs who defied their party leader and attended a charter school fundraiser.
Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare attended the $250-a-seat event at a school run by He Puna Marama Trust in Whangarei at the weekend.
Labour leader Andrew Little had asked them not to go because the party opposes charter schools.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says Labour will never change.
"It will continue to try to dictate to its Maori MPs about what it believes is right for the party, as opposed to what is in the best interests of the people," he said today.
"Our co-founder, Dame Tariana Turia, crossed the floor in 2004 because of the way Labour treated tangata whenua over the foreshore and seabed legislation - from what I can see, not much has changed."
Co-leader Marama Fox says she's keeping an eye on the Labour MPs.
"I've told Peeni that when he's ready I have a Maori Party t-shirt in his size, I could rustle one up for Kelvin too."
Labour and teacher unions strongly oppose charter schools, which can set their own curriculum and don't have to hire registered teachers.
They're state-funded and can be run by business, church or community groups.