Marama Fox vows to pay back $87.5k in debt after quitting Māori Party

Marama Fox has quit as leader of the Māori Party as she deals with unpaid debts of over $87,500 from a failed business.

However, she is still promising to pay the money back.

"I unreservedly apologise that this has hurt anybody.  If we had known this would be the outcome, we would never have established the office"

Not long ago she was in her full glory on Dancing With The Stars, raising money for charity.

"I'm just really proud we could raise money for Ka Pai Kaiti," she said at the time.

But back in her home town of Masterton, she was "losing" money - although she promises to pay it all back.

"We're working tirelessly to pay everybody back," she said.

After the Māori  Party were kicked out of Parliament, Marama Fox set up a consultancy in Masterton which was put into liquidation last week.

It's debtors declined to speak to today but it's known that she owes:

  • $40,000 to a travel agent
  • $30,000 to an IT company
  • $15,000 in unpaid rent and eviction costs for the commercial premises
  • $2500 for glass whiteboard
  • an unknown debt to Fuji Xerox.
A graphic outlining Ms Fox's various debts.
Photo credit: Newshub

The consultancy had a big idea - it aimed to buy up vacant land in Masterton, and put affordable homes for Māori  on it.

The idea is to start with 120 homes in the Wairarapa, then hundreds more around the country.

Newshub's investigations have found Marama Fox did have the backing of a consortium of business people, but the money never came through and no land was ever purchased. On top of that, her consultancy could not pay the debts.

Now the leadership role has gone, with Māori  Party president Che Wilson fronting for it today.

"She brought a spark to the party, and a spark to Parliament," he said.

Ms Fox admits "there were some bad decisions and some naivety on my part", and she still has plenty to fight for.