Turia complains to speaker over Piripi's treatment
04 August 2004
Maori Party leader Tariana Turia lodged a complaint yesterday with the Speaker that MPs' attacks on Maori Language Commission chief executive Haami Piripi are a breach of Parliament's rules.
Mr Piripi is under fire for saying in a submission to a select committee that the Government's foreshore and seabed policy could result in civil war.
Mrs Turia said Parliament's standing orders stated that it was contempt of Parliament to punish someone for making a submission.
She quoted standing orders as saying that "The House may treat as contempt. . . assaulting, threatening or disadvantaging a person on account of evidence given by that person to the House or a committee".
A number of MPs from all parties, including ACT Maori affairs spokesman Stephen Franks – who is named in Mrs Turia's complaint to the Speaker Jonathan Hunt – have criticised Mr Piripi and called for his sacking.
"I consider the allegations made over the last three days by various Members of Parliament (have breached Standing Orders), but specifically from Stephen Franks, to be threatening or disadvantaging Mr Piripi on account of his evidence," Mrs Turia said to Mr Hunt in a letter last night.
Mrs Turia cited Mr Franks as saying: "Haami Piripi should go and National should be vowing not to rest while Mr Piripi retains his state pay cheque."
Mrs Turia said the language used was "intimidatory" and "personally denigrating".
Ian Llewellyn, NZPA,