Waatea News Column: Maori Party asks Simon Bridges where are the Maori voices?


Last week, Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer demanded to know where the Maori voices on Simon Bridge’s Epidemic Response Committee were and she deserves an answer.

To be fair to Simon, the lack of Māori voices heard during this pandemic is not his fault, it is a structural bias that simply sees Māori as the problem rather than a solution.

The Epidemic Response Committee has been set up to deal with this unprecedented event but the usual blindspot of the lived Māori experience means decisions getting made are done so without listening to indigenous voices.

To his credit, Simon has come out and stated he will work harder to ensure Māori voices get heard but when you consider National’s role in attacking Indigenous checkpoints to stop tourists from possibly spreading the virus to rural Māori communities, you wonder how hard Simon will try to listen when he is so actively trying to gag the Māori experience.

In any economic downturn, Māori, Pacifica, the young and working people are the first to feel the bite, if we are to rebuild our economy we must listen to those who had less to start with because they will also be the ones with the most to lose.

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First published on Waatea News.


  1. Simple isnt probably going to be around much longer so his ‘voice’ isnt worth counting on in the near future.

  2. he may be a horrible dog whistling right winger whose accent irritates the country but he is Maori, the first Maori leader of a major political party, so like it or not he is a Maori voice, sure he speaks for corporate, regional and super rich NZ but the Maori party empowered those people for 9 years so if he doesn’t have a Maori voice because of his affiliation then neither does the Maori party.

    As someone from a mixed raced family he above comments verge on racial purity which is as vomit inducing as the idea that all Maori think the same and support the same ideas and if you don’t support said ideas , you are somehow less Maori. Simon is just as representative of modern Maori voices as Hone or John Tamihere what seperates the three is class, so the question should be where are the working class Maori and working class voices in general on the committee. Why are the voices in parliament in general upper middle class to rich.

    • He is a Maori but he doesn’t have a mandate to speak for Maori. He belongs to no iwi body as a representative or spokesperson for a Maori ropu, hapu or whanau.
      So hes just a Maori person who happens to be a leader of a party.
      See the difference?

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