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Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and party MP Takutai Tarsh who is the former chief executive of the Manurewa Marae.



Māori leaders deny census data misuse claims

Stats NZ to look into allegations the Manurewa Marae misused census data to help Te Pāti Māori's election campaign.

Aaron Ryan
06 June 2024, 4:42pm
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Te Pāti Māori leaders have denied allegations the party benefited from Census data compiled at a South Auckland marae leading up to last year's election.

Statistics New Zealand is investigating claims that private data from Census forms were photocopied and entered into a database at the Manurewa Marae.

The investigation was launched after media reports claimed people in the area received text messages from Te Pāti Māori after filling out forms at the marae.

Stats NZ says it has appointed an independent expert to investigate the matter.

Takutai Tarsh Kemp was the chief executive of the marae at the time and is now the Te Pāti Māori MP for Tāmaki Makaurau.

Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer told Pacific Mornings’ William Terite that co-they are standing by Kemp and that this was just another of the many attacks levelled against the party.


Watch Debbie Ngarewa-Packer's interview below.

“We are the lowest funded and lowest sponsored party. I guess at the end of the day everything that we do is as pono (true) and is as true to the people that we serve and that’s who we’ve got to focus on,” she said.

“If we get distracted by everyone who hates how we talk, speak, do or feel, we’ll never move.”

Te Pāti Māori president John Tamihere has also denied the claims, calling for hard evidence, adding that reports from unconfirmed sources in the media reports were not helpful.

Te Pāti Māori president John Tamihere has denied the allegations. Photo/supplied

Ngārewa-Packer said despite the investigation and pressure from the likes of Labour Chris Hipkins who described the claims as “serious allegations”, Te Pāti Māori was giving its full support to Kemp.

“Every day and every way, one of our MPs - our Hana, Rawiri, myself - we get attacked, we get some of the worst trolling, the threats are revolting.

“But we always stand by each other, first and foremost as whānau. We stand by everything that our party has said and done in this kaupapa.

“None of us have come unscathed out of this and we’ll continue to stand against those who don’t think we belong and don’t like us in their world."

In a statement on Wednesday, Stats NZ chief executive Mark Sowden said Doug Craig of the RDC Group had been appointed to investigate the allegations.

“Mr Craig is an experienced public sector leader and a former State Services Deputy Commissioner, with a background in law, accounting, and strategy,” Stats NZ said in a statement.