Annette Sykes has warned John Key to stick to his knitting:
Maori rights lawyer Annette Sykes has suggested Prime Minister John Key should either get a law degree or stay quiet about Maori water rights issues.
“Perhaps he needs to go and get a law degree, which has been one of my concerns about him since he started talking about this. He really does not understand the complexity of the overlay of rights relating to resources like water.”
Fair enough. But Sykes also says:
Ms Sykes also said Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia should put aside the ‘baubles’ of her office and remember she is Maori by walking out of the Maori Party’s agreement with National over water rights.
As Mana Party president, Ms Sykes said Mrs Turia in particular should have a strong stance on the issue because it was her own Whanganui iwi which was among the first to fight for rights over fresh water. Ms Sykes said if Mrs Turia did not act she was effectively abandoning the fight of her own people.
“I beg Tariana, who I’ve got the hugest respect for, to sit back and reflect and in the spirit of Che Guevera who obviously influenced her last week, position herself for freedom and the rights of our people rather than to take money as a Prime Minister’s friend at the table.”
Perhaps Sykes should get elected as a politician or stay quiet about party coalition relationships.
She said both Mrs Turia and Pita Sharples would have to give up a sizable portion of their salaries if they gave up their ministerial posts.
“It’s time for them to do that, it’s time to forget about money and promote the mana of our people. That’s one of the problems – when you’re given the baubles of the Crown to sit at a table and you’re going to have those baubles taken away it does sometimes impact on moral appropriateness and I’m asking them to put that to one side and think like Maori, act like the rangatira [chiefs/ leaders] they are and stand up for our people.”
There seems to be a conflict of interest. Is Sykes acting on behalf of clients on the issue of water rights? Or is she acting on behalf of a party trying to play politics at the Tribunal?
Annette Sykes is a lawyer acting for claimant hapu at the Waitangi Tribunal hearing on whether state asset sales should be put on hold until Maori water rights are resolved.