Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has come out swinging at the Māori Party’s policy to rename New Zealand Aotearoa, calling it “headline hunting”.
In time for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Party candidate for Waiariki, Rawiri Waititi, announced the party’s policy for te reo Māori.
The policy announced sets out to ensure New Zealand’s name is changed to Aotearoa and that all Pākeha place names, cities and towns will be replaced with their original Māori ingoa (name) by 2026.
But Mr Peters has criticised the policy on Twitter, saying it’s a bad move at a time when exports are particularly important.
“This is plain headline hunting without any regard to the cost to this country,” Peters wrote on the social media platform.
“It will make our international marketing brand extraordinarily confusing when exports will be critical to our economic survival.”
The NZ First leader went on to say the Māori Party was “again rushing down the path of separatism” instead of focusing on jobs, housing, health and education.
Its approach “will be great for the ‘Treaty of Waitangi industry’ but disastrous for Māori seeking the four fundamentals of housing, education, employment and health”.