Te Pāti Māori will not have any of its candidates run in the upcoming Tauranga by-election due to concerns over safety and white supremacy. 

The by-election in Tauranga comes after MP Simon Bridges announced his retirement in March. People can vote in the by-election next month.

On Friday, Te Pāti Māori president Che Wilson said the decision was made because the party had safety concerns.

"A Department of Internal Affairs Report published in April this year confirmed that hate speech from white supremacists on social media is the largest form of hate speech in this country," Wilson said.

"Tauranga is a hotspot."

"The first hate-speech conviction and the belittling of te reo Māori at a public event took place in Tauranga, residents have been subjected to white supremacist leaftlet drops, and even our co-leaders have been the recipient of threats and hate speech by Tauranga residents," Wilson said.

"By standing in the by-election, we would be consciously sending our people into an unsafe environment and [we] can only imagine how hard this is for our whanaunga and iwi of Tauranga Moana. "

Wilson said the party was focused on having a more just, Tiriti-centric Aotearoa. 

"To get to this place requires more contribution to help lift Māori up to the same starting point as others in Aotearoa. This is currently being bandied around as being unfair, disproportionate and undemocratic, we know this is rubbish but have to continually fight for equity on our journey to a better Aotearoa." 

Wilson said the party knew Tauranga Moana was an amazing place with a rich history. 

"There is hope in what is happening with iwi and the Curate Church gift as an example, but sadly, this is politics and the race card will mean that Māori will be used by some as a political football and we are unwilling to expose our people to that rubbish."

Top Image: Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer speak to media in 2020. (File photo) Photo: Getty Images

More stories: 

‘I’ll take the leftovers’: rangatahi react to eating kina

“I have eaten kina once in my whole entire life: I know, 10 brownie points taken off me as a Māori.”

Price of burgers, coffee increase as food prices rise again

As NZ continues to grapple with a cost of living crisis, food prices continue to rise.

Presbyterian Church to offer future land sales to iwi first

The church will offer any future church-owned land for sale to local iwi before anyone else.