As I predicted iwi leaders, namely Tuku Morgan, have come out in support of the Maori Party leadership. Readers will know I am no fan of the self proclaimed ‘Iwi Leadership Group’ (for good reason I assure you).
In my opinion self preservation motivates the group’s stance. Members of The Iwi Leadership Group (ILG) have, through The Maori Party, formed personal networks with members of the current government. Herein lays the problem. The ILG has only formed networks and built relationships with one side of the political divide. Therefore, the ILG has access to only one team – The National Party. Ultimately, a second term National government will ensure the ILG have continued access to the top. The group has correctly identified Hone Harawira as an impediment to a second term National government and an impediment to a long term Maori Party/National Party strategic alliance. Therefore, the ILG want him gone.
If Labour occupies the Treasury benches post-election the ILG may lose their ability to access government and subsequently influence policy. Labour can easily ignore the ILG - their support is not critical to the legitimacy of government policy nor is the group well established or economically powerful enough to the point where they cannot be ignored. Some ignorant commentators paint the ILG as some sort of economic powerhouse but the reality is quite the opposite. The ILG cannot leverage government with economic threats. The groups leverage is purely political in nature.
The ILG probably entertain the idea that they are ‘big players’ and this is why they enjoy a cosy relationship with the current government. The ILG is in such a cosy position because it suits the Nat’s agenda. The ILG serves an important function – they legitimise and promote National Party policy. It is in the best interests of The National Party to have an ideological ally in Maoridom. Without such an ally the Nats Maori policy would probably encounter a fair degree of opposition and, as one commentator put it, cultural blackmail. The support of the ILG lends the Nat’s Maori policy a degree of legitimacy and ensures some political stability. A brown rubber stamp if you will.
Ultimately the ILG is a creation of The National Party. The Nats have elevated the ILG to their current position as the dominant Maori voice in New Zealand politics. This fucks me off. The ILG is limiting Maori political participation. As the go to brown guys in New Zealand the ILG are shutting out ordinary Maori. The ILG is not subject to scrutiny, their direction is not debated among Maori and access is granted only to the elite. The ILG is also entrenching political inequality in New Zealand. The group is strengthening the voice of the wealthy and elite in Maori society – not the flaxroot. Lastly, the ILG, in my opinion, lacks any legitimacy. I did not vote for any of those clowns. I don’t know of anyone who did. They are not publicly accountable to me either. The ILG is a self appointed and anointed clique. Nothing more nothing less. Just a bunch of chiefs with no cloaks.