Nov 11, 2011

The week in Maori politics (updated)

It was slow going in Maori politics this week. Below I’ve summarised and commented on the main events.


News on Monday was dominated by the Mana Movement’s campaign launch at a Marae in South Auckland. In a quite deliberate and symbolic move the launch was held on Guy Fawkes day. There wasn’t really anything radical or new to come out of the day.

Native Affairs Kowhiri 11 Waiariki debate was held on Monday night. Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Annette Sykes (Mana) and Louis Te Kani (Labour) went head to head on issues like family violence and a motorway that will cut through the Puarenga Stream. Interestingly, Louis Te Kani put his head out and said, should he win, he will resign if the motorway goes ahead. In contrast, Labour’s Steve Chadwick (who was at the debate) supports the motorway (she didn’t point that out at the debate though of course). I called the debate for Annette and sparked heated debate with many commenters calling it for Te Ururoa and some even expressing support for Louis Te Kani.

A Te Karere Digi-poll surveying the Tamaki Makaurau electorate was released on Monday and showed Pita Sharples enjoys a comfortable lead over Labour’s Shane Jones and Mana’s Kereama Pene. This wasn’t in itself a surprise, but the extent of Pita’s support was. The poll indicated Pita enjoys a clear majority (58% support).


Tuesday was an empty day. The highlight was probably Kereama Pene saying Mana will not sit down with Kupapa. This we already know, but it was fascinating to see Pene invoke that sort of language. In fact, it was fascinating to see him speak to media at all. I would have thought that Matt McCarten would have tied a tight leash to him.


Another slow day. The only highlight was the Ikaroa-Rawhiti debate between Parekura Horomia (Labour), Na Raihania (Maori Party) and Tawhai McClutchie (Mana). I called the debate for Parekura, but I think had Na not endorsed National Standards the debate could have easily gone his way. Parekura has done his campaign no disservice and will probably cruise to victory.


A very busy day as far as the Maori Party was concerned. The party released their education policy which called for universal access to Te Reo Maori in schools. A great policy. If Maori, or non-Maori too, want to learn te reo then it should be available as a subject at all schools – or at the very least at all state schools. Te Reo Maori is an official language, an integral part of New Zealand society and giving effect to te reo is recognising the Crown’s obligation under the Treaty to actively protect Maori taonga.

Tariana Turia also called for a review of Te Puni Kokiri. I’m not sure if this is needed, but it sounds reasonable. What bad can come of it? None in my mind.


In the Herald I stick it to Labour for failing to enter or influence Maori political discourse. Labour is leaving Mana and the Maori Party to direct Maori political discourse and, as a result, allowing the two parties an opportunity to eat in to one of Labour's traditional support bases i.e. Maori voters. I need to eat some of my words though because what does Goff go and do – he makes a headline at Waatea News. Let’s hope to see some follow up from Labour.

Hone Harawira participates in a live chat on Hone confirms he will never work with National and provides a few insightful one-liners like "Charities exist where governments fail".
The Maori Party policy on making te reo universally available in schools still has legs.


  1. The recent polls suggest National have dropped to near 50%. This huge slump occured 'overnight' somehow.

    I smell a rat. Something tells me the Nats were never going to look at governing alone nor do they want to - with the inflated poll figures serving merely as virtual enticements for National supporters and dispair for everyone else.

    Now the Nats are in a bit of a panic, but I think there's more under the surface. They need Act, not for a coalition partner but to adopt their uber liberal 1% agenda to siphon more of the country's resources to give to ... well, the 1% of course. This way they can blame Act for any public backlash and remain relatively unscathed going forward.

    I'd say Acts policies resound with the majority of National MPs anyway, but they just don't have the balls to come out and say it. That's not how demagogues work. So they'll do a deal in Epsom with Banks, and probably scuttle their own candidate so that Act can get 2 MPs. It's hardly worth the compromise I reckon.

    But even if National has an outright majority come election day, they might have to 'dismiss' a 'rebel' MP or two so they'll be 'forced' closer to Act, and closer to adopting their leet policies.

  2. In a way, I'm hoping National will win. I'm looking forward to them totally destroying the white and brown middle class as Bush and Obama have done in the US, Belusconi in Italy, Papandreous in Greece, Zapatero in Spain and very soon Cameron, Sarcozy and Merkel. It's why Wall Street, the IMF and World Bank installed them. Bail-outs, QE and austerity is the name of the game. Get with it.

    Besides, there were certain responsibilities forfeited to the middle class and most of them are not meant to be there. One obligation was to keep a watchful eye on government and the media. But they haven't done that because the new middle class is made up predominantly of heavily induced working-class and under-class opportunists. So they may be middle class in income but still under-class and working-class in thinking. The real middle class left some time ago when they saw the writing on the wall.

    The so-called middle-class should go back to scrubbing toilets and standing on the street corner. Vote National and watch that smile turn upside-down LOL. Doesn't anyone keep an eye on world politics?

  3. So NZF are on 4.5%? Where did this come from? How can the mood change so quickly when the party was barely registering? Was there some mass means of communication between NZF supporters to finally show themselves all at the same time? This shows just how arbitrary, rigged or incompetent the earlier polls really were. The pollsters now have to save face with some real results or face embarrassment if the results fall well outside the margin of error as happened with the self-serving Marae Digipoll.

  4. Did I read right? Hone just said "I will win mine and Annette will win hers, and I don't care who gets the rest". Has he thrown the towel in on Clinton Dearlove and Angeline Greensil? Who gives up on their team?

  5. I agree with Anonmymous 1's comment, that has always been my "feeling" also. Part of National's spin machine is to market itself as a centre right party when it is anything but. It's my feeling that they were always going to let rip in their second term, yet there is no need for the Nats to show their true extremist colours, ACT is such a convenient vehicle to hide behind. The Nats don't even need to sacrifice their own slimey candidate in Epsom, he will get in on the party list regardless. Mind you, the Nats have come on strong despite the image they've carefully managed regarding asset sales. Maybe that's cos their financial backers have been waiting to hit real paydirt for a whole term and aren't gonna be so patient in the second term. Which means the Nats are accountable to money interests, not the public - it doesn't worry them one iota that the public opposes this policy because National seeks approval from the financial elites, not us. John Key is more of a "beige Obama" than we realise.



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