From Waatea News;
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party is prepared to live with any electoral fall-out from its wrangles with rebel Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.
Political commentator Matt McCarten has suggested Mrs Turia and Mr Harawira may be the only two Maori Party MPs left standing after the election, as the row over whether the party is right to support the National government affects support in the wider Maori population.
Mrs Turia says the comments by the former Alliance president should be read in the context that he has been advising Mr Harawira behind the scenes.
“He has a bias and he is showing it. As far as we’re concerned, and we can only guage it by what the electorates are reporting back to us, it is true we will lose some members and it is also true we will gain some members,” she says.
Mrs Turia says the Maori Party leadership is not letting the complaint against Hone Harawira divert its attention from other important work needing to be done.
Firstly, I think Matt is wrong in this instance. Pita is fairly secure in Tamaki Makaurau while Te Ururoa Flavell, although less secure, will prove hard to dislodge. Shane Jones will struggle to pull back Pita's majority in the electorate. I have always thought Pita enjoys more of a personal rather than political following in the electorate, therefore The Maori Party’s political decisions will have a negligible effect on voter behaviour. On the other hand Te Ururoa does not enjoy a personal following rather an iwi following. Te Arawa will vote for their man while some other iwi within the Waiariki electorate, for example Tuhoe and Ngati Awa, casually endorse him. Mita Ririnui has signalled that he will stand down following the election, hopefully Labour stand a credible candidate with the connections and intellect required to really challenge Te Ururoa. Personally, I would like to see Annette Sykes stand (not for Labour though). I have already outlined in a previous post that I think Rino Tirakatene will snatch Te Tai Tonga. Rahui has failed to impress, although she does well as Tariana’s minion. I think Ngai Tahu endorsement is one of the keys to success in Te Tai Tonga. I do not know which way Ngai Tahu is leaning but given their opposition to the MCA bill one could assume favourable feeling towards The Maori Party is limited. I am curious to know what Marty Mars, who is more qualified to speak on Te Tai Tonga issues, thinks.
Secondly, Turia is correct, Matt has been advising Hone and for some I believe. Perhaps this gives credibility to the new left wing party rumours. More than likely it is just Matt offering help to a personal friend. Where Turia errs is in suggesting Matt’s column is spin. That is an overly cynical and politically charged suggestion that I do not even think Turia believes. Reading over the column even the most partisan supporter would admit the column is astute.
Thirdly, expecting to gain members is wildly optimistic. The Maori Party’s brand is tarnished. The perception that the party is ‘selling-out’ is firmly rooted among Maori and non-Maori too. Reversing that perception will take many months. The word kupapa is often thrown about when discussing The Maori Party. Obviously, there is a depth of negative emotion surrounding the party – who would want to associate with such a party? The party is beginning to resemble electoral poison.
Lastly, Turia speaks of “other important work needing to be done”. Ahhh, and what work is that? Prison privatisation? Asset sales? Weakening work rights (90 day law)? Dumping huge costs on already struggling Maori families (ETS, ACC changes etc)?
Or were you referring to doing something about the Maori unemployment rate? The shocking Maori health statistics? Violence in the Maori community? Child poverty? Maori failing in the education system?
I wonder, but something tells me you had the first list in mind.