The Prime Minister has meet with representatives from Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou. From Waatea News:
Ngati Porou and Te Whanau a Apanui representatives met Prime Minister John Key today in what Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is hailing as an example of what can be done by being in government.
Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell arranged the meeting so the iwi could express their concerns over oil prospecting off the East Coast by Brazilian company Petrobras.
Well, this sounds promising, but consider this from Stuff.co.nz:
A meeting with concerned East Coast iwi this afternoon will not change the Government's stance on coastal oil exploration in the area, Prime Minister John Key says.
So the Prime Minister will not budge. If so, what is the point of the meeting? The Prime Minister’s position renders the meeting pointless. The meeting is not even symbolic when the main actor comes out and utterly disregards the possibility of progress.
Pita Sharples has hailed the meeting as an example of what can be achieved in government. However, nothing has been achieved. The Prime Minister has brushed iwi aside before they even walked in the door. The meeting is, at best, empty symbolism. A real achievement would be to influence the government’s position on the issue. Ultimately, the Maori Party appear determined to justify the criticism that they are merely making symbolic gains as opposed to substantive gains.
The Maori Party is in government to manipulate policy and pressure the government on Maori issues. The Maori Party is not in government to organise token gestures.
To be fair, the Maori Party cannot influence what John Key says and kudos must go to Te Ururoa for organising the meeting (even though it is a farce). In reality no amount of discussion will deter the National Party; oil drilling is a Tory’s wet dream. Only a leftwing government will stop oil exploration and prevent oil drilling.