Nov 10, 2011
Native Affairs Kowhiri 11: Ikaroa Rawhiti review
There isn’t an awful lot to say about the Native Affairs Ikaroa Rawhiti debate. There were no surprises, no real stand outs or no real disappointments. Business as usual up the coast really. If forced to call it, I’d give it to Parekura (yes, I used to work for Parekura, and yes I want him to win, and yes I think he will win).
It’s a fact though, isn’t it? Parekura’s just bloody good. It doesn’t even matter if he doesn’t address the question – he still sounds bloody good. The man was well versed in Labour talking points and he tied them in well with local themes and concerns. Where I thought he was particularly strong was on Maori trade training. He affirmed Labour’s commitment to reintroducing Maori trade training and he also mentioned the need to modernise the scheme because, quite obviously, the old school model isn’t going to fit so well with Maori in 2011. Parekura was also strong on health focussing on preventing problems rather than responding to them. This linked in with Labour’s children first policy. Policy wise, the highlight for me was Parekura’s speaking on putting money into post settlement governance entities. Post settlement Iwi structures are a real problem in Maori society, think of the problems engulfing Tainui, and Labour appears to be the only party taking note (please correct me if I’m wrong here).
Parekura wasn’t the only man in the room though. Na Raihania was good as well. When Parekura calls it a day I’d put money on Na taking the seat. He’s polite, moves well between te reo and English and knows Maori Party policy/the issues affecting his people. Na spoke well on health touching on Whanau Ora which he termed as “devolving” services to Maori organisations. I always associate “devolving services” with privatisation. Na failed to maintain his trajectory though. In the second half of the show Na came out in support of National Standards. He went as far as to say the Maori Party supports National Standards. Have he and the Maori Party not seen the international evidence against standards? Have he and the Maori Party not heard the warnings from NZ experts against the standards? Have he and the Maori Party not smelt the discontent coming from the education profession? Na said “in the absence of anything better we need to get something on the ground”. Anything better? National Standards are the worst option imaginable. The status quo works better. Anywho, other than that shocking hiccup Na performed very well and came across as a polite, respectful and knowledgeable candidate.
I don’t have much to say about Tawhai Mcclutchie. He was good - but no Hurricane Dearlove that’s for sure. I think he needed to provide more depth and try to keep away from saying Mana so much. He was good though (I won’t be disparaging of people who have taken a leap for something they believe in) and should be commended for doing so well on what is his first campaign and, probably, first time in front on the cameras and a live audience. I was a little shocked though when in response to a question on Maori wards in Gisborne Tawhai said there should be a 60/40 ratio of Maori to Pakeha – talk about radical huh.
On balance, the night belongs to Parekura. Na certainly didn’t harm his chances though and I think he may just be positioning himself for a successful run in 2014.
(The next debate screen Monday from Te Tai Tokerau)