My last post (and it was hardly a post – more like a few sentences) generated a passionate response from camp Annette and camp Te Ururoa. The comments fell into three broad categories: 1. Annette smashed Te Ururoa and he is “the one percent iwi elite scumbag”, as one fiery commenter put it 2. Annette is, in the words of the first commenter, a “BMW” (Bitter Maori Woman) with nothing more than a big mouth while Te Ururoa is quietly doing the job. 3. We, as in Maori, need to stop turning on each other.
I’m glad this blog is stimulating debate, but please, please can we keep it civil. Calling someone a “scumbag” or a “BMW” probably doesn’t help anyone.
Anyway, a few words on the debate itself. Annette won, hands down. She controlled the debate. Te Ururoa found himself having to respond to her attacks, or allegations is probably the nicer word here, therefore, he was unable to control the agenda. Annette backed him into a corner and portrayed him in an unfavourable light. It was masterful politics. However, Te Ururoa responded almost as well. He didn’t come out of the corner fighting, instead he steadily moved himself out with careful justifications and a focus on the Maori Party’s achievements. Te Ururoa’s responses detracted from the potency of Annette’s attacks (or allegations) and helped build the picture that he is a respectful person (which I’m sure he is).
Annette is prone to well crafted and well delivered rhetoric, so naturally this is where she stole the show. Te Ururoa built the best image, but Annette spoke the best. Each answer she provided explored Mana policy, at times she digged at her opponents and, most importantly, she linked every answer to themes that will resonate with Maori. For example tino rangatiratanga, anti-capitalism and the effects of colonisation. It was masterful politics.
Te Ururoa also provided in depth and considered answers. But often he found himself having to defend himself or his party rather than going on the front foot like Annette. However, he still managed to paint a good picture of himself as respectful and considered. Louis Te Kani, unfortunately, wasn’t a feature. He found himself relying too heavily on non-specific soundbites. A little depth from him would have gone a long way.
On a similar note the Ikaroa-Rawhiti debate is on tonight at 9pm. I’ll probably write on it tomorrow.