Feb 2, 2012

More on TPK and the Maori Party

The picture at TPK is becoming a little clearer. Pita Sharples has finally released a statement, a short one at that, expressing his support for staff. Sharples claims:

“How the Ministry manages their fiscal pressures and efficiency dividend is of course an operational matter for management. I expect to be consulted on the Chief Executive’s proposals for how Te Puni Kokiri continues to deliver the most effective services to the public, within the budget they have been allocated,” he said.

Firstly, passing the ball to management is a cop out. But most importantly, Sharples statement is, if one reads between or beyond the lines, a couched endorsement of the cuts. The Maori Party made no secret of their intentions to reform TPK, but I don’t think anyone knew their intentions were to cut jobs.

Winston Peters continues to hammer away at the Maori Party. He accuses the party of gutting TPK as a trade off for increased funding for Whanau Ora. Parekura Horomia also highlights the inadequacy of the Maori Party’s “at the table” argument. Horomia notes that as a Minister outside of Cabinet Sharples was unable to fight for the survival of TPK when Cabinet, or the appropriate Cabinet Committee, was thrashing out the details. However, that logic assumes the Maori Party actually wanted restructuring at TPK to be neutral, meaning no cuts, no increases, just a reshuffle. I tend to think the Maori Party supported cuts all along.

The Maori Party isn’t attacking National’s decision to impose cuts, nor is the party publicly lobbying for cuts to be deferred or cancelled. Instead, the party has remained silent, bar Sharples one statement expressing support for people who are about to lose their jobs. It appears the Maori Party wanted this, they just don’t want to wear the consequences. Hence Sharples attempt to deflect this as an operational matter.

What support the Maori Party clawed back with their threat to leave National has now evaporated. I struggle to see how the party has any future post-2014.


  1. What is your basis for saying that you think the Maori Party wanted cuts all along?

  2. It was always in the national party's agenda to cut jobs, they just waited till they were in their 2nd term to action their new world order action plan. Tpk cannot be immune to public service cuts and to blame the Maori party for this is a cop out. Keep your eye on the real enemy bro, those who wage war on the poor, the selling of state assets to destabilize a growing strength within Te ao maori. The Maori party will survive with the right structural support on the ground.

  3. Hi anon at 8.51

    Prior to the election the Maori Party made it painfully clear that they intended to restructure TPK. The party's confidence and supply agreement with National also states that the Maori Party wishes to, in partnership with the government, "refocus TPK".

    Given that Pita Sharples has not condemned the cuts I take it he supports them. Any idiot can tell that it was his, and his party's, intention to cut all along. Sharples has passed the buck over to management and implicitly endorsed the cuts. Why is he not condemning the loss of Maori jobs? Because he wanted the job losses.



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