May 30, 2013

Your daily dose of racism

Newspaper cartoons are redundant. Memes are funnier. And more original. Today's effort is courtesy of Al Nisbet and the Malborough Express:

h/t @Regan_Gibbons

It gets worse.

h/t @edmuzik

That is Nisbet's effort in the Press.

You'll notice the overt racism in the first cartoon. Two brown parents - either Maori or Pasifika - playing to a familiar script. Add an element of classism and fat shaming and you have a cartoon that "promotes discussion". Poverty isn't funny, though.

Race is a proxy for class. The cartoons recognise that and mix the two for maximum offense. Not in an ironic, making a deep social comment sort of way, but in crass play at the readers prejudice. Racism is magnified and normalised when it's presented in the media. In an ideal world the media would be better than that, but not the Malborough Express and the Christchurch Press.  

The second cartoon isn't an overt play on race. However, the cartoon leads you that way - deliberately. The women are portrayed as unfeminine, a (mostly historical) way of demeaning brown and black women. The family is overweight, the father is pissed (in possibly a Once Were Warriors trope) and the mother is sucking a cancer stick. Ha, typical pohara maori behaviour. Not.

You could also read the "White Maori" slur into the cartoon as well. It's sad that these attitudes survive and find an outlet. Everyone is entitled to their views - even racist views - but not every view is entitled to equal weight. Running the cartoon is effectively an endorsement. In the wake of the Air New Zealand ta moko controversy, Maori aren't having a great week.  

May 28, 2013

Te Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election will affirm that Māori democracy is strong, diverse and dynamic

E tipu, e rea, 
Mo ngā rā o te ao; 
Ko to ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pāhekā,
Hei ara mō tō tinana.
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a o tipuna Māori,
Hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga.
A, ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, 
Nāna nei ngā mea katoa. 
Tā Apirana Ngāta, Mema Pāremata mō Eastern Māori 1905 - 1943

This Te Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election has basically only just begun, with the all the contesting parties  having had their candidates selected by this Monday. But already the massive and highly visible involvement and engagement in the democratic process has been impressive. It shows that democracy is thriving in Te Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, and that is somewhat reflective of the Māori seats across the country. It is clear that whānau are taking their democratic choices seriously, more seriously than in many general seats. They are getting behind their whānau and their candidates and supporting them in what are daunting roles. The high calibre of all the selected candidates is a testament to the talent of the people of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.

The massive engagement in the political process has been clear in many iconic images of the last week. Probably the best example of this was the huge Labour Party selection hui in Taradale. Hundreds attended. In recent years most parties have had declines in membership, so to see the enthusiastic support at the hui for their candidates is fantastic. It is so good that Meka Whaitiri got the job, she will be a great candidate for Labour. But what the media, especially the mainstream media, must realize is that there have been equally impressive starts to the campaigns of all the other parties that are contesting the by-election.

Some of these issues in this post have been raised by Morgan at The Daily Blog and others but I wish to share with you my views on this whole process.

The Māori Party announced their candidate, Na Rongowhakaata Raihania early and got on the campaign trail with him almost immediately. This is just what they needed, a strong display of unity at the start of the campaign. And it's genuine; they are fighting for their voice to be heard in the political spectrum. I am against many of their votes and actions, but we should credit them with playing an important role for Māori in Government. The National Government stirs a lot of anger among our people including myself, but I wouldn't deny the Māori Party's unique position and genuine representation.

The Mana Party has also had a strong start to their campaign. I'm of the view that Te Hamua Nikora is a star candidate. I have heard him in a few radio interviews over the past few days and seen him on TV; he has done well. He has been strong in his affirmation of seriousness and genuine concern for his people of Te Tai Rāwhiti. He has experienced hardship, success and been an inspiration to many young people. His comedy and entertainment only add to his skills, though his style may put off a few, he is an ideal candidate for Mana. I think that Mana and the Greens in particular will get a lot of young people inspired to enroll and vote. The relative freshness and youth of theses parties and their support bases to that of Labour is pretty stark. The photos and messages of support for Te Hamua seem to be coming in from across the country and from Australia are heartwarming. These sorts of issues should be canvassed more in the media, so that we don't all get endlessly told the line that Labour's got it in the bag. It is perfectly fine to say that they begin as front runners, but I really don't think that it's true that the by-election was won in Labour's selection meeting.

And of course the Greens have made a brilliant move in selecting Marama Davidson as their candidate for the seat, which this post goes into more detail about. She is another star candidate. It has pleasantly surprised many, and is a reflection of the growing support for the Greens among Māori. Marama will be able to use the big increase in Māori support for the Greens at the last election as a base to launch off and make even more significant gains. As a male feminist, I see the Greens as being a party that fully embraces and supports mana wāhine. Meitiria Turei as co-leader is the best example of this but other examples include the wahine toa Green MPs both Māori and Pākehā like Denise Roche, Catherine Delahunty, Jan Logie and Mojo Mathers. The Greens have more women than men in Parliament, 8/14, and they have been the strongest advocates of women's rights in Parliament. The entrance of Marama Davidson on to the Green political landscape significantly adds to this factor. The huge enthusiasm from within the Green Party and from Māori activists and voters for her candidacy will act as a platform for the rise of the Greens in Māori seats across the country.

The popular opinion among commentators and the media is that Labour is certainly going to win it and then it becomes a battle for second place. In my mind the high calibre of all the candidates proves otherwise. The fresh and widespread involvement in all parties proves otherwise. The deep felt views about issues such as oil drilling, child poverty and Te Tiriti issues will prove otherwise.

The Māori Option will also be an important factor. I know that many Labour and Green supporters are on the general role, so highlighting the option of moving over to the Māori role will be crucial for their campaigns. I acknowledge that money and party infrastructure is also always important, but the level of commitment from all parties that has so far been displayed will be continued on with during the campaign. This by-election comes at a seminal moment in Māori politics, the choices are all unique and there is strong support for all parties.

I may well be proved wrong on election day, but in my mind this Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election will affirm that Māori democracy is strong, diverse and dynamic. This campaign has the potential to inspire and engage, it has already done so. Marama Davidson, Meka Whaitiri and Te Hamua Nikora all stand a chance of winning this campaign and taking up the seat as representatives of their people. Even Na  Raihania stands an outside chance, despite the apparent decline of his party. I think the vote will be very split, and that the best candidate will come out on top. The result will give good momentum to the winning party for the Māori seats in the 2014 general elections, especially if they are one of the smaller parties.

At the end of the day, every enrolled Ikaroa-Rāwhiti voter will get to exercise their democratic rights in  the voting booths of their communities. They will be able to decide for themselves, after the hoardings and facebook banners go down, who best represents their convictions, their dreams and their aspirations for their whānau. I hope that they look beyond the history of voting in their whānau to ascertain for themselves who will be their best māngai in our House of Representatives in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara.

It is often taken for granted that we even have this most basic of rights, but we must always remember that in many parts of the world indigenous peoples can only dream of the robust, dynamic and democratic nature of our Māori politics in post colonial New Zealand society.

Post by Jack Tautokai McDonald

May 26, 2013

Marama Davidson for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti

"Green Party vision and policies offer our people a great platform to be able to advocate for Papatūānuku, for our mokopuna and whānau who are struggling, and for sustainable futures in good jobs and a clean environment." Marama Davidson. 

Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei. ©John Chapman 2013

The Greens have just announced that they have selected Marama Davidson to be their candidate in the Ikaora-Rāwhiti by-election. This is big news and very welcome news for those of us who were hoping for a strong Green candidate in the by-election. Marama Davidson’s candidacy throws a real spanner in the works, and I think there will be a tough contest among the Greens, Mana and Māori parties to see who will emerge as Labour’s strongest opposition in the electorate. 
I’m a Green, so I will be proudly supporting, and campaigning for, Marama in this by-election. Marama has all the skills and profile to elucidate the Greens vision in the communities of Te Tai Rāwhiti.
One of the main reasons I joined the Greens in 2009 is because the underpinning of Greens policy and values is an understanding that as humans we are all inter-connected to each other and to our economy and to our natural environment. This understanding is also the foundation of my Māoritanga. As uri of Tānemāhuta and before him Ranginui and Papatuānuku we are by whakapapa connected and completely reliant on the natural environment as it sustains gives us our place to stand as tangata whenua, literally people of the land.
This is why the Greens have so much potential in the Māori seats and in this Te Tai Rāwhiti by-election. Many realize that Green values, values like social justice, human rights, compassion, kaitiakitanga, mana wāhine and a reverence for the natural world are values that most Māori share and history has proven that the Greens operate with these values at the forefront of their analysis and policy. 
What Marama Davidson will bring, is an ability to communicate these values and the Green vision to a whole new cohort of people and to an electorate that hasn't had a Green candidate since Bevan Tipene-Matua passed away at the young age of 40. She is the kind of person who can inspire and bring out the best in others. Her campaign could help change the face of Māori politics as we know it.
In Marama's own words, "I believe Māori women are kaitiaki for our people and for Papatūānuku, yet we are often scrambling to be heard." This is a key point. Marama brings a perspective as a mother that the most of the other candidates are unable to do. If Labour don't select Whaitiri, then Marama will be the only woman in the race. 
With a field of strong candidates, this by-election is set to be very interesting. 

Post by Jack Tautokai McDonald

May 23, 2013

Rights come with remedies: on the Urewera raids

Police acted ‘unlawfully, unjustifiably and unreasonably”. Translating the bureaucratic-speak: the Police fucked up.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has released a critical report into Police actions during the Urewera raids. Sir David Curruthers found that, although action itself was reasonable and justified, many aspects of the raids were “unlawful, unjustified and unreasonable”. Curruthers recommends that the Police “re-engage with Tuhoe”.

Fat chance. The report is welcome – if small – vindication. The Police were in the wrong. The hurt isn’t easily mended, though. Re-engagement must happen on Tuhoe terms and a remedy must be given.

The corollary of a right is that it comes with a remedy. In the Urewera raids the Police illegally stopped, searched and detained drivers and their vehicles. Personal information was requested and collected. School buses were stopped and, according to Tuhoe, searched with children on board. The Police illegally detained women and children in their homes – in some cases for hours. The Ruatoki Valley was left humiliated, wounded and intimidated.

The vicious symbolism of setting up road blocks on the historic confiscation line was lost on no one. Militarising the Ruatoki Valley was not only unreasonable and disproportionate, it invoked the ghosts of history. The parallel to armed raids of Maungapohatu was lost on no one too.

But where to from here? The Police actions don’t appear to be criminal (in a legal sense at least, whether their actions were morally criminal is another question). A further problem is that there are several statutory bars preventing claims against the Crown or the Police in tort. The Limitation Act might also be relevant too.

However, a Bill of Rights claim is open. The victims can sue the Crown directly for public law damages. Depending on the circumstances of the claimant s18, s21, s22 and s23 could be relied on. Compensation isn’t the primary focus of public law remedies, but in this situation compensation is necessary to vindicate the rights that were breached, deter the Police and express society's disapproval. Punishment needs to happen too.

Rights must come with remedies. Here, there were clear breaches. The report acknowledges as much (if not in those words). It’s banana republic stuff. Bainimarama stuff. New Zealand has serious issues of Police (and intelligence community) competence. The Police not only regularly disregard the law, but evidence continues to suggest that they have a base disrespect for Maori. They shut down, degrade and intimidate a Maori community. A community with a deep history of Police oppression. They prosecute Maori at a rate wholly disproportionate to other ethnic groups. Don’t start on the anecdotes about Police harassment of Maori who look dodgy. The Police must be held accountable.

Post script: Full credit to Te Ururoa Flavell who has been strong on this from the day of the raids to today. His latest press release is here. I've been critical of his electorate work in the past, but not here. Good stuff. 

May 22, 2013

An update on Ikaroa-Rawhiti

The race for Ikaroa-Rawhiti is taking shape. Let me trace the contours:


With scarce resources and limited time Mana needed a name candidate. I think that’s why Te Hamua edged out Leon Hawera. Although Leon offered a better political mind (apparently), Te Hamua offered name recognition and street appeal.

Low turnout out will work against Mana, Bomber’s right to argue that it’s a race for second place. To win the momentum Mana needs to supplant and be seen to supplant the Maori Party as the independent Maori voice.

Te Hamua needs play off of his street appeal (the “Haati Naati” stuff). If he can do that effectively turnout will increase (I assume) and so too the chances of snatching second place. For his sake I hope he backs off any talk of marijuana.

The Maori Party

Na Raihania carries himself well, but that’s not enough to win. He was gracious and able in 2011, but the structure of the electorate hasn’t change - overwhelmingly Labour.

The Maori Party is running to win. The party needs to build momentum off of their budget wins and the byelection is the platform to do so. The problem, though, is that the party’s narratives are vulnerable. The ‘at the table’ argument is easily undermined against the ‘under the table’ narrative. In other words, the party can point to their wins, like $34m in new funding in budget 2013, but that is nullified against the context, $34m represents less than 4% of new funding in budget 2013.

Add to that inferior branch operations (in comparison to Labour at least) and the mana and affection Parekura had earnt (that will mostly flow to the Labour candidate) and the Maori Party seems better off going for silver.

The Greens

The Greens are serious about the Maori vote. Good. Standing demonstrates that their commitment to kaupapa Maori is more than rhetorical.

I wouldn’t have a clue who they have in mind, Manu Caddie is happy in local government, but I’d caution against parachuting in Metiria Turei. She’s more than capable, but without strong whakapapa connection it’s difficult to win legitimacy.*

The Greens role in the byelection will be, I think, to keep Labour honest. In the race for second place (i.e. between Mana and the Maori Party) there is a chance that Labour will gallop through the middle of a clear field. That’s not healthy and that’s where the Greens will be most important.


The byelection will be won or lost in the selection hui. Four candidates have stepped forward: Hayden Hape, Henare O’Keefe, Meka Whaitiri and Shane Taurima. All four are capable of winning the seat. The smart money is on Meka and Shane.

Hayden Hape is capable, but the indications are that he isn’t ready and lacks the recognition that the other three enjoy.

Henare O’Keefe is a legend. With local government experience (as a Hastings District Councillor) and a deep commitment to Maori (he’s fostered hundreds of kids over two decades), Henare is hard to bet against. However, without networks in the party he can’t and won't win selection. Winning selection is mostly about political manoeuvring, the strength of your CV is secondary.

Shane Taurima suffers from the same problem: a lack of networks in the party. The difference between Shane and Henare, though, is that Shane knows how to play the selection and is being well advised. He has leveraged off of the media and is signing up new members too. Aside from running a smooth operation, Shane's communication skills and wide whakapapa connections are his biggest assets.

Meka offers wide whakapapa connections as well, although her central strength is her iwi experience. Arguably an ideal candidate for post-settlement Maori society. Meka is signing up new members and is well advised too. Shane is a favourite, but Meka is more of a favourite (if that makes sense). She is a better sell on the ground and Shane - whether justified or not - is perceived to be a candidate that the Labour leadership is attempting to parachute into the electorate. That perception might be fatal if Shane is selected.

Lastly, if you want to be the first to find out who the winning Labour candidate is you can sign up here.

Final thoughts

This is a dry run for the Maori seats in 2014. An upset win is possible, but falls well short of being probable. Labour can win by default. The mana and affection that Parekura had earnt will fall to the Labour candidate. High turnout and the introduction of a strong Green candidate could fracture Labour’s vote and push their winning margin to the edge. Possible, but not probable.

*Turns out I was wrong on that one. See the comments. 

May 13, 2013

A budget primer

I won’t be doing the usual budget run down this year. I haven’t got the time. Instead, here’s a budget primer:

  • The government’s economic credibility is staked on their claim to a forecast surplus in the 2014/2015 financial year – view everything in that context. With droughts declared across most of the North Island, government revenue will (probably) be below forecast and expenditure will (probably) be above. The pressure to cut, cut, cut is increased. 
  • Maori funding is an easy target. However, the Maori Party should insulate Vote Maori Affairs and Maori allocations in health, education, welfare and so on against an overall decrease. There will be cuts here and redirects there (as you’d expect), but the proper measure is whether or not there is an overall increase or decrease in funding. 
  • In previous years the Maori Party has secured modest increases. That’s a win. Well, a win considering that they’re operating in an environment of cuts. In the context of $90b worth of government expenditure, a (say) $50m increase is not much of a win. A matter of perspective, I guess. 
  • Tariana Turia has announced $34.5m in new funding this year. Again, a win considering the government is under pressure to meet their surplus target. On the other hand, not so much of a win considering that $34.5 represents a toe nail worth of government expenditure. 
  • Much of the increase will go towards combating rheumatic fever. Good. The rest will go towards papakainga development (good) and Marae/community hubs (good). It is easy to quibble with the figure, but the funding destinations are very good.

May 9, 2013

Shane Jones key to Labour's future

Hon. Shane Jones MP
Now Parekura Horomia has been safely buried next to his mother at Kohimarama in Uawa, the political world looks to Ikaroa-Rāwhiti to see who the various political parties will select as their candidate for the by-election to fill the vacant seat. I'm of the view that it will be a fairly straightforward election for Labour if they aren't complacent and don't take Parekura's large margin for granted. I don't think they will. They know better than anyone the dynamic nature of Māori politics in recent decades. 

In 1993 Tau Henare won Northern Māori and in doing so broke Labour's more than 50 year hold on the seats. This was the catalyst that saw New Zealand First sweep the five Māori seats in '96. Since then the Māori seats have been hotly contested and have seen some fairly significant swings of support between parties. But due to the unfortunate circumstances the nature of this election is unique. If Labour select a candidate who is believed to be able to carry on Parekura's local work and commitments then they should be pretty confident.

So assuming Labour do win comfortably they will be well placed in the Māori seats for the 2014 general election. But it's not just Parekura's position as Māngai for Te Tai Rāwhiti that will need to be filled. His role as the Labour Party's 'Chief' will now probably be taken up by Shane Jones.  As Annette King said in the Parliamentary poroporoaki on Tuesday, Parekura passed his 'baton' of political position within Labour to Shane Jones. There will now be huge expectations on Jones, whose career has had its controversies, but I think he is perfectly placed to respond to the challenges of the current Māori political climate. As he showed in his Parliamentary tribute, which was by far the best of the day, Maori statesmanship has not perished with Parekura Horomia. Jones composed a mōteatea for his "closest friend in the political world". It was a beautiful and moving waiata that confirmed that Jones himself is "a link with the old world", as he described Parekura on the day he passed away. Jones was intensely trained and educated during his youth by the kaumatua of the North. He has oratorical brilliance, an exceptional intelligence and a sharp political mind, all of which will be necessary for Labour to try and fend off Green and Mana advances in the Māori seats. The Māori Party will probably continue to decline further with the departure of Tariana Turia.

So it's almost certain that David Shearer will now give Jones the Māori Affairs portfolio, the position of seniority in Labour's Māori caucus. Even if Shearer and Robertson decide instead on Nanaia Mahuta, who has the Parliamentary experience, whakapapa and talent to be able to do well in the role, Jones will still be seen as the 'Chief'. This will help him if he stands again in Tamaki Makaurau as it would be a contest between the two kaumatua of Parliament, himself and Dr Pita Sharples, and also an electoral battle between the current Minister and probable Shadow Minister for Māori Affairs. Jones has the political instinct and nous, but Sharples has better established links with the electorate. If I were to hazard a guess more than a year before the election, I would put my money on Jones. Sharples' declaration that he wants stay in Parliament until he is taken out in a box, won't go down well in what is actually quite a young, liberal electorate.

Jones campaigning at Otara Markets in South Auckland

Jones' biggest challenge will be his perception within flaxroots communities. He needs to be able to convince low paid workers and community sector advocates that he is on their side, like Parekura did so excellently. He does not have the same working class background as Parekura Horomia, but his oratory and achievements do, and will continue to, endear him to many Māori and Pākehā alike. But if Labour really want to stop Green and Mana momentum in the Māori seats they will need to try and inspire the taiohi Māori vote. The 18-24 grouping is the largest in all seven of the Māori seats but many taiohi don't vote on election day. The Greens are relatively strongest in this area of the population and have a lot of potential in electorates like Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Tonga and Te Tai Hauāuru, while Te Mana will probably continue to do well among young people in Te Tai Tokerau and Waiariki. 

Jones does have the potential to inspire young voters as he in many ways epitomizes Māori aspiration. He has worked at the highest levels of Māori and Pākeha society in both the public and private sector, while always retaining a deep level of commitment to tikanga Māori, reo Māori and iwi Māori. Be sure that Jones will do his very best to hammer the Greens and Mana in the run up to the election. However, his recent call for the re-planting of native trees in the North as part of a strategy to support the reforestoration of marginal land, shows that he has a high level of political discernment, because he realises that his attacks on the Green Party maybe seen as hostility to strong environmental policy. He knows that Labour can't ignore environmental concerns in the Māori electorates.

With the passing of Parekura Horomia the political dynamic of the Māori seats has once again changed. Shane Jones looks set to play a central role in the lead up the 2014 election and beyond.

Shane Jones' mōteatea for Parekura via Claire Trevett at the NZ Herald:

Ko te uranga o te Ra
Terenga waka torangapu
He waihoe tuku iho
Ko Apirana kei te ihu
Ko Parekura kei te rapa.
E Hina i te po hutea
E Tama te painaina
Hei a wai te hoe a Pare
Haupu a tini moehewa
He waka utanga kaita
E ahu ki te pae o te rangi
Ma te tai a Paikea - ariki
Te Matau a Maui tikitiki
Te Upoko o te Ikaroa
Tena te ripo kawanatanga.
Nana te ohaki whakarere
Whangaia a pipi patere
Kia ngata, kia mapuapua
Aue e Pare ngakaunui
E whakawairua kau iho.

Under a rising sun
A waka appears
A time-worn journey.
Apirana is at the prow,
Parekura at the stern.
Moon goddess of pale light
Sun god, we feel your heat.
Who takes Pare's challenge?
Driven by great dreams
His is a waka of legacy.
Fix your course
By the tides of Paikea
Past the Hook of Maui
To the Head of the fish
Where power swirls.
Your departing words:
Feed the little ones
To grow and flourish
Pare, of great heart
Your spirit enjoins us.

Post by Jack Tautokai McDonald

May 7, 2013

The chief has left the building

It was a sweet sort of sorrow. Sweet sorrow might be an oxymoron, but it captures the mood. The tributes were warm and in good humour, but mindful of the immense loss. Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti were glorious hosts and the whanau – warmest regards to them – were so generous. It will be a long time, a very long time before Maori lose another like Parekura.

Now that the chief is resting, attention is turning to the byelection. The Speaker will declare the seat vacant and the fish will start circling. I’ve thrown together my rough thoughts:

  • Labour can and might win by default, but a default win doesn’t guarantee momentum. Momentum will fall to whoever controls the discourse. Maori political discourse is not as fluid as mainstream discourse. Debate doesn’t conform to news cycles – issues are dealt with on “Marae time”* – and issues are framed differently.    
  • Even if Labour doesn’t control the discourse, the Labour candidate can ride off of the mana and affection Parekura earnt. That’s an advantage, but that assessment is missing the third (and most important) factor: the winning candidate will embody or be seen to embody Parekura’s legacy. Think kanohi kitea and so on. 
  • Whakapapa is important, as always. Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungungu dominate the electorate. Ngati Kahungungu is larger (in number), but Ngati Porou is larger in influence and political pedigree. A candidate with links to either Ngati Porou or Ngati Kahungungu is essential (preferably both). 
  • The Labour candidate will have access to decent party infrastructure. Parekura kept several active branches and had knowledgeable and experienced staffers in Gisborne, Hastings and (on and off) in Wainuiomata. The other parties do not enjoy corresponding infrastructure. 
  • Ikaroa-Rawhiti is not as urbanised as Te Tai Tonga or Tamaki Makaurau. It is a provincial, working class electorate. In Te Tai Tonga, for example, it would be enough to run a Wellington/Christchurch-centric campaign. Ikaroa-Rawhiti demands a spread. Labour is best placed to run an electorate-wide campaign. 
  • Interestingly, 23% of voters speak te reo, 38% have no qualification and 50% are religious. Comparatively high rates. With that in mind, having decent reo should be a requirement for any candidate (though not entirely essential - you can get away with not having it), religion is a nice to have ("nice to have" is the wrong term isn't it?), but not essential and running a education-focused campaign (like Parekura always did) is essential. 
  • The by election should be treated as a dry run for the Maori seats in 2014. 

Post script: I don’t want to start this discussion too soon and I’ll gladly withdraw if that’s the case.

*A common saying. The fancy interpretation is that there is no time out, no time limit or any other time dictate. Usually it just means everything takes ages.