Feb 15, 2011

C'mon Tariana

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party is prepared to live with any electoral fall-out from its wrangles with rebel Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira.

Political commentator Matt McCarten has suggested Mrs Turia and Mr Harawira may be the only two Maori Party MPs left standing after the election, as the row over whether the party is right to support the National government affects support in the wider Maori population.

Mrs Turia says the comments by the former Alliance president should be read in the context that he has been advising Mr Harawira behind the scenes.

“He has a bias and he is showing it. As far as we’re concerned, and we can only guage it by what the electorates are reporting back to us, it is true we will lose some members and it is also true we will gain some members,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party leadership is not letting the complaint against Hone Harawira divert its attention from other important work needing to be done.

Firstly, I think Matt is wrong in this instance. Pita is fairly secure in Tamaki Makaurau while Te Ururoa Flavell, although less secure, will prove hard to dislodge. Shane Jones will struggle to pull back Pita's majority in the electorate. I have always thought Pita enjoys more of a personal rather than political following in the electorate, therefore The Maori Party’s political decisions will have a negligible effect on voter behaviour. On the other hand Te Ururoa does not enjoy a personal following rather an iwi following. Te Arawa will vote for their man while some other iwi within the Waiariki electorate, for example Tuhoe and Ngati Awa, casually endorse him. Mita Ririnui has signalled that he will stand down following the election, hopefully Labour stand a credible candidate with the connections and intellect required to really challenge Te Ururoa. Personally, I would like to see Annette Sykes stand (not for Labour though). I have already outlined in a previous post that I think Rino Tirakatene will snatch Te Tai Tonga. Rahui has failed to impress, although she does well as Tariana’s minion. I think Ngai Tahu endorsement is one of the keys to success in Te Tai Tonga. I do not know which way Ngai Tahu is leaning but given their opposition to the MCA bill one could assume favourable feeling towards The Maori Party is limited. I am curious to know what Marty Mars, who is more qualified to speak on Te Tai Tonga issues, thinks.

Secondly, Turia is correct, Matt has been advising Hone and for some I believe. Perhaps this gives credibility to the new left wing party rumours. More than likely it is just Matt offering help to a personal friend. Where Turia errs is in suggesting Matt’s column is spin. That is an overly cynical and politically charged suggestion that I do not even think Turia believes. Reading over the column even the most partisan supporter would admit the column is astute.  

Thirdly, expecting to gain members is wildly optimistic. The Maori Party’s brand is tarnished. The perception that the party is ‘selling-out’ is firmly rooted among Maori and non-Maori too. Reversing that perception will take many months. The word kupapa is often thrown about when discussing The Maori Party. Obviously, there is a depth of negative emotion surrounding the party – who would want to associate with such a party? The party is beginning to resemble electoral poison.

Lastly, Turia speaks of “other important work needing to be done”. Ahhh, and what work is that? Prison privatisation? Asset sales? Weakening work rights (90 day law)? Dumping huge costs on already struggling Maori families (ETS, ACC changes etc)?

Or were you referring to doing something about the Maori unemployment rate? The shocking Maori health statistics? Violence in the Maori community? Child poverty? Maori failing in the education system?

I wonder, but something tells me you had the first list in mind.


  1. Is Sharples about to loose his seat to Shane Jones this year?

    Tamaki Makaurau Kaumatua call on all to “prepare to hikoi”
    February 14th, 2011


    Elders from the National Maori Council have called for another hikoi from Northland to Parliament to oppose the new Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

    Kuia and Kaumatua of Tamaki Makaurau present at a Public Meeting held last week expressed their concerns related to the statements that have been made by the Maori Party co-Chairpersons, Dr. Peter Sharples and Tariana Turia.

    The Kaumatua and Kuia of Tamaki Makaurau have moved a vote of no confidence in the Maori Party leadership.

    Selwyn Muru an esteemed Kaumatua of Ngati Kuri who resides in Tamaki Makaurau said, ‘we were very dissatisfied with the Takutai Moana bill as put out by the Labour Party and we are equally dissatisfied with the bill put out by the National Party,’

    The Kaumatua went on to say ‘how dare the Maori Party leadership trample the Mana of our Tupuna.’

    Mr Muru further stated ‘that as a result of this and our immediate concerns for the Mana of Maori we are calling for everyone to prepare to Hikoi (March) against the Takutai Moana Bill.’

    Networks have been alerted throughout Aotearoa to prepare for a Hikoi to oppose the Takutai Moana Bill.


    * Selwyn Muru – Ngati Kuri Kaumatua- 09 360 8635
    * Lillian Howe – Kuia o Te Whanau a Apanui – 09 818 9309
    * Ngaire Te Hira – Executive NZ Maori Council – Mobile: 021 277 7488

  2. The rise in GST, and cost of the ETS - that doesn't reduce emissions but does add to costs, and the low minimum wage, plus asset sales that could further add to energy prices and living costs, as well as the betrayal of Hone, could very likely sink Sharples.

    An important questions is who takes over from Turiana after she leaves? The maori party has a lot of questions to answer if it wants to win back a lot of its supporters, because it is about to lose a lot over its silence on environmental issues such as mining in Te Tai Tonga and Te Tai Tokerau and oil drilling off the East Coast, which is deeply opposed by Iwi there.

    So on social and environmental fronts the maori party is failing, and Hone is asking the kind of questions that need to be asked. If Sharples does not come up with answers of his own, not those of the Iwi Leadership Forum or National's spin doctors, it is likely he will be looking for a new jobs at the end of the year.

  3. Kia ora anon,

    I am less than convinced Shane Jones can credibly challenge Pita. Shane is anathema to women and is perhaps more corporate in outlook than Pita. Pita is probably the lesser of two evils in my opinion.

    But you are right to ask who will take over the leadership reins after the departure of Tariana and Pita. Concrete succession plans need to be put in place as a signal to Maori that the party has a future.

  4. Shane Jones has spoken out about the Iwi Leadership Group though, so on that front he may be less corporate than Pita, and he has had some activist background.

    It may come down to what http://whaaingawahine.blogspot.com/ think is better for Maori and what the Labour party says it has to offer Maori this year..??

    Maori will never get a raised and decent minimum wage and environmental protection and so on under National and Act, what are the other options, that enhance mana, and tino rangatiratanga and ensure kaitiaki, not corporate land grabs and asset sales to foreign mining and oil companies...

    It would be interesting for someone to do an interview of both Sharples and Jones and see what their visions are and what they have to offer. I agree re Shanes and his lack of appeal to some, but I also know the anger re the Iwi Leadership Group undermining Maori Party policy and co opting the maori party into being a pawn of National and their interests.

  5. Perhaps, but I think that has more to do with political calculation than genuine belief. Either way I do not think opposition to the ILG is any sort of anti-corporate qualifier. Shane’s background in the corporate world must be kept in mind as well.

    Your suggestion re Te Waaingawahine is interesting. How much influence do you think the group exercises?



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