Jun 28, 2011

The Mana Party list...

Blogging can get pretty boring at times, especially when you only write analysis. I feel like a bit of a change so I’m going to offer my opinion on what the Mana Party list should look like. In no way is this any indication of what the list will look like, just my personal wish list I guess. It is important to have an ethnic, gender and age mix. I am curious to know what readers think as well.

  1. Hone. Obviously.
  2. Annette Sykes. Annette is heavily involved in the Mana Party and will, if she stands, win Waiariki.
  3. Jane Kelsey. Professor Kelsey is, I think, involved with the party. Kelsey is intelligent, articulate, successful, left and an advocate for Maori.
  4. Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury. Yup, I said it. Bomber is opinionated, funny and, despite what others may say, intelligent. He would make a great MP.
  5. Meng Foon. Meng is serving his fourth term as Mayor of Gisborne. He is a New Zealander of Chinese descent and speaks fluent Cantonese and fluent Maori. Pretty impressive if you ask me. A man of broad appeal.
  6. Helen Kelly. Helen is clearly to the left of Labour. My natural inclination is to say she is better aligned with Mana than the Greens. But that is speculation. She would make an outstanding MP nonetheless.   
  7. Moana Jackson. Moana is almost the anti-Hone. Moana is dangerously composed, softly spoken yet authorative and he enjoys a massive amount of respect among Maori.
  8. Keisha Castle-Hughes. Apparently Keisha is something of a Greenie these days. She already enjoys a positive connection with New Zealanders and she knows more than a thing or two about politics – especially environmental issues.
  9. Matua Parkinson. This one has come out of left field, but I think Matua has a lot to offer. He is something of a politico these days and, as a former sportsman, he enjoys an existing and non-political connection with many voters.
  10. Efeso Collins. This fulla was suggested by Pollywog. I think it is important to have a Pasifika presence in Te Mana. Efeso is the perfect candidate as well – educated, an experienced broadcaster and a man not afraid to ask the hard questions.
  11. Annabelle Lee-Harris. Annabelle is Native Affairs lead reporter and the daughter of former Cabinet Minister Sandra Lee. No doubt she knows politics. I guess the question is would she consider standing?
  12. Rawiri Taonui. I am pretty sure Rawiri is a Mana Party supporter. He is accessible, enjoys a national profile and is politically savvy. The perfect profile really.
  13. Robyn Malcolm. Admittedly Robyn is more of a Green Party girl, but she is a strong unionist I assume. She is too late to stand for the Green Party list, why not stand for the Mana list?
  14. Reuben Wiki. Slim chance, would be cool though.
  15. John Minto. I’m not sure about this one. I respect John for sure. But I don’t know…

Some of you may notice that I’ve left out Sue Bradford, Matt McCarten and Nandor Tanczos. As much as I respect all three, I do not think Mana needs recycled.

What are your thoughts... ?? 

Jun 27, 2011

Initial thoughts on the byelection result

I wonder if Guyon Espiner, Duncan Garner, Barry Soper and all of the other mainstream pundits who called the byelection for Kelvin are willing to eat their words - or at least sink their teeth into a slice of humble pie. Once again the mainstream commentariat has proven that they misunderstand Māori politics and cannot be relied upon to read the situation in the Māori electorates. I mean not to brag, but I called the result correctly. For the past few months I have stated that Hone would win by 5% at worst and 10% at best (he won by 7%). Other Māori political commentators picked the right result as well including Rawiri Taonui, Willie Jackson, Veronica Tawhai, Ann Sullivan, Tim Selwyn and Marty Mars. In fact Rawiri Taonui called it fairly close when he stated on Marae that Hone would win by between five and ten percent. 

You cannot really blame the mainstream pundits for calling the incorrect result though. (before I continue I should probably mention that not all mainstream commentators backed Kelvin – Bryce Edwards and Martyn Bradbury been the most notable exceptions). Common wisdom held that the conditions favoured Kelvin Davis. For example Labour had the opportunity to concentrate their resources, mobilise a nationwide net of activists, piggyback off of general electorate branches and offices, utilise Parliamentary staff and resources and focus the party’s experience and energy on one cause. Kelvin would have also had priority access to the Labour party communications team and advisers, he had the support of an army of sitting MP’s and access to their supporters. Given that this was a byelection the voting conditions also favoured Kelvin. By this I mean Hone’s supporters are, in general, more apathetic, couple this with Labour’s ability to run a better GOTV campaign and it becomes clear that low turnout will favour Kelvin rather than the incumbent (Hone) which is usually the case. Finally, Kelvin was running in a byelection that, according to the polls, no one in the North wanted. With the above in mind you would be forgiven for thinking the byelecion was a gift Kelvin failed to grasp hold of? Well, I can assure you, Kelvin was up against it from the beginning. 

Hone Harawira enjoys a deep, deep well of support, maintains functioning branches across TTT, he was the incumbent, he benefits from networks he has spent years building, he is perhaps the most effective backbench MP, he enjoys access to and support from hundreds of volunteers including some of the most prominent and respected Māori figures like Moana Jackson, he is more experienced than Kelvin as a politician and as a performer, he had the more powerful narrative and he carried the hopes of progressive Māori across the country. Ultimately though, what it came down to, in my opinion at least, is the powerful line that a vote for Hone is a vote for Hone and Kelvin whereas a vote for Kelvin is a vote for Kelvin. Māori are strategic voters and this sort of reasoning would have featured prominently in the minds of the politically savvy, read those most likely to vote. Another deciding factor was the Mana party’s performance on the ground. Hone tapped hundreds of activists who door knocked across the entire electorate, ferried families to the polls, erected signs, billboards and manned stalls. The Mana Party effort was equivalent to, or perhaps surpassed, Labour’s effort on the ground. The last factor that would have played in the mind of voters was Hone dominance in debates, town hall meetings and question and answer sessions. Hone won, quite convincingly too, every televised debate. Although Kelvin performed well in terms of delivering his lines and Solomon Tipene held himself with dignity – Hone was always one step ahead and one foot above.

If we examine the numbers we find that Hone Harawira won this byelection because he managed to hold off Labour in Auckland. The Labour party correctly identified Auckland as marginal ground. However, the party machine and Kelvin Davis failed to win Auckland in sufficient numbers. Kelvin won West Auckland by a mere 30 votes and the rest of Auckland by 158. This was not good enough. Considering that Auckland, especially West Auckland, is something of a Labour heartland you would expect to see Kelvin gallop ahead. What it came down to was Mana’s ability to neutralise the Labour Party machine in West Auckland. Mana Waitakere was, to the best of my knowledge, the first Māori Party branch to defect and then establish as a Mana Party branch. There was a transfer of personnel and – as you would expect - a transfer of knowledge, infrastructure and experience. When you examine Hone’s numbers it becomes clear why he won. Hone won the far north by almost 600 votes and Whangarei by 222. If Kelvin wanted a chance at snatching the seat he needed to win Auckland in those sorts of numbers. 

Another reason Hone retained the seat was because the Māori Party vote did not collapse and transfer to Kelvin. In fact it held steady. Solomon Tipene came in with 9% of the vote. A drop on 1% from what I and others were predicting. If The Māori Party vote dropped below 5% Kelvin Davis would be celebrating today as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau. Credit must go to Solomon for holding Māori Party support.    
I guess the big question today is where to from here. I said last week of Native Affairs that TTT is not the indicative Māori seat, but it is the seat that will determine who goes into the election with momentum. At this point it will be the Mana Party and Labour that share the momentum going forward. The Māori Party has stalled, but Solomon Tipene did a good enough job to keep them from going backwards. Mana will now go into the election with the energy, belief, and prominence to take Waiariki and have a decent crack at the other Māori seats, bar Te Tai Tonga which now belongs to Labour. Labour goes forward with the ability to take Tāmaki Makaurau as well. 

A Hone Harawira win will also change the political landscape. The Māori Party has declined Hone’s olive branch and this has opened the door for Mana to run candidates in the Māori seats. This will weaken the Māori Party and consequently weaken the right wing bloc in the House. The Mana Party will also target the working poor and beneficiaries. Two groups that are, arguably, underrepresented. If the Mana party can attract a sufficient number of party votes we will see a stronger left wing bloc post-election. Rather than split and weaken the left vote I think the Mana Party will increase the strength of the left vote. Mana has no interest in cannibalising the Greens or sucking off of the same base as Labour – Mana is concerned with attracting the politically apathetic.

The last point I want to make is that polls attempting to gauge Māori electorates should be taken at face value only. The Baseline/Native Affairs poll confidently put the result at 41% Hone and 40% Kelvin. This was, as I expected, way off. Beyond the margin of error even.             

Full credit must go to Kelvin and Solomon. Solomon Tipene handled himself well, especially following his leaders derogatory comments, while Kelvin proved that he is a rising star in the Labour Party. Full credit must also go to the Labour Party activist base as well. Although Labour is performing poorly at a national level the party can always fall back on their die-hard supporters when the need occurs. Kelvin is worthy of a promotion. My suggestion is that he be elevated to education spokesperson. 

Lastly, the best man won – in my opinion at least. The big challenge for Hone is to surround himself with intelligent and experienced advisors as well as people with experience in building successful organisations. Hone needs to take himself in a new direction and he needs to build a party of talented, committed and energetic individuals. And not just a party for Māori, but a party for all New Zealanders.   

Jun 23, 2011

The Herald and Te Mana's policy drop

Rubbish. Yvonne Tahana reports on an apparent Hone Harawira’s outburst at a hui in West Auckland. It is a total non-story delivered without a pinch of context. It is just a collection of statements that could be interpreted in a thousand different ways.

Hone is immediately framed in a negative light. The media was becoming increasingly desperate for a Hone Harawira “outburst” story.

This whole issue is about feeding the narrative. The media knows people will react to this story. This has nothing to do with informing our democracy. The Herald wants to sell more newspapers and further their anti-Hone agenda.

Anywho, that is enough whinging for today. One story the media have not covered this week is the release of the Mana Party’s treaty policy. From a strategic point of view, it made sense to release the party’s treaty policy during the byelection. All northern Iwi are engaged in the treaty settlement process with many approaching the final stages. Treaty settlements are a live issue up north and there is considerable interest in the Mana Party’s position on the issue. Having said that, I would have approached the first policy drop differently. As far as I can tell the Mana Party did not create any expectation - there was no formal launch among the faithful and the mainstream media. The party just seemed to quietly slip it in through the Māori media. It came out of nowhere really.

In my opinion the Mana Party missed the opportunity to create a talking point. Treaty settlement policy is, to be very honest, boring and does not really excite anyone outside of Iwi leadership and other stakeholders. It is not tangible policy in the classic sense either. With treaty policy you cannot wow people with big numbers and hopeful projections. Te Mana should have released policy that people have a tangible interest/close connection with. Jobs policy for example. The byelection provided the party with the perfect opportunity to throw out some progressive policy that will excite New Zealanders – not just Māori with a direct stake in the issue. In between now and the election Hone and Te Mana will not enjoy the sort of intense media coverage they have received over the past 4 weeks. All eyes were and are on Te Tai Tokerau. It was, therefore, a prime opportunity to release some big policy. Vote winning policy. Substantive policy can wait because, to be honest, no one outside of the political beltway is even interested in substantive policy. It was the perfect opportunity to launch the details of a financial transactions tax and perhaps throw in a surprise like “Te Mana will increase the top tax threshold from $70,000 to $100,000”. I am sure many New Zealanders agree with the idea of easing the tax burden on individuals and shifting it towards the finance sector. This sort of policy announcement would stir debate in the media, academia, the business world and in homes.

Ultimately, an opportunity missed. Don’t get me wrong though, I appreciate that Te Mana is releasing policy. I quite like it too. Hopefully I have time to analyse it in depth. This is probably my last blog post until Sunday. Hopefully I will be blogging on Hone’s victory.

Jun 21, 2011

Turia has a mare (updated)

Last night on Native Affairs I was alerted to some extraordinary comments from Tariana Turia. At first I thought she had been misquoted, but it appears her words can bear no other meaning. From 3 News:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has effectively thrown in the towel in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election with five days still to go.

She says her candidate Solomon Tipene is a lovely kind kaumatua but he does not understand politics and that has hurt him.

“I think he has shown he doesn't understand politics and that is fair I think and that's been a real issue for him,” she says. 

You can’t help but feel for old Tipene. He was chucked in the deep end without a hope in hell of doing well. He appeared to receive little to no practical and political support from his colleagues. Now his own leader is publicly slagging him. Outrageous: 

3 News asked Ms Turia who she thinks will win.

I mean ideally, and I suppose if he's done the work on the ground, it should be Hone - it will be interesting to see if he comes through,” she says. 

So that could be interpreted as Ms Turia saying she thinks Mr Harawira will win.

3 News asked Ms Turia would she urge Maori Party voters to now back Mr Davis to get rid of Mr Harawira.

“No,” she replied. 

In my opinion these statements represent a casual endorsement of Hone Harawira. Whatever personal animosity lingers between the two, Tariana’s hate for the Labour Party and continued desire to extract utu clearly outweighs any ill-will she harbours for Hone Harawira. Having said that, Duncan Garner reaches the opposite conclusion:

Ms Turia has not gone as far as saying ‘vote for Labour today’ but the message is still clear - the Maori Party is out of the race and if you want rid of Mr Harawira only Mr Davis can now achieve that.

I don’t think this is accurate. Nor do I think many Māori Party voters will lean towards Kelvin Davis. I’ve said before the tino rangatiratanga vote is incompatible with Labour, but comfortable with Hone Harawira. The anti-Hone vote, which really only exists in the minds of Pākehā political journalists, is small as well. I think it is logical to assume that if the Māori Party vote collapses then Hone will be the main beneficiary. Ideologically speaking, there is little to separate Hone and the Māori Party. It would also be a cynical and almost ruthless move to vote Kelvin in an attempt to keep Hone out. I doubt whether that many, if any, Māori Party supporters resent Hone that much. Remember it was Labour’s populism, or betrayal as many Māori Party supporters would portray it, that spawned the Māori Party. I tend to doubt that Māori will ever forget this. Hone is certainly the lesser of two evils. 

This move from Tariana may determine the outcome of the byelection. It is only Tuesday, but as the horrid cliché goes, a week is a long time in politics. I am still calling it for Hone. However, there are now so many factors at play. Can Labour mobilise the vote outside of West Auckland? Has Hone enrolled enough supporters? Will the Māori Party issue directives to their supporters? With so many variables can Hone still win? Definitely, and I am 90% sure he will.      

UPDATE: From TW.com:

Staff at TangataWhenua.com hardly think that the conspiracy theories hold any water, if you know Tariana Turia, although she has and had issues with Hone, she simply HATES Labour and we’d find it hard to believe that she would want to see Labour take the seat.


Jun 20, 2011

Native Affairs tonight

I'll be appearing on Native Affairs tonight at 8.30pm on Maori TV. I'll be on the panel with former MP Sandra Lee and we'll be discussing Saturday's byelection. If you don't have time to watch it live you can watch it online.

Marae Investigates review

Marae Investigates ran a good debate/Q&A show with Kelvin Davis, Solomon Tipene and Hone Harawira this morning. The show also featured political commentators Rawiri Taonui and Ann Sullivan.

Overall, the show was well run. Scotty Morrison is not the best interviewer, but he put forward a number of good questions and shied away from the disruptive style that other Maori interviewers like Willie Jackson and Julian Wilcox favour. Each candidate was given a fair go so credit to Scotty and the producers.

The debate started with a thirty second blurb from the main candidates. In my opinion none of them impressed. Same old, same old really. Kelvin stuck firmly to his successful Maori futures line, Solomon Tipene was better prepared but still underwhelming while Hone seemed to be winging it. The show then cut to a good piece by Jodi Ihaka outlining the problems facing Te Tai Tokerau including unemployment, underachievement in education and looming treaty settlements.

Each candidate was strong on treaty settlements. However, Solomon Tipene put his foot in it when he spouted the “out of grievance mode and into development mode” line. This is a political catchphrase – not a solution or, indeed, a statement with any meaning beyond the emotional.

Both Hone and Kelvin performed well on jobs. Kelvin put forward a number of tangible initiatives that will create jobs tomorrow while Hone was strong on getting people “work ready”. Kelvin was, in my opinion, stronger on jobs – as the Labour candidate should be.

Hone was easily the strongest on rangatahi. He pointed to his strong record creating initiatives like rangatahi radio. Kelvin made the pertinent point that society needs to create hope for rangatahi and belief in their abilities and potential.  

Hone was also strong on the 90 employment law illustrating his new found commitment to working class politics. Hone made the point that no worker, whether Maori or Pakeha, should have to work under such grossly unfair conditions. Hone was strong when he illustrated how unfair the law could be in practise.

I thought Kelvin dealt superbly with whether he is beholden to his party. He pointed out that Labour respects and listens too the Maori caucus. Hone finished the strongest when he said the first phone call he will be making on the day is to Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. He explained that what is good for Maori is more important than personality politics. Solomon Tipene has also improved exponentially over the past few weeks. He is obviously a quick learner. 

They then cut to the panel with Rawiri Taonui and Ann Sullivan. Both commentators picked Hone as the winner with Taonui saying “Hone’s given a masterful performance” and Sullivan commending Hone as “the consummate performer”. Both praised the other candidates as well. Rawiri Taonui is picking Hone to win by 5% to 10% and also made the interesting comment that whoever wins Tai Tokerau will win Auckland. Rawiri also picked up and endorsed Hone’s line that a vote for Kelvin is a vote for Kelvin, but a vote for Hone is a vote for Hone and Kelvin.

Ultimately, I would give the debate/Q&A to Hone. He knew the issues, he had solutions and he spoke well off the cuff. Hone is a performer and he never fails to give the people a show. For a bit of laugh you can watch Hone here on 7 Days and here on the Jono Show. I guess this is part of a drive to soften Hone’s image. A very effective way to do so - genius almost - comedy is reliable way to endear yourself to others. I wonder if it’s enough though.   

Jun 17, 2011

My unvarnished opinions

I really only blog on Friday now so here are a few issues that caught my attention over the past week:

Hone Harawira has announced his intention to push for the creation of a Maori Parliament. Although his motives are commendable and the underlying principle is strong, in practise such an idea is regressive and impractical. This is the sort of thinking that characterised the 19th century – not 2011. I agree with the statement that Maori politicians are beholden to party interests, but I do not think a separate Maori Parliament is the answer. Kaupapa Maori parties are the answer, meaning parties like the Mana and Maori Parties. If Maori politicians in mainstream parties are not representing Maori interests then we can vote them out. We do not need to chuck them in a separate chamber and have them fight among themselves. Maori in Labour and National play an important role – they effect change from within. That change may be incremental and they may have swallow poison at times, but it is an important role nonetheless. If Maori are not represented in mainstream discourse then non-Maori will walk all over us. This is the sort of policy that will excite the flaxroot, but it is not the sort of policy that will ever be enacted.


Continuing my Hone Harawira theme, he has published an open letter explaining to his supporters why he attended the Destiny Church Conference. I am glad he has and thank him for offering supporters like me an explanation. I still do not support his decision to attend, but I admire his honesty and commitment to people, even when those people may be unsavoury.


Now jumping to Destiny Church. Hannah Tamaki, wife of Brian Tamaki, is running for the presidency of the Maori Women’s Welfare League (MWWL). Many senior members have expressed concerns that the Church is attempting something of a hostile takeover. I do not know what is behind this move. The MWWL is one of the most respected Maori organisations in the country. Former Presidents include Maori heroes like Princess Te Puea and Dame Whina Cooper. I worry because the MWWL is strictly non-sectarian, whereas Hannah Tamaki is a fundamentalist who injects religion wherever she walks. Brian Tamaki is a man with ulterior motives as well. What is he trying to achieve? A take over of New Zealand?


The Maori Youth Council presented a report to the Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples, outlining their proposals to improve the lot of young Maori. The report is brilliant and recommended reading for policy makers and any other interested parties. One of the more controversial recommendations, which has been picked up by Sharples, is compulsory te reo courses for teachers. A good idea in principle. I support the idea, but only if it receives broad support and endorsement from the teacher’s union’s. I think Patrick Walsh’s suggestion that compulsory courses will cause resentment is overblown. Sure, a few will resent the idea, but many will realise that te reo courses are in the interests of professional development and the key to better relationships with Maori students. But maybe compulsory courses could be restricted to teachers intending to teach at schools with a high Maori roll to avoid creating resentment among teachers who will never come close to teaching Maori students. Finally, Winston Peters points out that there are not enough te reo teachers to teach Maori let alone every teacher in New Zealand. I thinks he makes a good point.  


Len Brown has shown once again that he is the most progressive political leader in the country. The Auckland Mayor has indicated that he can and will work with Hone Harawira. Admittedly, local government is different, but good on him nonetheless.


David Rankin has, once again, done himself a disservice. Rankin, following on from his “King of Huntly” smear which was both ignorant and disrespectful, has now claimed that Brian Tamaki is the most effective Maori leader. First of all, Tamaki is a church leader – not a Maori leader. Secondly, “effective leader” is a matter of definition. If you think an effective leader is someone with the power to manipulate and brainwash then yes, he is a damn effective leader. If you think an effective leader is someone with the ability to effect groundbreaking change, then no he is not an effective leader. Tamaki has influenced the lives of many individuals, most for the better, but he has also played an integral part in perpetuating hate. Rankin is a media whore. He just likes to see his name out there. I’m not listening to him anymore. Tariana Turia is right – Rankin is not even the King of Kaikohe.


Speaking of Tariana Turia, she has openly displayed her hostility to class politics. Turia says:

 “It's a class party. It’s not a Maori party, They will have to take into account all the interests of everybody else, whereas our focus has always , and we are unashamedly putting our people first and we do,”

So been a class party is all of a sudden a slur? I would take it as a compliment. The interest of the poor are the interests of Maori. But anyway, Mana is a class based party as well as a kaupapa Maori party – an interesting fusion.

Hone's still the favourite

I guess the big story this week was the Baseline/Native Affairs poll. The poll has thrown a spanner in the works and smashed previous perceptions of how close the byelection will be. Common wisdom held that Hone would cruise past Kelvin and make easy work of Solomon Tipene, however this may not hold true. Assuming the poll has any validity Hone may, in fact, lose. But therein lays the crux of the issue – does this poll have any validity? In my opinion, no.

It is notoriously difficult to poll Maori electorates. Maori, especially low-income Maori renters, are transient and do not and never have had access to a landline telephone. Often times when a polling company does manage to reach a Maori household the eligible voters are not interested in talking. Many of Hone’s supporters, read low income voters, would have been overlooked by this poll. Another significant bloc of Hone Harawira voters would have also passed unseen by this poll – young people. Horizon research finds that three times as many young people are without landlines compared to the general population. I think it is safe to assume this is even higher when you examine the rate for Maori young people. Another potential problem is if the polling company relied on directory listings only when gathering data. I know of a number of whanau who do not bother with the expense of listing their number in the white pages (when a white pages listing does not come with the connection). Apparently the poll only adjusted for age and sex sampling error, but not income level. The Tai Tokerau byelection will be an election voted along class lines. Therefore, it is crucial to correct any income level bias. A poll that does not account for differences in income is then, in my opinion, unreliable at best and invalid at worst. I tend to think I-predict, where Hone is listed as having a 60% chance of winning, is more accurate at the moment.

Considering the poll had such a prominent flaw, i.e. no adjustment for income level, it was interesting to see the Mana Party was on 21% support, the Maori Party on 25% and Labour on 36%. Solomon Tipene claimed during the debate that those results are an indictment against Labour. This is partially true, Labour continues to bleed support. Remember at the last election Labour gained around 50% of the Maori vote. However, most polls, for example the Te Karere Digi-Poll, place Labour at around 35% support and the Maori Party at around 35% support. If anything the Native Affairs poll is an indictment against the Maori Party who appear to have shed more than a few percentage points to the Mana Party.  

Overall, I do not think the poll is worthless, just unreliable. I think it provides a good indication of how the voters in TTT are leaning. Kelvin’s work on the ground appears to be paying dividends, albeit overstated dividends in my opinion. Support for the Maori Party is higher than expected – even in a flawed poll – and Hone may not enjoy the depth of support that I and others thought he enjoyed.

But enough about the polls, how are things going to turn out on the day?

Many commentators are making the odd claim that Labour can out campaign Hone on the ground. This is, frankly, outrageous. It is a safe assumption to make, but it ignores the fact that a bunch of fresh faced Labour activists from Wellington are not going to go down well in the North. These guys may have experience running Grant Robertson’s Wellington Central campaign and handing out flyers for Trevor Mallard in Wainuiomata, but they do not have experience with Maori people and Maori electorates. Hone Harawira can tap nothing short of several hundred activists in the North and even a few here in Wellington. Hone knows TTT better than anyone, he knows every Marae, every whanau and every pohara corner of his electorate. In other words he knows everyone. He knows how to communicate with these people and what they will respond to. He can put more people on the ground, he can out door knock Kelvin and he knows how to grab a headline – that is something Kelvin cannot do. Mana can deploy more people than Labour, that I can almost guarantee. What Mana cannot do is piggy back off general electorate branches, make phone calls on election day, utilise parliamentary staff and resources and generally spend as much as Labour. But this counts for nothing when you have hundreds of vehicles on the road ferrying whanau to election booths, it counts for nothing when you have as many billboards, flyers and other adverts as Kelvin Davis and it counts for nothing when you are the incumbent with a strong narrative and strong base to work from.

But it must be remembered that the poll has lit a fire under the arses of Mana supporters and activists as well as their Labour Party counterparts. Both sides will be going at it hard over the next week. The Mana camp will now be scared, after weeks of cruising. While Labour will sniff the scent of victory and throw every MP, staffer and activists they can at it – and rightly so. The byelection will be won on the ground and it is a competition between Matt McCarten, Unite and Hone’s diehard supporters and Labour’s Shane Phillips/Te Pou (Kelvin’s campaign manager I think) and the Labour Party machine.

Another factor at play is whether or not the Maori Party vote holds. If it does, Hone will win. If it does not, then it depends on what direction it transfers. The conservative vote will flow towards Kelvin, however the residual tino rangatiratanga vote will flow towards Hone. In terms of the Labour Party, tino rangatiratanga is subsumed and relegated within a broader agenda. However, in terms of Mana, tino rangatiratanga is overt and central to a larger agenda. Obviously, the conservative vote will favour Kelvin – Hone is the antithesis of conservatism. Remember to that the Tory in chief, John Key, in the most overt manner possible has endorsed Kelvin Davis. Not that I think his words will affect the outcome to a significant degree, rather it is an interesting directive to the few National Party voters in the North. I wonder if Kelvin really wants the Prime Ministers endorsement?  

A number of people have asked why the Maori Party put forward a candidate in the first place, and a weak one at that. I do not think I have commented on this before so I will hypothesise now. The Maori Party needed to perform a test run before the general election. They needed to determine how a three way race would play out. They needed to know whether it would really benefit Labour. Under the surface they will be hoping that it does. Hone Harawira is a greater threat to the Maori Party than Labour ever will be. Hone plays to the same base as the Maori Party and he is, quite successfully, sucking them dry. If Hone is eliminated the Maori Party can go back to acting as the de-facto voice for Maori and the de-facto Maori opposition. At the moment the Maori Party has to share that job with Hone and in some cases concede that the job belongs to Hone. Furthermore, if Hone is no longer an MP it is conceivable that he will not have a platform to work from and launch an attack on the other Maori seats – especially Waiariki and Tamaki Makaurau. I tend to think the Maori Party are quietly hoping that they scum enough of Hone’s vote to gift the seat to Kelvin.

I stand by my prediction that Hone will win. This is consistent with what the other leading Maori political commentators are saying as well. For example Rawiri Taonui, Tim Selwyn and Willie Jackson. Hone is attracting more support, even significant support from part of the Ratana church with the church offering to campaign for Hone. Ultimately, a vote for anyone but Hone is a wasted vote and a dumb vote. The voters are always right, no doubt about it, but the voters can be dumb. Vote Hone and you get Kelvin on the list as well. Vote Hone and you get a new political party and an energised movement that serves the interests of the marginalised. Vote Kelvin and you get Kelvin – no new movement serving the interest of Maori and non-Maori who are not served. You just get Kelvin. Which in itself is not a bad thing. Kelvin is a great guy and the new face of Maori in Labour. But you only get Kelvin. Voting Hone gives the voters of TTT the best of both worlds. You get Hone, Kelvin and a new political force. Maori are strategic voters, but they are easily led and manipulated by external forces as well. You can make a Maori believe a Maori stereotype if you reinforced it. I hope the people of Tai Tokerau don’t let the bullshit get in the way of voting for change, voting for someone genuine.

As an aside, just a small spiel on who won the debate. Hone did – hands down. He knew his lines and he spoke better ad lib. Kelvin stuck firmly to Labour’s line but did not perform so well when not. Hone was clearly more experienced in the situation and less reliant on soundbites. Solomon Tipene performed better than I expected, but clearly had no experience and was not prepared. Someone should have told him to avoid mentioning National too. It was hardly a debate I should add. More a Q and A session. Julian handled the situation well and managed to control some of the more enthusiastic supporters too. You can watch it here.  

Jun 13, 2011

Native Affairs Poll and Debate

I will not have time to blog on the Native Affairs poll and debate until Friday. I might find some time before then, but don't count on it. If you want to discuss the poll and debate feel free to email me. You can find my address at the bottom of the page.

Jun 10, 2011

David fucking Farrar (updated)

David Farrar on the Taniwha Horotiu (I'm not linking to it):

Poor Horotiu. I imagine that the only thing which could make him feel better is a huge amount of koha. Maybe once the tunnel is built, they could do a side tunnel for him, so he can play safely away from the trains.

This does remind me of the last time a Taniwha held up a project. Someone wrote a letter to the editor saying they had solved the problem, as they shot the Taniwha at the weekend!

I do not know what Farrar is trying to achieve here. My take is that he is patronising Maori culture. The tone is denigrating and smug. I guess it is typical of the sort of cultural arrogance that permeates the National Party, but I must admit to thinking Farrar was better than this.

“A huge amount of koha”. Is that implying Maori can be pacified with hand-outs? Or that Maori are greedy and prone to accepting donations? “Once the tunnel is built, they could do a side tunnel for him, so he can play safely away from the trains”. Is that implying that the concept of a Taniwha is childish?

New Zealanders love to take the piss out of other cultures, as if their culture is the be all and end all. It is perfectly acceptable if David and his mates do not accept the concept of Taniwha, that’s there call and a fair one, but it is rude, disrespectful and borderline racist to go around disparaging other cultural beliefs. It is the worst sort of arrogance.

The implication I get from David’s post is that Maori are ignorant and childish. Whatever you do do not have a look at the comments section, unless you want to go on an anti-pakeha rage – possibly even a violence spree. The comments are repugnant, repulsive, hideous, obscene, racist, sick, malicious, hateful. The English language is inadequate, I cannot find the appropriate word.

All I have to say to the commenters at Kiwiblog is get fucked. Go and die. As for David – you’re just a disappointment. Fomenting happy mischief? Get real. Fomenting hate. That sounds more accurate.   

UPDATE: I have had a flurry of comments scolding me for believing in Taniwha (I have not published any due to racist content). Let me be clear, this post is not about whether or not Taniwha exist. This post is about the disrespectful stance David and his friends at Kiwiblog take against Maori culture. And for the record - I do not believe in Taniwha as a tangible and measurable phenomenon - take what you will from that. 

Mana ahead of National on Stuff.co.nz Poll

Check this out.

Mana is on 36.3% - ahead of National and Labour. Of course this does not reflect popular opinion, but it does indicate that Mana's online networks are active and large. Larger and more active than National and Labours perhaps. This all happened within hours of the poll appearing as well. I'm pleased with this. Obviously Mana's networks and activist base are not shallow. I wonder if they can translate their online power to votes on the ground.

Labour and the byelection

Labour is running a good attack line against Hone Harawira at the moment. From Waatea News:

Labour MP Shane Jones says voters in Te Tai Tokerau could be set to punish Hone Harawira for jumping out of the Maori Party waka.

Mr Jones says Labour's Kelvin Davis is starting to pick up momentum, even though Mr Harawira's is clearly the most well-known name in the race.

“I do think quite a few people on the ground, those we have spoken to over the telephone or bumped into n the street, keep reminding us that the north don’t like waka jumpers. They made Tau Henare suffer. They made Matiu Rata suffer. I think that Hone and his supporters are now starting to realise that he could end up copping most of the blame for jumping out of the Maori Party waka,” he says.

Prima facie, Shane is correct. However, the circumstances with Rata and Henare were quite different. Neither of them enjoyed the same depth of support that Hone enjoys. Hone Harawira can tap a deep well of support. He has a huge number of volunteers on the ground, including experienced activists, and he retains a significant personal following. The political circumstances were different as well. From what I know Rata did not have an experienced team behind him and he was up against a powerful political machine, meaning the Labour Party, in an FPP environment. Maori voters and Maori political operators were, at the time, politically naïve as well. Rata was a part of the first wave of Maori political consciousness. They lacked the experience and the knowledge to succeed electorally. Now Tau Henare's situation is straightforward. He basically disgraced himself. He was never going to win, partly because of disloyalty and partly because he is just an idiot. Hone’s move from the Maori Party was more a result of well founded dissatisfaction with the direction the Maori Party was, or is, taking. Many Maori accept this. On the other hand, Henare defected from New Zealand First for personal and internal political reasons – not because he felt Maori were heading in the wrong direction.

Obviously, I do not think Hone’s “waka jumping” is going to have a tangible effect on the outcome of the byelection. Hone speaks well to his electorate. Kelvin does as well, for sure, but he speaks better to Pakeha liberals I have always thought. I have outlined before why I think Hone will win and, for the most part, I still stand by it. If the Maori Party was still in favour among Maori, especially Maori in the North, then Hone’s waka jumping may have come into play. But this is not the case. The Maori Party is, to be polite, disliked. Hone has won the debate too – the Maori Party are thoroughly framed as sell outs. If anything Hone is respected for leaving the Maori Party on a matter, or matters, of principle.

Having said the above, Hone has admitted he has had to explain to some voters why he left the Maori Party. Perhaps Hone’s motives and the situation itself is not as well understood as I think. But I think by and large most voters have a faint idea or at least are familiar with the narrative that the Maori Party sold Maori out with the MCA Act, the GST increase and so on.

From what I have gleaned Kelvin Davis is on something of a roll. The Labour Party is behind him and he is a great candidate. However, the fact remains that the North is Hone’s fortress. In the comments thread of this post at The Dim-Post Graeme Edgeler notes that:

At the 2008 election, there were 299 polling booths in Te Tai Tokerau. Kelvin Davis beat Hone Harawira in 19 of them, 15 of those by three votes or less. His biggest win over Hone was at Karetu School in Kawakawa by 14 votes. Hone won 89 booths by more than 20 votes, including a few by more than 100 votes.
The chances of Kelvin overturning this are slim at best. Another common argument that comes up re Kelvin’ ability to win is Labour’s ability to run get out the vote (GOTV) campaigns. Get out the vote campaigns are less effective in Maori electorates. Maori are disengaged and many Maori, especially in the far North and western side of the Tai Tokerau (not including West Auckland) do not have landlines. The spread of Maori electorates also makes it harder to out people on the streets. Unlike in general electorates it is impossible to have activists on every corner. Ultimately, getting Maori to the ballot booth will take far more than a few phone calls and pamphlets. Maori in the North will vote for the person they believe in. Not the party that called them on election day. Sure, Labour can focus on mobilising Labour voters only, but I tend to think the staunch Labour vote is shallow and Hone’s is deep, but, admittedly, apathetic.  

I also wrote in the thread at the time:

Labour resources are not extensive. They may have a few more activists willing to make phone calls etc on the day, a few senior campaigners may be willing to make the trip up and hand out flyers and direct strategy and one or two local Labour branches may help with resourcing e.g. deliveries, man-power etc. I do not think it will make much of difference. Harawira can leverage off of Unite and utilise an army of foot soldiers. His biggest weakness, in my opinion, is having no access to software where he can break down the electorate. Having said that he probably already knows the breakdown.

I stand by this. But I must note that the Party is pouring far, far more resources and time into the byelection than I would have thought. Certainly Labour realises that a win may give them the momentum they need in an election year. The momentum to reclaim the other Maori seats in fact. If Hone is out of the picture then Maori politics becomes a debate between the Maori Party and Labour. Although both parties lack credibility among Maori at the moment, Labour has stronger candidates in my opinion.

All credit to Kelvin though. He is focussing on the issues. However, my understanding is that Kelvin lacks the broad knowledge that Hone has on Maori issues. Kelvin tends to focus on education, his strong point, while neglecting issues like the foreshore and seabed where Labour is weak. From what I understand Hone has pounced on this issue and, given the way the Maori Party and Labour stuffed it up, is winning the issue hands down. Both Labour and the Maori Party have no credibility on the issue, but Hone does. The F&S is also one of the big issues among Maori at the moment. I cannot stress how much of a benefit it is to Hone to win the issue by default.  

I’m looking forward to the Te Tai Tokerau debate on Native Affairs this coming Monday. The debate is on Maori TV and runs from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Hopefully good things come from the candidates and Maori TV offer some quality analysis.

So I guess I stand by my prediction that Hone will win, but Labour are making a good case. I’m looking forward to it.

Destiny - again

I don’t really want to continue the Destiny theme I’ve been running over the past week or so, but this jumped out at me. From Waatea News:

The head of Destiny Church's social services arm says the church should back the Mana party and its leader Hone Harawira.

George Ngatai from Te Oranga Ake says the church has a policy of not publicly supporting political parties.

But he says Mr Harawira is standing up against the wrongs of the current system.

“Hone is not afraid to challenge anyone and stand up for anything that benefits Maori because if it benefits Maori, if it is good for Maori, it will be good for the rest of the country, and I think we need a lot more politicians ready to challenge that sort of stand,” Mr Ngatai says.

He says the National-Maori Party government has discriminated against Destiny by turning down more than 300 applications for state contracts over the past three years.

First of all, Destiny Church is not the victim of discrimination, a perpetrator of discrimination, yes, but a victim? No. I/S points out that the Church did not meet the criteria for funding. Why? Because no other service providers would partner with Destiny. Other faith-based organisations, or more specifically Christian organisations, deliver government services and even they were unwilling to partner with Destiny. You can’t really blame them can you, Destiny is toxic and their fundamentalist poison is hard to swallow. The government is not in the wrong here – if Destiny cannot satisfy the criteria for government contracts then they have only themselves to blame.

But anyway I want to discuss the bigger issue in this story and that is, obviously, George Ngatai’s endorsement of Hone Harawira. Ngatai’s reasons for supporting Hone are strong, however it seems odd that a Destiny Church member would support someone like Hone. Perhaps Ngatai is not your typical Destiny member. But I think it is safe to assume Ngatai’s stance is not the stance of the Destiny Church. One, because the Church does not, as the article says, publicly support political parties. Two, Destiny’s beliefs emanate from and are influenced by one source – Christian fundamentalism. Destiny’s beliefs are absolutely opposed to what the Mana Party stands for. For example, Mana stands for equality and freedom. Equality between men and women, income equality, equality of right, freedom to practise whatever faith you chose and so on and so on. On the other hand Destiny believes in hierarchy, faith without question, autocracy, the place of men above women and the supremacy of their God and the inherent evil of others. Values and concepts wholly opposed to equality and freedom. My favourite example of Destiny’s opposition to equality and freedom is Tamaki’s claim that women in leadership in New Zealand is the “work of the Devil” and that constructing a Buddhist Temple in Botany Downs is “opening a door from Hell”.

With the above in mind it seems strange that a Destiny member would, politically speaking, support Hone Harawira. However, Destiny is overwhelmingly Maori and Hone Harawira is the most prominent Maori rights activist. I am certain many Destiny members retain a sense of been Maori and respect for their whakapapa. It then becomes understandable that the Church would move behind Harawira, even though he does not share the same beliefs as the Church he does share the same end goals. Tino rangatiratanga does not have to be sacrificed for religion; the two tend to go hand in hand in fact. I think it is commendable that George Ngatai has broken the mould if you will and moved behind a progressive politician. Having said that, his endorsement may not help the Mana Party.

It would turn me off to see the Destiny Church associated with Te Mana. Although the Church’s members may have good intentions, some of the values and beliefs they bring are repugnant. And, as Brian Tamaki said at the Church conference, they want money. This is not about political participation and fancy notions like that. It is about extracting money.

Association with Destiny would deter many potential supporters and current more liberal supporters like me. I would not want to be associated with what Destiny preaches. Such a fusion of supporters, i.e. hard lefties and christian fundamentalists, is impossible. It will not work. Mana might gain a few thousand Destiny votes, but the party will lose the more valuable votes. Meaning Mana would lose activists, potential candidates, bloggers and so on. I wonder how Hone will react to all of this. 

Jun 8, 2011

Destiny Part Two

There has been a lot of debate around whether or not Hone Harawira, and the other Maori politicians for that matter, should have attended Destiny’s annual conference. I have made my feelings pretty clear in this post, but I want to expand on those comments. (I banged this post out while on a break at work – forgive the lack of structure and any other mistakes).

Hone Harawira is the leader of a progressive party. A left wing party in a true sense. However, Hone Harawira is not, in my opinion, much of a social liberal. Sure, Hone supports prisoners rights, workers rights and so on. He does not, however, appear to have ever signalled that he supports the GLBT community and, indeed, feminist causes. You can support workers rights and indigenous rights without supporting gay rights and female rights. The “rights” movement if you will is not necessarily all inclusive. You can support one person’s rights without having to acknowledge another person’s rights. Yet you would think that Hone, as an indigenous activist, would sympathise with other causes fighting for equality. Not so apparently.

Hone’s appearance at the Destiny conference says one thing to GLBT and feminist supporters of the Mana Party – you are not important. I will placate your enemies (not sure if that is the correct word to use, but fuck it) so long as there are votes in it for me. Now I accept that Destiny Church helps turn the around the lives of many dysfunctional individuals and families. However, the term “turn around” is a matter of perspective. I do not think a “turn around” is a positive thing when you may no longer beat your wife but instead you practise a more subtle form of female subservience where your wife is regarded as secondary and, ultimately, less equal. But perhaps this is the lesser of two evils? It is arguable, but I still think it is unacceptable.

In New Zealand the Destiny Church is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of bigotry. No other group of people, no other organisation or no other person (besides maybe Don Brash) is as unashamedly bigoted than the Destiny Church. Although the Bishop is now attempting to play down the Destiny Church’s darker side, it still remains unless the Bishop is willing to move towards a doctrinal shift. Although I was fairly young, in Intermediate if I remember right, when the Enough is Enough hate march occurred I still remember the disgusting images where Destiny Church members spat, swore and generally acted like shitheads towards counter demonstrators. And I remember that the message they were giving was toxic. I personally think the Enough is Enough march was merely a show of power from Brian Tamaki, a sort of “this is what I can do” message “so listen to me” or suffer electoral consequences.

Hone Harawira has, as Marty Mars points out, lost a lot of support in the blogosphere. He will also lose a lot of support among activists. If you check the Mana Party’s facebook page or pages of regional branches and proiminent supporters you will find debate is raging. Many activists are fucked off with Hone’s decision to attend. He will pay for it too. This is a death blow for many GLBT and feminists within the Mana Party. For me, this decision represents strike one against Hone. Two more similar strikes and I’ll begin to question why I am supporting him and the Mana Party. I know Hone’s people read this blog – I hope you are taking into account what I am saying, what your activists are saying and what other blogs are saying. Our support is not a given. Do not play with it. Hone cannot claim to be a progressive politician while at the same time placating bigots. He cannot have it both ways.

While I'm at it another thing I do not like about Destiny Church is the infusion of Maori culture with the fundamentalist rubbish Bishop Tamaki preaches. Tikanga Maori is woefully incompatible with Christian fundamentalism and any attempt to infuse the two does Maori a disservice and misrepresents Te Ao Maori.  

And lastly, what the fuck is Hone doing with Jevan Goulter by his side? What the fuck is wrong with you? This guy is a professional tag along and a shit magnet. No good will come of having him so close to the action. He did the same thing with Labour politicians and then, when he fell out of favour, attempted to fuck them over with Ian Wishart. It’s just sloppy. Sure, give him a second chance, but don’t let him close enough that he gets a chance to compromise things. Or maybe he has changed? Either way It’s Hone’s decision. I just think he is making the wrong one.       

For sensible comments on this issue see Mars 2 Earth, Public Address, No Right Turn and Maori Law and Politics.     

Jun 3, 2011

New blog

Please take a few minutes to check out my flatmate's new political blog. It's hard to really classify - certainly anti-National - but not necessarily liberal in a left sense. His first post attacks, quite convicingly, Bill English's various facades. Go and have a look. It's interesting to get an idea on what young people are thinking.

Jun 2, 2011

Best and Worst Performing Maori MP's for May

I’ve just realised we’re entered June (and Matariki as well) and I haven’t updated the best and worst performing Maori MP’s page. I’ve been shit busy over the past few weeks and will be throughout June so I don’t think I’ll have too much time to blog. However, I have managed to quickly put together a list of the best and worst performing Maori MP’s in May.

Hone, for the sixth consecutive month, dominates the best performing list. Now some people may suspect that I am allowing my personal views to influence my objective judgement. Everyone knows I support what Hone stands for and what he is trying to achieve, but this, I can assure you, does not affect where he stands on the list. I aim to be as objective as possible when compiling this list, hence why I offer my, mostly objective, reasoning and allow that reasoning to stand to scrutiny. Of course such a list is, by nature, a matter of perspective and definition – having said that one can measure performance without recourse to, for example, value judgements. 

I will refrain from continuing this tangent and offer the link to the list, or alternatively you could continue down and read the list which I have pasted into this post.

The best and worst performing Maori MP’s for May (in no particular order)


Hone Harawira:

Hone Harawira continues to direct Maori political discourse. Maori politics is now a dichotomy – represented by the Mana Party, or more specifically Hone, and the Maori Party. Hone has assumed the position as the de facto Maori opposition, a position the Labour Party occupied prior to Hone’s split with the Maori Party. This is, in part, coincidence, but more so the result of good politics. Hone has managed to attract and sustain intensive media coverage for the past few months as well as suck popular and institutional support from the Maori Party. Many key players from the Maori Party have defected and, as a matter of course, joined Hone. Furthermore, according to the latest Horizon Poll, Hone has sponged popular support from the Maori Party.

Although the media and by all accounts many Tai Tokerau voters opposed Hone calling a byelection, his rationale was sound and, politically speaking, the only option. Hone managed to deflect criticism with the line that there is no price to democracy and that forcing a byelection is common practise, a convention almost, and he must, given the events of the past five months, seek a renewed mandate. A number of polls, including a poll run by the Northern Advocate, indicate that Hone enjoys overwhelming support in Tai Tokerau. He must be doing something right.

Hekia Parata:

Hekia is, to be polite, less than endearing and finally features in the best performing list after a number of months in the worst performing list. It is now becoming clear that Hekia is going places. She was gifted the Energy portfolio and fronted the Petrobras controversy – quite well to her credit. Although I found her position opposing her own people quite sad and, at times, repugnant, I cannot deny that she presented herself well and delivered her lines expertly (she even managed to avoid lying last month which is an achievement in itself). Hekia is also a member of the Ministerial Working Group investigating options to smash beneficiaries. This indicates that she is an influential Cabinet member. As an aside, an alternative reading of the situation though is that she is merely a tokenistic member – i.e. the brown female face. But I tend to doubt this.

As Georgina Te Heu Heu exits the scene Hekia will become, if she is not already, the leading Maori figure in the National Party Caucus.  

Shane Jones:

Shane Jones continues to deliver for Labour. Although he remains a bystander while Hone and the Maori Party dominate the debate he continues to chip away with press releases and clever lines on, for example, Maori radio. Someone needs to bring Labour back into the debate and Shane appears to be that person. His appearance on Waka Huia was, in my opinion, brilliant. The piece was personal and offered an insight into the real Shane Jones – a more likeable Shane Jones. I think last month reinforced the idea that Shane is moving away from the expenses scandal and moving towards a leadership position within Labour.

Kelvin Davis:

Kelvin is, unarguably, a strong candidate. His performance so far has been outstanding. The key to winning the byelection is to differentiate - offer the voters of Tai Tokerau a clear choice – Kelvin has managed to do this well. It is now a race between Kelvin and Hone. Kelvin Davis, and by extension Labour, have managed to create the perception that Kelvin represents Maori futures and practises inclusive politics, whereas Hone represents the past and practises the politics of division. Credit must be given to Kelvin for his enthusiasm and, indeed, courage. Hone is a strong candidate and, arguably, unassailable. Kelvin’s billboards are also up and his campaign team is in place – I think we can expect a strong performance at the polls from him.

Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia:

Yes, these two make the best performing list. Although the party continues to decline, Sharples and Turia are attempting to stem the bleed and regain what was lost. Both leaders are talking up the “wins”, or at least that is how they are spinning it, they won in the budget and are aggressively highlighting the wins they gained in previous years. It is to early to say whether this bragging approach is working, I’m not holding my breath though.


Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia:
Yes, they are in both lists. Although they have managed to spin the budget as a win, the reality is not so flash. Politics is not just about manipulating public opinion, politics is also about government. On the government front, the party has not done so well. For my reasons why please see this post on the budget and what it means for Maori.

Solomon Tipene:

Solomon Tipene had an absolutely shocking start to his byelection campaign. I am of course referring to his first press conference following the announcement of his selection as the Maori Party candidate. To be fair, the situation must have been intimidating and utterly foreign, but this is no excuse. Tipene should have been prepared to nail it. Unfortunately he screwed it and came off looking incompetent, tired and unsuited to politics. Impromptu speaking skills are a virtue in politics, Tipene appears to lack such skills though. This does not bode well for the Maori Party.

Paul Quinn:

Metiria Turei:

Metiria does not occupy a position in the worst performing list as a direct consequence of her own actions, rather the actions of the Greens. The Greens pride themselves on equal opportunity, the special place of tangata whenua etc… however the party list features no Maori in winnable positions besides Metiria. David Clendon is Maori, however he is not an MP who focuses, or indeed gives any attention, to Maori issues. Metiria was guilty of trying to spin the list as a positive for Maori and an indication of the Green Party’s support for Maori. Meteria is attempting to spin what cannot be woven. It is abundantly clear that Maori are sparse on the list.