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.



  1. Duncan Garner's own hopes & wishes wrapped thinly in awful journalism. Never liked his work, very average insights, and he's tv3's political flagship. Bummer.

  2. Is it possible she meant that as a compliment? As in a "Tipene's not a politician, he's not interested in politics, he's only interested in getting things done?" sort of thing?

  3. That's a charitable view, but I would hope that she did mean it that way.

  4. Hone will win folks and I think by much more than the predicted 5%. I am yet to meet someone who supports Solomon and I have only met one couple who are voting for Kelvin. On the other hand, the entire town (I live in Moerewa) are voting for Hone.

  5. Spot on CrownRetro. Garner has shown his spots on this one, I am surprised he hasn't been reigned in a little because he isn't doing anything to portray tv3's political coverage as 'balanced'. Very shoddy work from him really. Turia's comments about Tipene could have just as easily been about her imo.

  6. Pakeha media always try to swing political votes.What you have to understand is that its always pakeha who are doing the interview or the fart polls.Hone will piss in prohecy tells no lies!

  7. Well said Morgan. I agree with your analysis on this. After watching the clip with Turia and Gardner's comments, I'm wondering if he's crossed the line into campaigning for Davis and Labour? If not, he comes dangerously close. It is becoming increasingly clear that mainstream media have very little insight into Maori politics and how we function. At the moment, I get more critical insight from blogs and social media sites than I do from the media. They need a Maori politics specialist and they appear loathe to get one.

  8. Garner will spin it anyway that suits the nats.. It should be obvious by now that he's a fully paid up member of the "insiders" club..

    It would be most disappointing if turia is still allowing her personal animosities to dictate her actions. She was elected to represent her constituents wishes, not so that she could pursue a feud that ranks as a non issue outside her own head.

  9. It is becoming increasingly clear that mainstream media have very little insight into Maori politics and how we function. At the moment, I get more critical insight from blogs and social media sites than I do from the media.

    I've got to say I find the same is true for pakeha politics too. Although in that case it's not misunderstanding so much as an agenda. Perhaps with Maori politics it's the former (or both).



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