Aug 30, 2011

I dropped the ball

The Jackal writes:

You might recall the hullabaloo around comments reportedly made by Hone Harawira regarding the death of Osama Bin-Laden. Well it turns out that he was misquoted, and the National Business Review article contained inaccuracies.

The initial NBR article created a veritable shit storm of further abusive reporting, bigoted blogs and racist comments, with many simply unable to control themselves. Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing any apologies for their misplaced accusations anytime soon... but here's a small sample of the idiotic right wing blogger's comments:

I must admit to taking part in the chorus of criticism directed at Hone (both here and on Radio New Zealand). And for that I apologise to you, the readers, and to Hone’s supporters who I know were a little gutted with my sloppy response. I try to uphold high standards of accuracy and fairness, but sometimes I shoot from the hip and get things wrong. Hopefully, it will not happen again.

For the best discussion on what actually happened and the agendas at play see this post from IrishBill at The Standard.   

Aug 26, 2011

South Island Council's slap down Maori

Disappointing to see the Waimate and Timaru District Councils have refused to consider creating Maori wards. Race relation conciliator Joris De Bres wrote to all regional/city/territorial authorities urging them to consider establishing Maori wards. De Bres also requested information on the number of Maori on each Council. Some Councils considered the idea, for example New Plymouth (they decided against the idea), others are considering the idea, like the Gisborne District Council, while some refuse to even consider it (Timaru, Waimate and a host of others no doubt). As well as refusing to consider the idea of Maori wards the Timaru and Waimate Councils also refused to confirm whether they had any sitting Maori councillors.

Consider this from the Timaru Herald:

The Timaru council's acting chief executive, Peter Nixon, has no idea of the ethnicity of the district's mayor and 10 councillors. He said they were not required to tell him of their ethnicity, and he had replied along those lines to Mr de Bres.

There is little to no information around Maori representation at local government level. Any efforts to gain a better picture should be supported. Pity that this Peter Nixon doesn’t realise the value in knowing who and how many Maori councillors there are.  

He did not intend putting the matter of Maori wards before the council as previous councils had decided against such a move because only about 6 per cent of the district's population considered themselves Maori.

Just because a previous council dismissed the idea does not mean the present council, or a future council for that matter, will reach the same decision. Previous councils don’t bind future councils nor create any sort of persuasive precedent.

I despise, with a passion too, the notion that minorities are somehow disqualified from representation. The idea that there is some sort of magic threshold that grants the right to representation. Clearly this Peter Nixon thinks 6 per cent does not meet the magic threshold. This is the tyranny of the majority. This Peter Nixon thinks, no thanks, we’ll keep our monopoly on power. A sad stance, but hardly unexpected.

If one of the council's 10 existing seats was to be declared a Maori ward, then Maori would be over-represented, Mr Nixon said.

This Peter Nixon is incredibly superficial. Maori wards are about giving effect to the Treaty principle of partnership and ensuring Maori interests as tangata whenua, and by extension as kaitiaki etc, is recognised at a meaningful level. Maori wards, i.e. having Maori councillors, ensues Maori issues are handled appropriately and Maori views understood correctly.   

Maori exclusion from local government is the chief cause of voter apathy. Maori are not going to participate in a system that is seen not to serve them and, indeed, does not serve them. Hopefully we will see more councils consider the idea of Maori wards and, fingers crossed, we will see some actually implement the idea.

For a valuable discussion on Maori and local government see this post from earlier in the year.

Iwi and investment

Closeup ran an interesting story on Wednesday night around the use of treaty settlement money. The show invited John Tamihere, as CEO of the Waipareira Trust, and Tuku Morgan, as Chair of Te Arataura, to discuss whether or not Iwi are using their settlement funds appropriately. The gist of John Tamihere’s argument was that more money should be directed towards the people and, as a consequence, preventing Maori entering the health system, the prison system and so on. Tamihere would rather see money directed towards social services as opposed to “buying assets”. Tuku Morgan, on the other hand, thinks Iwi do not have the economies of scale to make a major difference. Tuku also pointed to the fact that Iwi investment in, for example, the Te Awa mall in Hamilton is creating employment for Maori.

I agree with both men here. It is not the role of Iwi to stand in place of government. The provision of social services is, first and foremost, the role of government. Having said that, there are cultural obligations on the part of Iwi to help their people, think whanaungatanga. Rather than have Iwi use their own capital to invest in the provision of social services, I would like to see more Iwi pursue government contracts. This is a plausible avenue given the implementation of Whanau Ora.

The primary role of settlement money should be to level the playing field. Iwi should, and are, using settlement money to increase Maori economic power and, as a result, Maori political power. Iwi are attempting to move into a position where they cannot be ignored. Hence Tainui’s interest in strategic assets (e.g. Auckland Airport, electricity companies and Air New Zealand).

I think this is a debate that needs to occur. Are Iwi fixated with growth at the expense of ordinary Maori or is growth a means to an end?   

Aug 25, 2011

Tony Bonne cleared

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne has been cleared. From the Whakatane Beacon:

Police will take no action against Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne for exceeding his electoral expenses limit during last year’s local body election.

Police said yesterday that while Mr Bonne spent more than the $20,000 limit, an investigation begun early this year found he took all reasonable steps to ensure he did not exceed that figure.

Detective Inspector Tim Anderson, the Bay of Plenty police district crime manager, said section 136(2) of the Local Electoral Act 2001 provided for a fine where a person spent more than the limit.

I am confident the Police have reached the correct outcome having sought independent advice and having reviewed the decision at a regional and national level. Bonne can now get back to the business of running Council without having this cloud hanging over him.

Shane Jones to retire?

Shane Jones is, apparently, weighing up his future in politics:

Labour MP Shane Jones has indicated he is weighing up his future in politics if he does not get strong endorsement from Maori voters in November's general election.

Mr Jones said on Te Kaea on Maori Television he wanted to win the Tamaki Makaurau seat - currently held by Maori Party leader Pita Sharples - and if he did not he would "reconsider my options".

When Parekura Horomia bows out of politics Shane will, in my opinion, assume the role of leader of the Maori Caucus. However, should both Parekura and Shane exit then the Maori Caucus will be left in a weak position. Remembering that other members of the old guard are either retiring (Mita Ririnui) or choosing to take a backseat (Nanaia Mahuta). This leaves only Kelvin Davis and, assuming they make it in, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle and Rino Tirikatene. Moana Mackey could also be considered, but I tend to think her loyalties do not lie with the Maori Caucus.

However, should Shane win he will almost certainly be reinstated to the front bench and would be in a position to build a compelling case to be ranked in the top five – maybe deputy leader. Shane would complement David Cunliffe or David Parker, however, and Shane has admitted this, he must work harder to gain the respect of caucus. The Maori Caucus, as a bloc, do not have the power to propel Shane to the top nor do they, in my opinion, maintain the alliances with other blocs needed to do so. Shane needs to put himself in a position where the Labour Party need him. Winning Tamaki Makaurau, and in the process displacing one of the co-leaders of the Maori Party, would be Shane’s first step towards cementing himself as a political force and breaking his reliance on the Labour Party. As a list MP Shane is beholden to the party. With a seat Shane is beholden to his constituents.

For what it’s worth I think Shane is more likely to win than not. He is by no means a shoe-in, but is in with a strong chance regardless of how well he runs his campaign. There will be a reflex swing against the Maori Party in every electorate and in light of the Horizon Poll taken earlier in the year it appears that the reflex swing is most pronounced in Tamaki Makaurau. Of course Willie Jackson, should he decide to stand, will be a complicating factor and in my opinion (and also Rawiri Taonui’s) he will have a strong chance of snatching the seat too. Interesting times ahead.    

Controversy erupts in the Maori Council

Controversy has erupted in another Maori organisation. The New Zealand Maori Council is making waves with the news that senior Council member Maanu Paul has been expelled for speaking publicly on behalf of the organisation. After falling ill last year Chairman Sir Graham Latimer appointed Maanu Paul to act on his behalf. However, the Executive Committee held that Sir Graham was acting unilaterally and did not have the power to make such an appointment. The Executive Committee argues that in Sir Graham’s absence the elected Deputy Chair, Richard Orzecki, acts in the Chairpersons role.    

Maanu Paul has been acting under the title of executive chairman and commenting on a number issues including the Councils activities surrounding an impending treaty claim. The claim concerns Maori rights to fresh water. This clearly got up the nose of the Council members, but mainly the Deputy Chair, and they have resorted to the strongest response possible – expulsion. However, Maanu Paul maintains that he has not been sacked and will continue to comment publicly until Sir Graham directs him otherwise.

This internal strife speaks to the growing irrelevance of the Maori Council and is illustrative of the growing political conflict in the Maori world. The National Government has selected the Iwi Leaders Group (ILG) as their Maori vehicle of choice when it comes to consultation and access. The problem for the Maori Council is that they are a creature of Statute (The Maori Welfare Act 1962) and, consequently, relies on the acquiesce of the government of the day. On the other hand the ILG set their own mandate and enjoy access to their own capital, i.e. the government does not fund them and, therefore, cannot strangle them when they fall out of favour. The Maori Council is also, ideologically speaking, non-aligned with the current government whereas the ILG falls firmly in line with the Nat’s ideological position (e.g. privatisation). The Maori Council is creating issues for the government, for example by fuelling debate on Maori rights to fresh water, while the ILG is actively supporting the government’s asset sales campaign. It is easy to see why the government has turned to the ILG at the expense of the Maori Council. 

The battle within in the Maori Council is also indicative of the larger political conflict occurring within the Maori world. At its most obvious the conflict is typified by the conflict between the Mana Party (representing the working class) and the Maori Party (representing the Maori ruling class interests). There is also conflict in Tainui between Te Arataura (the Tainui elite) and Te Kauhanganui (the Tainui people at large). Also the Maori Women’s Welfare League between Hannah Tamaki and Destiny (the Maori elite) and the traditional members (the people at large). Of course it is more complex than just a battle between the poor and the elite, but at its most simplistic we are seeing a class conflict. 

I also wonder whether Maanu’s connections to the Maori Party have anything to do with his expulsion. Maanu is one the Party’s most prominent and vocal supporters. It will be interesting to know whether his connections and pro-Maori Party/National Party actions were getting up the nose of the increasingly left-wing Maori Council. 

I’ll be following this story very closely and update any further developments.       

Aug 24, 2011

I'm back

A week is a long time in politics, or so the cliché goes. With that in mind I won’t attempt to deal with all the goings on in Maori politics that I’ve missed over the past week or so. A few things cannot pass without comment though.

Firstly, I want to pay tribute to Sir Paul Reeves – the first Maori Governor-General, former Archbishop of New Zealand and more recently Chancellor of Auckland University of Technology. Sir Paul will be remembered primarily as the first Maori Governor-General. During his tenure Sir Paul expressed public disapproval with Rogernomics stating that “the spirit of the market steals life from the vulnerable but the spirit of God gives life to all”. Sir Paul’s appointment was met with some disdain as many New Zealanders felt that his previous political involvement tainted his occupation of the apolitical Office of the Governor-General. As a man of God, sympathetic Labour Party supporter and tino rangatiratanga advocate Sir Paul was seen as compromised. However, upon taking Office Sir Paul allayed these fears and performed his duties with passion and impartiality.

Sir Paul whakapapas to Te Atiawa in the Taranaki. His hapu is Puketapu. Although Sir Paul was raised Pakeha, or in a Pakeha world, this did not alter his sense of identity as a Maori nor did it ever stop him discovering and embracing his whakapapa. I think history will remember Sir Paul as a man of humanity. I will remember Sir Paul for his aroha for all people and all things. Sir Paul possessed an acute sense of the world. Moe mai ra e te rangatira.


On a brighter note, the Maori Party have dropped Solomon Tipene and selected Waihoroi Shortland as the Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau. Selecting Waihoroi signals that the party is taking a strategic approach to politics. Waihoroi is not going to win, bar some catastrophe, but he will erode Hone’s vote. Whether Waihoroi erodes it enough to hand Kelvin a win is unlikely, but plausible to an optimistic mind. The tide is going out on the Maori Party and rising on the Mana Party, if the Maori Party want to stem the flow then they need to eliminate Mana. They know this, Mana knows this and it is obvious to anyone that takes a cursory interest in politics.

Where Solomon Tipene was inarticulate and hesitant, Waihoroi is eloquent and assured (in both Maori and English may I add). He retains some youthful vigour, but also comes across as a wise Kaumatua. On personal characteristics Waihoroi is hard to beat. However, what he possesses in charisma he lacks in campaign experience, campaign support and political nous. The Maori Party remains broken in TTT, the leadership is tied down with the business of government and the party’s brains have left the building. The Maori Party is a shadow of its former self. Waihoroi can’t campaign alone, but should the Maori Party continue their current trajectory he, for all intents and purposes, will be.

Labour will be the passive beneficiaries of the battle between Maori and Mana in most other electorates, but not in TTT. Hone will eat Waihoroi and Kelvin for breakfast and then, if I may be so crude, shit them out the next day. Mana is a flaxroots movement with mass ground support and support from a number of brilliant political minds who shall remain nameless. So long as Mana remains the “movement of the people” Hone will remain untouchable and the other Maori electorates will fall to Mana in time.


A Ministerial Inquiry has been launched into the use of foreign fishing vessels in New Zealand waters. I will not pretend to fully understand the issues at stake – I have been incredibly slack when it comes to following this story – suffice to say I welcome the inquiry and so should Maori. The allegations of poor conditions (and I believe the term “slave labour” has been used) on vessels fishing under Maori quotas is worrying. I look forward to the day that Iwi have the capital to invest in their own ships and, consequently, employ New Zealanders onboard.


Excellent news for my Iwi Ngati Awa: 

Ngāti Awa is looking towards September 17, 2011 with great anticipation as we prepare for what is certain to be among the most significant days in the modern history of the iwi.

After a wait of over 130 years, the treasured Mātaatua Wharenui will stand once again as a powerful symbol of the resilient strength, pride and unity of Ngāti Awa. The house will take centre stage on the new Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae.

One of the carvings in the Wharenui is of my tipuna, Te Rangikawehea, naturally I am excited to see it. 

I thought it would be interesting to post this photo of Rino Tirikatene’s campaign van. Give him a toot if you see him around or stop for a korero. 

Rino Tirikatene's campaign van

Aug 12, 2011

Watch Marae

I’ll be appearing on Marae Investigates this Sunday at 10am on TV One. I’ll be speaking on the dramas in Tainui. I think I might be joined by former Te Kauhanganui Chairman Tom Roa.  

Aug 10, 2011


The Police often wonder why people hate them

Wellington bar owners say drunk Maori will be specifically targeted during the World Cup, by a 50-year-old law that has been pulled from the archives by police and the city council.

The law allows Maori wardens to enter bars and remove drunk or violent Maori.

Many bar owners say it is a shameful, racist law and the Government now wants to take a look at it.

Firstly, this is racial profiling. Secondly, New Zealand is, supposedly, a liberal democracy. Liberal democracies do not invoke outdated and racist laws for social control. The major laws currently in use, for example the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, do the job. There is no need to drag out such a reprehensible piece of legislation. The particular part of The Maori Community Development Act, i.e. the Act the Police will invoke, is a testament to New Zealand’s ugly past. I expect every Maori MP, in fact every MP, to work to repeal this repugnant legislation. Every Maori MP is obligated to destroy the remnants of historical racism.

I struggle to understand why the Police consider it necessary to drag this law from its coffin. The current framework works well. I tend to think it’s an example of the authoritarianism that permeates the Police force. If a tool is open to them they will use it regardless of the moral implications and the consequences of its use. Make no mistake, if this law is invoked there will be consequences. We know that some activists have pondered the thought of peaceful protests during the RWC, however if this law is used those protests, assuming they occur, will quickly turn violent. Maori don’t take to persecution well, especially on a one on one basis, or on a crowd basis. Is this what the Police want? To inspire a violent uprising against historical racism and its modern application? Do the Police want to highlight what a racist swamp New Zealand is – in front of the world too?   

I expect the Maori Party to lobby the Government furiously. If they do not, or if the law is not repealed before the RWC, then the Maori Party are worthless. I expect Mana and every other Maori MP to swing in behind them as well. If not, then they are worthless too.        

Tony Bonne: Will the Police press charges?

The Police are due to announce the outcome of their investigation into Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne. Bonne was under investigation for election overspending after spending $20,928 on his mayoral campaign – the legal limit is $20,000 – Police also investigated concerns that Bonne did not declare all of his expenditure and some costs were inappropriately written off. From the Whakatane Beacon:  

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen, appointed by Eastern Bay police area commander Sandra Venables to investigate the indiscretion, said his completed file went first to Bay of Plenty police headquarters, then national police headquarters to be peer reviewed.

The file had been returned to Detective Inspector Tim Anderson, the Bay of Plenty district crime manager, for him to “finalise the outcome”.

Mr Standen said Mr Anderson was on leave but he believed the investigation was in its “final stages”. Within the next fortnight he expected a result would be announced.

This indicates, to me at least, that a robust investigation has occurred and proper process has been followed. Electoral offences should be treated as crimes – a crime is a crime. More often than not the Police take a relaxed approach to electoral offences. I think it is relevant to restate my thoughts from earlier in the year: 


Although the amount overspent is small, a mere $928, it represents a blatant breach of the rules and brings into question the legitimacy of Bonne’s election win. The second placed candidate, former United Future MP Judy Turner, was within 600 votes of Tony Bonne. Did $928 spell the difference between Judy Turner and Tony Bonne? Did undeclared and inappropriately written off expenditure spell the difference between Judy Turner and Tony Bonne? It is impossible to know for sure, however it is conceivable that it did.

Tony Bonne pleads ignorance. He claims that he did not know the limit was GST inclusive. This is a piss poor excuse. The Electoral Commission makes it quite clear that GST is included. Tony Bonne, as a former Mayor, should have at the very least a fair understanding of electoral rules. I find it rather odd that a former elected representative and experienced election campaigner overlooked, or did not know, that the election spending limit is GST inclusive. Is it not prudent and sensible to at least ‘assume’ that the limit is GST inclusive?  If you remember National also deployed the ‘GST excuse’ in 2005 and the excuse was just as laughable then as it is now.  

Clearly Tony Bonne has breached the rules and, in my opinion, attempted to play the system. There is room for forgiveness if it becomes apparent that it was all an honest mistake. However, if the opposite is true then Tony Bonne must step down. His mayoralty is stained and there is growing feeling that his election win was illegitimate. The people of Whakatane deserved an honest election – sadly they did not receive one.   

Aug 9, 2011

Implement Wai262

The Dom Post highlights why the recommendations in the Wai262 report need to be implemented immediately: 

Maori are fighting a flood of cheap, mass-produced “Maori” souvenirs entering New Zealand before the Rugby World Cup, saying the tacky trinkets will leave tourists with a bad impression.

Contemporary Maori artists are banding together to hit out against overseas-made products, which they say mimic Maori tradition despite manufacturers having no links to the culture.

Iwi Art Gallery owner Tia Kirk (my whanaunga might I add) said lack of regulation meant “cheap and inferior” versions were easily available.

“This raises some concern for genuine New Zealand artists and creators of authentic Maori art whose work takes time to create and develop.” However, discerning tourists would easily be able to tell the difference, with real Maori artists using techniques that had evolved with years of training and expertise”, she said.

The WAI262 claim report from the Waitangi Tribunal, issued last month, recommended a commission be set up to hear objections about the use of taonga-derived works on art, with the power to stop commercial use if it was deemed “derogatory or offensive”.

The Waitangi Tribunal recommends the establishment of a commission with the power to regulate the use of Maori art and make decisions surrounding the traditional knowledge that underpins Maori art. According to Carwyn Jones the Tribunal distinguishes between taonga works and taonga derived works. Taonga works have whakapapa (ancestry) and, as a consequence, mauri (life force) and kaitiaki (guardians). Think along the lines of Haka, Waiata and art works. On the other hand taonga derived works possess a Maori element but are generalised, adapted or combined with a non-Maori element. Think along the lines of generic tattoos incorporating koru patterns.

The Tribunal is looking to strike a balance, and a delicate one at that. However, I tend to think the Tribunal is placing too much emphasis on private property rights rather than seeking to properly protect tangata whenua rights to our taonga. I take the view that Maori should have absolute authority over our taonga and matauranga (knowledge). At the end of the day the ability to control imported rip-off Maori art should suffice. Maori should also have the power to regulate domestic supply as well.

If you take a walk around the Rotorua CBD you’ll come across a multitude of cheap, shitty souvenir stores selling fake pounamu and other rip-off Maori art pieces. The same is true of Wellington. There is one store in particular that really pisses me off with the fake items they sell. If you are in Wellington, or plan on visiting, the best place to purchase Maori art is Iwi Art on Tory Street. However, they will be moving to the corner of Willis Street and Manners Street in a few months time.      

Tuku Morgan's last dance?

Could this be Tuku Morgan’s final act? From the NZ Herald:

A Tainui board has backed Tuku Morgan's leadership after a wider tribal parliamentary vote at the weekend threatened to end it.

On Saturday Mr Morgan faced a vote to remove him from chairing Te Arataura, the tribe's executive board, based on misconduct allegations.

To be successful it required 50 per cent of 65 marae attending the tribe's half-yearly Te Kauhanganui or parliamentary meeting on Saturday to vote to remove him.
Although the vote failed, the message is clear. Shape up or ship out, Tuku. 30 Marae affirmed the resolution to disqualify Tuku Morgan while 27 voted against, two abstained and six votes were deemed invalid. This may be the watershed moment in what has been a prolonged and filthy battle between Tuku Morgan and Te Arataura and Tania Martin and her supporters in Te Kauhanganui.

Having said that, some confusion remains. Initial reports suggested a plurality was enough to remove Tuku, however later claims from Te Arataura suggested that a majority was needed for a removal resolution to be successful. Consequently, Te Arataura has taken the issue to Court claiming that their interpretation of the Constitution holds that a majority is needed to remove Tuku. I cannot say who is in the right without reading the Constitution; suffice to say some interesting legal issues are raised. As an aside it is interesting to note that over the years Te Arataura have gradually altered the Constitution, even to the point of inserting some provisions of the Companies Act 1993, no doubt in an attempt to shift power from Te Kauhanganui to the Executive Board.

Trouble between Tania Martin and Tuku Morgan, and by extension Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura, emerged late last year when Tania Martin released a report criticising Te Arataura, but in particular Tuku Morgan. Tuku then cried foul and lobbied Kingi Tuheitia to remove her. The King obliged and used his mana as Arikinui of Tainui to remove Tania Martin as Chairwoman of te Kauhanganui. Consequently, Tania Martin invoked the mana of the law and took the issue to Court seeking reinstatement. Justice Hansen obliged and held that Tania Martin’s removal was unlawful. A tit for tat public battle ensured with both sides smearing the other. Recently Tuku Morgan filed a complaint with the Police alleging financial mismanagement on Tania Martin’s part, however the Police refused to investigate the complaint claiming that there was insufficient evidence to justify an investigation.

This latest battle may be the defining moment of the war. It is clear that despite Tuku Morgan’s behind the scenes lobbying and public attacks that Tania Martin enjoys the support of Te Kauhanganui. Te Kauhanganui is the ultimate authority in Tainui and maintains the mana to speak on behalf of all of Tainui. Unless Tuku Morgan can pull Te Kauhanganui in his direction he will not win. Tuku’s favourite play is to erect procedural barriers. He engages his solicitors, Chapman Tripp for the record, and he assaults his victims with legalese and threats. For example, the meeting in question has been delayed by Tuku for months as he knew, full well may I add, that he would lose the vote.

Te Kauhanganui also voted on resolution seven: disqualification of the Executive Board. That vote failed meaning Tuku’s minions remain and appear, at least for now, safe. It appears that they have avoided been implicated in Tuku’s dodgy plays.

At its most basic this dirty episode comes down to rotten personalities and toxic tribal politics. Tainui has experienced more than its share of internal political dramas, then again most Iwi have, but Tainui’s problems seem to play out on the national stage. For me this saga speaks to the unnecessary complexity of Iwi post-settlement entities and the self-interest many of the Iwi elite operate with. The Tainui Brown Table is a putrid one, one that needs to be destroyed and remade. Remade with the interests of the people at its core. The problem Te Arataura has is that they operate like a business. They treat their operations like they are a massive corporation and the people like they are expendable and marginal shareholders. In my opinion, the sooner Tuku and his mates are removed the sooner Te Arataura can go back to serving the people. Finally, isn’t it funny how Tuku always seems to be at the centre of these dramas within Tainui. Take what you will from that.    

UPDATE: Waikato Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has called for the issue to be resolved outside of the Court room. Mahuta is careful not to pick sides, but I tend to think she is leaning towards supporting the decisions of Te Kauhanganui. Good on her.

Aug 8, 2011

Mana Party AGM

The Mana Party AGM was held over the weekend in Auckland. I don't have time to write a substantive post so I’ll list a few observations I’ve made (for the record I did not attend):

·         Mana is Maori led, but working class focussed. Two socialist (McCarten and Minto) and two Maori nationalists (Harawira and Sykes) form the head of the party. Tim Selwyn attributes this to Matt McCarten attempting to reconcile the two factions of the party – a smart move in my opinion. 

·         Mana will target the party vote. Mana will hope to attract disgruntled Green/Labour voters, the entire Maori Party vote and non-voters. 

·         Mana will stand in all seven Maori seats. Mana will hope to stand high profile candidates who can create talking points. Mana does not expect to win all of the electorates; rather the party sees standing in all seven electorates as a profile building exercise. 

·         Mana risks becoming a party of recycled politicians. The top brass of the party reads like a socialist party from the 80’s – Bradford, McCarten, Minto, Jackson – these guys are yesterday’s (wo)men. Sure, they have a part to play, but Mana needs an injection of new blood to remain relevant and avoid been labelled a party of old hacks. 

·         Mana enjoys access to a brilliant policy team which includes academic Veronica Tawhai and the amazing Jane Kelsey (I hope she is a top 5 list candidate). 

·         Mana is relying on prominent Unite members, for example Gerard Hehir, for strategic advice and campaigning infrastructure/expertise. 

·         Mana branches are now established all over the country, however most branches seem to be concentrated in the upper half of the North Island. 

·         Mana must attract experts. It is difficult to attract Maori political specialists because most, if not all, are working for existing parties and are, as a result, loyal to those parties. Mana does not have the money, or at least I think they don’t, to employ contractors. The party, therefore, needs to woo people who are ideologically sympathetic, for example former Alliance operators like Chris Ford.

·         Mana will stand candidates in general electorates where those candidates have a realistic chance of attracting votes and building the party’s profile. All candidates will stand at their own expense. 

·         Angeline Greensill may have another go in Hauraki-Waikato and Annette Sykes is sure to stand in Waiariki.  

Aug 4, 2011

Short hiatus

Kia ora all,

I'll be taking a short break until next week. If you want my opinion on anything or just want to discuss things in general flick me an email at morgan DOT godfery AT gmail DOT com or alternatively godfermorg AT myvuw DOT ac DOT nz.