A few quick thoughts:
Big ups to Native Affairs winning best current affairs show at the Aotearoa Film and Television Awards. Native is the most intelligent, in depth and watchable current affairs show in NZ. No bells and whistles, just straight current affairs. Native is also one of the few Maori TV shows that cross the cultural divide. Be sure to watch the Tai Tokerau debate on Native tonight at 9.30.
Shane Jones and Pita Sharples went head to head on Q&A yesterday. Sharples stressed his party's achievements including getting 200 people working on community gardens, no joke. Shane ripped Sharples point apart saying change for Maori must occur at a macro level. Sharples recovered to point out that to make a long term difference resources must be invested in education and this is where the Maori Party has done well, apparently. Paul Holmes cornered Shane with a question on the retirement age. Mana and the Maori Party have outflanked Labour and promised to reduce the Maori retirement age to 60. Shane initially attempted to deflect the question, but eventually highlighted the transitional payments system which he implied could be extended to Maori. Shane concluded, quite skilfully in my opinion, and shifted the focus to increasing Maori life expectancy. The interview ended with Shane rightfully identifying his “dim prospects” of leading the Labour Party. The panel said the debate was too even to call and I largely agree. If it went to any side I think it weighed only slightly on Shane’s.
Marae Investigates covered the Maori electorates with Rawiri Taonui, Maria Bargh and Willie Jackson. All three called Tamaki Makaurau for Pita. Willie Jackson pointed out that Pita is campaigning well at the moment. Rawiri thought Labour’s lack of Maori policy is hurting Shane – a point I made last week.
The panel thought Nanaia was safe. I agree. Angeline Greensill came painfully close at the last election. However, this year it’s a three horse race. Angeline will have to share the non-Labour vote with Bruce Mataki of the Maori Party. The door is wide open for Nanaia to increase her hold on the seat.
Ikaroa-Rawhiti was, correctly in my opinion, called for Parekura Horomia and Te Tai Hauauru for Tariana Turia. These two seats are going to be wide open when Parekura and Tariana retire next term.
Waiariki was next. Rawiri Taonui pretty much endorsed Annette saying of all the Maori standing in this election he wants to see Annette make it to Parliament. Willie reckons she would do well in Parliament. However, both men did not think she would win. A fair call, but inconsistent with what I have called. Willie pointed out that the “tikanga” is tough on wahine in the electorate. Most readers will know what he is referring to.
On to Te Tai Tonga and Maria said “Hurricane” (Clinton Dearlove) will storm Labour’s vote. Willie was on the right track when he disagreed and said Dearlove will steal Maori Party votes and hand the seat to Rino as a result. This is a point I made after the Te Tai Tonga debate.
Finally, there is a Te Karere Digi-poll coming out today on the Waiariki race. I think the poll will be make or break for Annette. The poll needs to show Annette within a reasonable distance of Te Ururoa or her supporters will, more likely than not, see it as a lost cause and stay home. Annette’s campaign depends on a lot of variables. Most of all I have decided it depends on how many young Maori enrol and mobilise on the day. I sense the old people here in Waiariki are still backing Te Ururoa and are still attracted to the image and the thought of the “Maori”, stress on “Maori”, Party. The young are overwhelmingly, no almost exclusively, backing Annette.