Nov 18, 2011

The week in Maori politics

A round of the week in Maori politics. Tea tapes aside, week 3 of the election campaign in Maori politics was a lot more exciting than the last.


Surprisingly, the Herald on Sunday’s (HoS) story on Pita Sharples electorate manager, Martin Cooper, failed to carry over to Monday. The HoS revealed Cooper used his position to influence the Auckland Council. On Radio Live with Willie and JT Sharples blames the media for highlighting the story. It appears that Pita Sharples thinks that possible corruption in his office is a non-issue and the media should be beat up on for doing their job. Nice (sarcasm).

Te Karere released their latest poll, this time on Waiariki. The poll showed Te Ururoa Flavell enjoys a commanding lead. I, as well as Bomber and Tim Selwyn, doubted the poll’s validity. I don’t accept that Te Ururoa enjoys 56%. Annette and Louis both polled 22%.

On RNZ Social Development Minister Paula Bennett refused to commit to retaining Whanau Ora. Bennett claimed the policy is not National Party policy and these things will be fleshed out after the election. On the same program Labour’s Annette King said Labour has no qualms about continuing Whanau Ora. Bennett’s stance may prove detrimental to the Maori Party/National Party relationship. King’s comments may go some way to rebuilding trust between Labour and Tariana Turia.

On Monday night Native Affairs held their Te Tai Tokerau debate. As an aside, Native Affairs won best current affairs show at the Aotearoa Film and Television Awards. I picked Kelvin as the winner, but most in the media and the blogosphere picked the win for Hone – fair enough.


Tariana Turia led with her call for family who care for disabled whanau to be paid as caregivers. I see no issue with this. It seems wrong that the government pays strangers to act as caregivers but not family. I’m not sure if this is Maori Party policy is whether Turia is acting in her capacity as Disabilities Issues Minister.

The Maori media, particularly Radio Waatea, started paying attention to Labour’s Maori policy. Labour quietly released their Maori policy statement after I criticised them for not doing so last Friday. For my discussion of the policy see this post over at Pundit. The statement was broad, but the first step to influencing Maori political discourse. I say broad, but I should also add that there are some very specific policies like increasing funding for Maori tourism, extending 20 hours free education to Kohanga reo and restabilising Maori trade training.

RNZ reported sparks were flying at a Te Tai Tonga debate hosted by Ngai Tauira at Victoria University. The two main contenders, Rino Tirikatene and Rahui Katene, were at each others throat for most of the debate. National’s Paul Quinn, apparently, got in on the action as well. The highlight of the debate was probably the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis candidate telling the others they need to calm down and smoke more weed.


Wednesday was fairly quiet. Labour’s Maori policy statement still led on Waatea and TVNZ’s multiparty leaders debate was held that night. Consensus seems to be that Hone Harawira was a top performer and Tariana Turia performed well too. John Armstrong, who is certainly no friend of Hone, declared Hone the standout. Tracey Watkins praised Tariana Turia in the Dom and I took my hat off to both leaders, but Tariana in particular.


It was a busy day for the Mana Movement. In response to the Nat’s draconian plans to drug test beneficiaries Hone Harawira and Annette Sykes called for Cabinet to lead by example and submit themselves for drug tests. After all, as the Nat’s say when they propose draconian measures, the innocent have nothing to fear. Mana also slammed the pay increase MPs are set to receive next year and Sue Bradford continued her run of positive publicity with another profile in a major daily.

In the Herald Claire Trevett looked insightfully at the Maori Party relationship with the Nats. Rawiri Taonui gave his opinion on the Maori seats too. His points bear close, close resemblance to everything I have been saying for the past year. Except Taonui takes the safe road and picks Te Ururoa to retain Waiariki. A safe bet, but it's still 50/50.


On RNZ Mana's Annette Sykes slams the Maori Party statement that Mana cannot represent Maori because Mana contains many Pakeha. Annette takes offence at this saying it goes against Maori values. Annette highlights that Maori values dictate that Maori embrace Pakeha and that saying this isn't true is a misunderstanding of kaupapa Maori. I would add that the Maori Party's contention disrespects the Pakeha whakapapa of many Maori too. Annette tops it off and says the Maori Party is, rather than Maori led, "National led".

I speculate in the Herald that the Green activist base may move to Mana in response to Russell Norman throwing Joylojn White overboard. Over at Pundit I also explore Labour’s Maori policy statement and the surprises it contains.

Pita Sharples reckons his opponent, Shane Jones of course, is a waste if he is not the leader of the Labour Party. Sharples thinks the party should have gifted him a safe seat like Manurewa. I agree. I don't know what Labour was thinking standing him in Tamaki Makaurau.

If there's anything I've missed please leave a comment and I'll update it as soon as I can. And also remember to keep tuned to Radio Live next week. Willie and JT have been interviewer prominent politicians in the lead up to the election including many Maori politicians.


  1. I read you're Herald article.. Do you really think when Russel was told about this, considering that the co-ordination of the 'activism' was done by the partner of his EA, that he should have hushed it up or supported it? Russel's handling of it was excellent and showed his integrity.

    Most Green activists see this as vandalism and even if they agree with the sentiments of the stickers we feel for the National grass-roots members because extensive hoardings take alot of work. I actually think the biggest thing that will stop Green activists moving over to Mana is Hone Harawira's social conservatism. The Greens consider issues of gay rights, abortion, women's rights and full social equality to be very important issues. There has been no clear leadership from Mana on these issues and I think that will stop, among other things, Greens from moving over. Also Hone visiting Destiny won't help.

    Sue Bradford saying we are selling out over this issue is just ridiculous. She is doing it for political reasons, I doubt she even thinks that. I don't even agree with the rhetoric that the Greens have moved to the centre. We have not changed any policy, and you say our priorities are 'middle of the road', is a transformational change of our economy 'middle road'? or is lifting 100,000 out of poverty 'middle class'? Most middle class people in NZ wouldn't even want to accept child poverty exists in this country.

  2. Integrity? The Green's Aussie leader did what should have been done, simple.

    Greens are the third choice for mainstream kiwis. They're so middle of the road now you could paint a white line down the middle of their policies and call them state highway 3.

    Hone's social conservatism? A typically astute mainstream observation. Seriously, the Greens very important issues of gay rights, abortion, women's rights and full social equality are pretty much accepted by the mainstream. There is no clear leadership from Mana on these issues because they're non-issues nowadays in nz. Even Act supports ending discrimination against sex couples. And its mainstream nz & Greens that have a beef with the Destiny church. Unlike Hone and other Maori leaders for that matter.

    Most middleclass do know what poverty in nz is, they just don't care. They drive past places like Cannons Creek and Otara with blinkers on. But its becoming more and more cool to be environmentally conscious for the middleclass. And the great thing about the Greens is that they make poverty in those places visable to the middleclass, the Greens take the blinkers off the mainstream.

    And even though I think the Greens are just an environmentally friendly version of Labour, the more Greens middle & upperclass membership grows--which it will--the more empathy the upper and middleclass will have for their surroundings imho. Thats a good thing.

  3. Are we really that mainstream? Our policies haven't changed one bit since we were all called radical hippies. It's more about perception in my opinion. And that the mainstream has moved towards us.

    And no those issues aren't mainstream, because we still don't have gay marriage, gay adoption and our pay equity stats are shocking. Labour and National allow consience votes on these issues, the Greens have clear policy that all MPs have to vote for.

    They are certainly not non-issues for the thousands of New Zealanders who still face discrimination because of their sexuality and/or their gender.

    Labour are actually getting more and more like us, not the other way around. They are taking the policy we have had for years.

    And the only reason green issues are now mainstream is because of the work Greens have been doing for over a decade. When our first MPs entered Parliament they were laughed at and scorned for raising so called 'radical' issues like climate change, animal welfare, safe food and peak oil. now those issues are more mainstream not because the Greens have sold out, but because of consistent and strong advocacy from the Greens for over a decade.

  4. Yes, Greens are becoming mainstream, which I think should and is being embraced by the Greens. Their policies are gaining acceptance by the mainstream because of the West's global awareness of the environment and, to a slower extent, social equity.

    Most people are accepting of Gay Rights. I'd wager it will be legal for a same sex couple to marry and adopt within the next one to five years at the latest, which has nothing to do with the Greens but the tireless work of gay rights activists and the slow acceptance of popular culture and the mainstream.

    What the Greens have been called is nothing compared to the names Mana is being labeled everyday, who seem to have the bigots, the mainstream and the political and media establishment against them. Very much unlike what the Greens ever faced.



1. Anonymous comments will be rejected. Please use your real name or a pseudonym/moniker/etc...
2. No personal abuse. Defamatory comments will be rejected.
3. I'll reject any comment that isn't in good taste.