Dec 2, 2011

JT on Nanaia

Oh dear. From

Former Labour MP John Tamihere has criticised David Cunliffe's choice of running mate for the party's leadership, saying he picked Nanaia Mahuta because she is female and Maori.

''The only thing she's lacking is she doesn't have a limp. Then he would have got the disabled [vote] too. That's the truth of it and that's the way it smacked as soon as I saw it.''

You can always rely on John Tamihere to call it how he sees it, and that’s a good quality, but sometimes the way he calls things is unnecessary. The point JT is trying to make is that Nanaia was selected on tokenistic grounds. A fair point, no doubt, but the way he phrased his point was low – offensive basically. He may have got a laugh out of a few racists, ableists and fuckwits, beyond that his comment didn’t serve anyone. JT continues:

Tamihere said Cunliffe's choice of deputy was ''smarmy'' and typical of him.

''I'm the type of Maori that doesn't back dumb Maori, so I'm not saying she's a dumb Maori. I'm just saying if she was awfully meritorious, I'd back her 100 per cent, that has not been my experience.''

Nanaia was the standout in the Native Affairs Kowhiri 11 debates. She defeated her opponents by a Waikato mile in the debates and was, in my opinion, the best communicator of all the Maori candidates who fronted in the different debates. Nanaia is, in my experience, fiercely intelligent too. I don’t know how JT missed that. He must never listen to her I guess.

Jones was a better choice despite not having run a strong campaign in Tamaki Makaurau, Tamihere said.

''Out of the two of them you'd have to rate, on Labour Party values and on the street bringing the men's vote back and a whole bunch of other things, Shane all day long; if he can get over in his own mind the self mutilation that he conducted in that hotel room,'' Tamihere said.

I think this comment gives a hint to where JT is coming from. It seems to me that a little bit of sexism is at play.Yes, Nanaia is a woman and Shane is a man. That doesn’t make Shane the superior candidate.

JT has overstepped the mark. He didn’t need to launch an attack against Nanaia to prove his point. She’s a strong candidate. She deserves respect not this sort of marginalisation.


  1. For a person groomed for years by the kingitanga, Mahuta is still an average politician

  2. I was going to give JT a serve but looks like Nanaia doesn't need my help!

  3. _ obviously the 'talk back' environment is not a good place to learn and
    grow in.
    This is self destructive behaviour from John Tamihere as his comments
    most of all harm him.
    Nanaia Mahuta will continue to be a role model working for the greater

  4. Could be the making of Mahuta
    Her sledge back was fabulous

  5. Kia Ora Morgan. Really enjoy your Blog. Even if I am more centrist, and only slightly left...I appreciate your insight. JT is the Maori Michael Laws. He makes a living off being rude. But with respect....I dont think Nanaia has a public profile at all. It is not apparent what she has done + led her entire time in Parliament. If she has done something, led some legislation, advocated some key policy, it would be good to know. Also, she seems quite grumpy, or at best, unhappy in her photos. She also seems aloof. it would be good to get to know her...but maybe she isnt in anyway...the Shearer ticket is hot at the mo!

  6. While I think we all might question the sincerity of Cunliffe's choice in ticket-partner, I totally agree with the description of Tamihere's comments.

    Bugger it, Mahuta would wield serious power if succesfull in vying for the 2014 ticket - and this potentially very advantageous for Maori. Tamihere knows this, and without compromising his journalistic integrity (laugh) could have framed his criticism in a more eloquent, thought-provoking manner.

  7. What fascinates me is that Nanaia seemed as "effective" and busy, while she was off on maternity leaves as she was in the other 15 years she has made up the numbers in parliament.
    Nanaia is a terrible role model for Maori political aspirations. She was given a job in Labour solely through the political manipulation of her father sir Robert, and her Aunty Dame Te Ata.
    She represents average with a capital A getting an important position based solely on whakapapa which has no place in parliament.
    Tamihere may have offended some in what he said but he is on the button in saying what is the case.
    Labour need dynamic smart leadership that can rebuild the party and its unity. Nanaia being anywhere near leadership will only ensure we have a 3rd term National Government.

  8. Cunliffe's choice of running mate is a death warrant

  9. She was fantastic in the pre-election debate: the best across all the elctorates. Nanaia is so under-rated. She is one of the best chances Labour has.



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