The PM and Waitangi

February 5th, 2008 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

The PM really needs to get over the fact that Harawira senior was rude to her a decade or so ago at Waitangi.  Life goes on, and it is regrettable that the PM has never gone to Waitangi for the full programme.

She is boycotting both the group of cross-party MPs that will be welcomed on to Te Tii Marae this morning and has not accepted an invitation to participate in a leaders debate with National Party leader John Key and others at the marae this afternoon.

Instead she is going to a meeting to confirm the Labour Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau.  So putting party ahead of country.

Yes Waitangi Day can sometimes be rude. Yes like Don Brash you may get seated next to Tame Iti. But the head of the NZ Government should be at Waitangi for Waitangi Day.

I’ve no problem with temporary stay aways when things go too far, such as when the GG was spat on.  But her boycott of the full programme has been in place for something like a decade – in her own language it is time to move on.

No tag for this post.

59 Responses to “The PM and Waitangi”

  1. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    The PM always likes to be in control – at Waitangi she is not.

    She is scared that she will not be able to foot it with John Key
    and so is using the rudeness of some year ago as an excuse not to attend.

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  2. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    This is mind games pure and simple. She refuses to allow herself to be in the saem room as Key for paranoia that the voters will see them as equals. She refuses to engage Maori for fear that it will be a rallying call for the Maori Party. She knows that after Ruatuki she will be villiefied, and has chosen the easier way out. Too many nasty phot ops for the opposition here. Rather have some cuddly shots of Helen ‘down with Maori’ by choosing an altogether more scenic venue.

    Wise choice made for all the right reasons, but an indictment of her stewardship, and her attitudes towards anyone who fails to cow-tow to her, all the same.

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  3. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Why would Tame Iti be there?

    According to him he comers from some other country and they have nothing to do with the treaty and New Zealand.

    He can just sit at home bottling his own napalm for pig hunting and work out how his “nation” is going to get by without the financial aid from New Zealand.

    Also the other we send them but shouldn’t like electricity.

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  4. ViewAskewNZ (14 comments) says:

    Its nothing to do with Key.

    Te Tii has been a shambles for years – why would you bother after what happened in 04.

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  5. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Oh – I wish there was a programme for TV that automatically muted it when the word ‘Waitangi’ was announced.

    Waitangi is no more a national day than July 17th is (and in case youre wondering – july 17 is absolutely nothing as far as I knoiw)

    Waitangi day is becoming rather tiring. Its only ever been (in my memory) about mock national day celebrations, protest, politics and abuse. The presence of that rag bag lot from the Bay of Plenty – who only a few months ago were so proud of the fact that they hadnt signed the treaty – makes the whole thing a mockery (again).

    That god Ive got sky – even though its not really my cup of tea, I can watch progress with super tuesday tomorrow rather than watch the shenanagins up north.

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  6. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Te Tii has been a shambles for years – why would you bother after what happened in 04.

    Well, why would John Key after Don Brash was pelted with mud? I’m sorry for writing the reality check on Helen — but when you go into politics, you occasionally have to front up to an unfriendly audience or two. And while there are legitimate concerns, I really think Clark (and Shane Jones doing his brown-neck routine yesterday) is being just a teeny tad opportunistic.

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  7. big bruv (13,661 comments) says:

    After Tariana’s comments I have a strong urge to go and tag a Marae, while I am not really into art I feel that she should experience the same “joy” we feel when some little scum bag inflicts his “art” upon us.

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  8. david (2,570 comments) says:

    H1 has stated that she ” … doesn’t participate in debates except for election debates ..”

    How very, very strange for a woman who is first out of the blocks to snipe and whinge and has an opinion (spoken with the gravitas of a Supreme Court Judge addressing a bunch of 5 yo new entrants) on absolutely everything.

    Perhaps someone should remind her that it is election year and that the debate has started.

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  9. GK (97 comments) says:

    I am not a Helen supporter, that said the national day should have a lot more dignity and mutual respect. The insults offered are a disgrace. When the US ambassador walked out a few years back it was appropriate. The office of the PM deserves respect, irrespective of the quality of the holder.

    The commander of the naval guard should be reminded the purpose of the guard goes beyond providing a drill display.

    Why should the PM put his or her head on a block? Why practice bleeding?

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  10. PaulL (6,013 comments) says:

    After listening to both John Key and Helen Clark at Ratana on the focus on politics podcast this morning, I’m very surprised that Helen would skip Waitangi. Control freakery is the only answer – lots of potential downside and little potential upside. What her advisors missed is the corresponding downside of not appearing, and in so doing looking uncaring towards Maori issues.

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  11. david (2,570 comments) says:

    Or perhaps she has been taking lessons from Tama Iti on guerrilla tactics by numbers.

    1. Throw in your sound bite
    2. Run away and hide in the bushes

    In a debate you actually have to stand and fight.

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  12. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Barry if you’re really old you can remember when it was a national day. Also something of a day for the navy – before dear leader who isn’t in the chain of command anyway banned them and went into her own terminal sulk.

    A day for packing up the kids and a picnic lunch and heading off up north to enjoy the hosipality of the locals, catch some rays and have a flag raising or two. We pretty much had to go because my father was the guy in the white suit standing at the base of the flag pole snarling at junior signalmen who got the wrong rope.

    Eat some damn fine food – see above re hospitality – and then fall asleep in the back of the car on the way home.

    Now its nothing but a penis extention for the out of town victim industry and it means nothing other than a day off when the little bastardfs have only just gone back to school.

    My vote is for August 8th.

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  13. longbow (130 comments) says:

    chicken, chicken!

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  14. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    I think a PM has to have a bit of the Muldoon in them, the person who can stare down a protestor & has the guts to go places that might get a bit ugly is required.
    The more you hide the worse it is & it makes Clark look weak.

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  15. big bruv (13,661 comments) says:

    Why on earth would Key or Klark want to attend the Waitangi day “celebrations”

    The whole day has been taken over by “wreckers and haters” and those who preach racial separation.

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  16. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    I was not born in New Zealand, so this is perhaps a bit of an outsider perspective looking in even though I consider myself a Kiwi now, but is this not the type of event which aids in building a nation?

    It was an important day in the history of New Zealand and helped shape the nation. Even if people disagree with aspects of it, it remains a part of the nations heritage and should be remembered just as much as any other event. I liked Murray’s description of the day, that sounds like the type of thing that makes people think of themselves as New Zealanders and see a bit outside of the box they live within. It needs the dialogue and history surrounding this for us to move forward and make better decisions for the future of all of New Zealand, doesn’t it?

    Seems to me that shunning this are the actions of someone too proud or self absorbed to acknowledge the country’s history and to take a mature stance on the current situation.

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  17. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    Big Bruv, have you ever been to Waitangi ??, I really think people who make comments like yours should go there, you’d be very surprised at how relaxing & fun it is, alot of the tribes put a hell of a lot of effort into things like the Waka ceremonies & other events, it’s alot of things, but nothing like you suggest.

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  18. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,871 comments) says:

    I’m glad she is staying away. It is a sign of weakness and will greatly assist in handing the remainder of the Maori seats to the Maori Party who will be National’s natural party of coalition.

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  19. big bruv (13,661 comments) says:

    Nigel

    You ask a fair question, No I have not been to the Waitangi “celebrations” and NOTHING on this earth would entice me there.

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  20. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    Great post Pascal – I couldn’t agree more.

    And as Adolf said, it will cement Key’s position as a uniter, not a divider. So it’s all good :-)

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  21. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    Your call, but if you have not been I do struggle to see how you can comment on what it’s like.
    It’s nothing like as the Media portrays it & I think your attitude reflects a huge underestimation in NZ of how much effort alot of Maori put into Waitangi to make a great day, mind you to be fair all that is seen in the Media are the 20 odd people out of 15,000 who want to score political points including HC.

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  22. John Dalley (394 comments) says:

    Or Ruth it could be the first nail in John Key’s coffin when asked “WILL nATIONAL KEEP THE MAORI SEATS” —– and wait for it!

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  23. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    I just heard on the news that the government are looking at some sort of deal with Maori over the Foreshore and Seabed up north.

    If this is the case then the election may be won (by labour) with another back room deal

    I hope National have got something up their sleeves to counteract this treachery!

    What a pathetic nation we have become, if our democracy is offered for sale to the party that can offer the biggest bribe to the Maori Party.

    Led by a woman who thinks that graffiti is not even a crime, and that young unwed mothers are a beautiful thing.

    Two of the biggest problems in our society, and we may see this party as a coalition partner in the next government

    MMP stinks!

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  24. cubit9f (356 comments) says:

    The national day celbrations take place at the National Marae which contains the Treaty House. I understand the PM will be there fulfilling her obligations as the political leader of NZ.

    Te Ti is a sideshow to the main “national” event. It has been hijacked by a heap of opportunists most notably the Harawiras (a very priviledged family) whose matriarch simply uses it as a vehicle for own brand of vitriol and hate. The local marae committe don’t particularly like what is happening but they really can’t change it.

    I think there are many who like to see the PM irrespective of party getting a hard time there. The real question is what does ot really change for the most vocal critics. The last thing they personnally really want is reconciliation and harmony because that simply leaves Titewhai and her coterie of antagonists up the creek with no paddles and no influence.

    However, of consequence is the fact that the PM has prevented the GG from being the Chairman of the Waitangi Trust that administers the National Marae. Previous GG have always held the p[ost but for political reasons the PM wants to have control.

    The reasons for excluding the GG have never been expalined. Perhaps another small step towards the republic with all power being removed to someone other than the Head of State. (Be they a GG or a President)

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  25. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    It’s never seemed like a nation building event to me. Of course it’s historically important. To the Maori it is very important. But it is used every time to symbolize how the NZ nation has failed Maori. Whether that is actually particularly true or not, as a symbolic event, it does not unite the nation at all.

    Never in my living memory have I experienced that patriotic surge that these kinds of national days aim for, on Waitangi day. No one I know has ever said they revere the day, or feel humbled or awed or proud. Mostly it just ends up being annual Maori-bashing day (for racist Pakeha) and Pakeha-bashing day (for racist Maori), and I end it feeling a little bit ashamed of the place.

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  26. Seamonkey Madness (328 comments) says:

    More “recent” Waitangi Days (e.g. 1990 – Queen had a black shirt thrown at her etc.) have shown that the rebel rousers are in control. Sure the local tribes/iwi may put on a fantastic day and make an authentic time of it, bringing the two groups (Crown & Iwi) under the same roof to celebrate how we built this nation; how we still have difficulties and differences; and how we can move forward amicably from them and into the future. But as they say, the few spoil it for the many, and like one bad course out of five at a restaurant, people will only talk about that one bad one instead of the good ones.

    The one Waitangi Day where I felt like I was actually celebrating being a NZer with other NZers, was on the Circle Line Pub Crawl in London. There was genuine hapiness, with no undercurrent of grudges and claims.
    That being said I don’t think it should be diluted to drinking all day and doing a haka in front of Parliament buildings (although it would be funny to do it in Wellington – start at the Cambridge Hotel, working our way down Courtenay/Lambton with a haka in front of the Beehive.) ;)

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  27. slightlyrighty (2,506 comments) says:

    Big Bruv.

    As I recall it was Helen who coined the term “wreckers and haters”. In doing so she has become somewhat of a magnet to them.

    Regardless of her own beleifs on the validity or otherwise over the greivances claimed by these groups she has, through her own actions, placed herself directly opposite the most vociferous of the Tino Rangitiratanga movement and their sympathisers.

    She is now removing herself from the fray. A PM should not do so just pecause the going gets too tough.

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  28. big bruv (13,661 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty

    I despise Clark but on this and this alone I support her, IMHO any politician who goes there is pandering to the racist element (the every growing racist element) among Maori.
    Recent “celebrations” have been nothing more than an excuse for the most radical elements to spew their bile and hatred.

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  29. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    sock puppet alert!

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  30. catwoman (123 comments) says:

    Lest we forget, (unfortunately) Helen Clark is the Prime Minister of this country. The Prime Minister has just sent a clear message to Maori – you do not matter.

    Once again she has put Labour party needs above the needs of the people of New Zealand

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  31. RRM (9,762 comments) says:

    It does seem a shame that the leader of the nation has an opportunity to take hold of the “birthday of the nation” ceremonies and do something, well, leader-like, and straight out refuses to, simply because some racial hatred stirrer made a scene some years ago.

    On the other hand, as long as Waitangi day continues to be used by some participants as a poster boy for long-held grievances, perhaps Helen Clark is making a pointed comment by sticking to her own historical grievance?

    Nevertheless it is very clear that a lot of respondents on here have never read the Treaty of Waitangi OR very much of our nation’s early history, or else there would be a hell of a lot fewer comments about “bribing the Maoris” etc…

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  32. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    I think the PM is uncomfortable around brown people she can’t control. Look at her body language. If she was any stiiffer she would have rigor mortis.

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  33. big bruv (13,661 comments) says:

    Brian

    Lets be honest here, the Clark is uncomfortable around anybody unless they are they come from the “arty” set, the “rainbow” set or staunch and vicious feminist groups.

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  34. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    So ‘Dear Leader’ has given away Te Tii Marea to attend the so called coronation of their Te Tai Tokerau candidate – who are they picking?
    Mr Nobody Kevin Davis (good Maori name) – this after their ‘great brown hope’ Shane Jones decided the seat was unwinnable and that coming second to his cousin Hone is just too much for an oversize ego to stomach.

    Because like it or not Hone H resonates with his constituency. We might cringe a some of his utterances but we have to remember those remarks are not directed at us but at his own voter demographic.

    So Hone H will win a a canter and Davis will be consigned to the dusbin of history. Meanwhile Shane J will run a very poor second to John Cater who has the largest Party membership in the country.

    So what have we; a nobody vs Hone H and a Maori cabinet minister who is to afraid to stand in a Maori seat and prefers to come a poor second in a General seat.

    Sez a lot about the state of Labour in the Far North and also how they
    view their chances with Maoridom. Sad for Labour but good for NZ

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  35. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    She is being a girl over this. Every now and then, being a woman leader shows. It is cowardly of her not to front up. But then she thinks she will be the object of a protest and that will be all over the news.

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  36. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    Nigel says:

    I think a PM has to have a bit of the Muldoon in them, the person who can stare down a protestor & has the guts to go places that might get a bit ugly is required.

    slightlyrighty says:

    She is now removing herself from the fray. A PM should not do so just pecause the going gets too tough.

    Precisely. There are many apt quotes on what defines true leadership, but a lot of them are from men. So perhaps here’s one that might resonate with the PM, considering the author:

    You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    Oops. That was from Eleanor Roosevelt.

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  38. Inventory2 (10,254 comments) says:

    The Herald has taken a swipe at Dear Leader, courtesy of John Key

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/02/get-over-it-helen-key.html

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  39. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    She could call a snap election and end all this pain…. show she really has balls.

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  40. thehawkreturns (162 comments) says:

    I can’t stand Klark
    and
    I can’t stand Maori racism

    Starve them both of the oxygen of publicity

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  41. go NZ (59 comments) says:

    the PM dont like confrontation-remember the Person Purporting To Be The Prime Minister didnt have the guts to front up to to parliament for her EFB Mugabe effort.To Waitangi or to tangi , that is the question.

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  42. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “I can’t stand Maori racism”

    To busy loving your own?

    ;)

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  43. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    I can’t stand Maori racism

    That does beg the question: which ethnicity’s racism do you like?

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  44. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    She has balls Burt, they’re in a jar on her desk.

    Ask Mallard.

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  45. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    And I think it’s time to remind people that Clark mocked Jim Bolger when he said he wasn’t going to go to Waitangi to be insulted. Sorry, I’m still not convinced there’s any high principle on display here, just an opportunistic attempt to dodge a potential bad photo op.

    Are we going to see a US-style ‘presidential’ campaign where Clark is not to be except when surrounded by party faithful and tame media at carefully orchestrated photo ops?

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  46. slightlyrighty (2,506 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4387143a10.html

    Helen seems to making John Key’s job easier…….

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  47. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Actually, I find it a breath of fresh air when I hear of Helen Clark being disrespectful of some tradition OTHER than Christianity. She MUST have been offended by Mrs Harawira. Some of the above pschoanalyses are interesting, when it comes to explaining this.

    Having said that, we need to cut the wimpery when it comes to the vandalising of tradition and respect at important occasions. If protests become too boisterous and anything whatsoever is thrown, the culprits should be off to the Cop shop overnite and in the local court the next day. It is probably a contributing factor to the Queen’s reluctance to attend NZ’s important occasions, that we are far too “tolerant” of how far protests can go regardless of the dignity of the occasion and the persons involved.

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  48. Monty (974 comments) says:

    I totally agree Adolf – Labour are now in despair and seem to have even given up the fight. I am predicting that National will see a significant bounce in the next polls that come out. Labour Maori voters will flock to the Maori Party and they will win 7 seats in the next election.

    John Key needs to offer Maori Party the Maori Affairs Portfolio even if the Nats havea clear majority for two reasons

    1. Build support for future elections
    2. demonstrate to Maori that National can indeed work with the Maori Party and in doing so proving point one is viable.

    The bad news just continues for Labour – and Clark’s cowardly absence will be noted by swinging voters. Key turning up and talking can only be seen in a positive light – however I am waiting for the lefty spin on why this is a bad thing.

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  49. RRM (9,762 comments) says:

    “I can’t stand Maori racism”

    That’s just too perfect. It should be on display somewhere in a glass case. Political bloggers of early 21st century New Zealand, or the like.

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  50. slightlyrighty (2,506 comments) says:

    The bad news just continues for Labour – and Clark’s cowardly absence will be noted by swinging voters. Key turning up and talking can only be seen in a positive light

    Too true monty.

    This is just another example of the arrogance of Helen Clark, refusing to even show because what happens does not conform to how she wants to be seen. John Key is happy to engage with Maori, even if he does not fully agree, he understands that NZ prime ministers do not go to Waitangi for a love fest.

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  51. Inventory2 (10,254 comments) says:

    Monty said “John Key needs to offer Maori Party the Maori Affairs Portfolio even if the Nats havea clear majority for two reasons”

    Hadn’t thought of that option Monty – I would have thought that Georgina Te Heuheu would have been a shoo-in for the Maori Affairs portfolio given her whanau links to Maori’s “inner circle”.

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  52. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    So we have another expert, Jim Anderton, on the Treaty of Waitangi who refers to “the partnership principle” underlying the Treaty.

    “Those on either side who step away from the partnership principle underlying that agreement are no different from each other.”

    It is on record that G W Hope, Under Secretary of State at the Colonial Office 1841-1845, said the Treaty, when it eventually arrived in London, would have been disavowed

    We have to remember first and foremost, no ‘principles’ are expressed or implied, to underlie the 3 Treaty Articles.

    Only obligations and responsibilities by both parties. These may be summarised thus:

    • Maori to relinquish any rights and powers of sovereignty
    • Britain to safeguard Maori possessions
    • .Maori to receive British citizenship and so uphold British law

    Contrary to Lord Woolfs expressed opinion in 1994 on behalf of “Their Lordships”, both parties are indeed confined for all times, to these clearly expressed terms. The first is no more or no less important today than it was when written and signed. The 2nd cannot be applicable after 1931. The 3rd has been fully honoured. Any alleged additional importance given to these simple terms could only arise by default or wishful thinking by either party.

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  53. DrDr (114 comments) says:

    The PM turned up to Ratana Pa with a delegation of 120, perhaps she needs to do the same at Te Tii. The tangata whenua would be running around so hard trying to give them food and drink, no one would have the time to shove them around or punch them. The other problem for Labour is that National seem to have come under the protection of Titewhai Harawira, with Jenny Shipley and now John Key having her close to them when they walk on to the marae. That’s really smart because no one messes with Titewhai. So no one is going to push and shove National while Titewhai is close. A very smart move.

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  54. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    National should take a stance that is possibly unthinkable to a major party and not campaign for the Maori vote. Like Labour, National have traditionally tried to be all things to all people with a “Two ticks [party-name-here]” mentality.

    With MMP we should have abandoned that MO years ago. Heading into an election with a position that naturally fits with forming a coalition would be something that would appeal to many voters. Labour on the other hand will do what Labour do and campaign over the top of the Maori and the Green party then wonder why forming coalitions is tough.

    It’s time we saw a change of mindset – MMP is here to provide a more diverse proportionally mixed parliament, not to allow MP’s from major parties who were rejected by the electorates to slip back into senior positions via the list.

    Party Vote National – Electorate vote [ whoever you think best serves your electorate ] would be a refreshing approach from National.

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  55. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    Naturally the Maori party should campaign the same way – Party vote Maori party – Electorate vote [ whoever you think best serves your electorate ].

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  56. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    If National offer a deal to the Maori Party it should be a real portfolio probably in one of the social service areas. Not Maori Affairs, the Labour Party have used that non portfolio to sideline their lack luster Maori MPs. Pita Sharples can handle anything.

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  57. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Having just returned from a tangi at a local marae I was somewhat surprised by the reaction of many Maori to my “kill the bill” t shirt. It was probably not the best choice in tangi wear but the weather is hot as fuck and we were running late. The were many Maori from around NZ and even some from Aussie at the tangi. What surprised me the most was their dislike of Dear Leader. The general comment was “cool t shirt bro”. A few years ago this would have been unheard of. It would appear the gloss that came with the Dear Leader and the Liarbore party is wearing rather thin.

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  58. helmet (807 comments) says:

    I can’t stand Maori racism either. I cant abide racism in any form, any more than I can stand the Japanese.

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  59. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    here’s an idea for a portfolio for Maori:
    http://monkeyswithtypewriter.blogspot.com/2008/01/royal-commission-on-elctoral-reform.html
    I bet you all $1,000. each it will happen! Any takers?

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