Okay, not quite loves John, but falls over himself with praise for his relationship with Maori:
Key’s behaviour at the Te Tii Marae on Thursday has shown New Zealand and its relationship with Maori has changed forever. The rush at him by a couple of individuals was also an opportunity for him. The embarrassment of his hosts was expected, as I’m sure they were when Clark and Brash were attacked.
But it seems Key really is different. He brushed off the incident, which you have to give him points for.
But he also promised Nga Puhi that the attack hadn’t put him off and that he’ll be back next year and the next and the next. It was brave, but very smart, too.
That one statement must have Labour freaking out. Maybe, just maybe, Key really is genuine when he says he wants to build a new relationship with Maori.
His inclusion of the Maori Party in his government when he didn’t have to, was clever politics.
But he genuinely seems to want to make it work. There seems to be a friendship between him and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.
Even Key’s public statement that he supports having a Maori flag flown on Waitangi Day, not just on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but on Government buildings, too, was astonishing. A Labour leader wouldn’t have ever dared to say that. Key has promised to fly a Maori flag next year.
Our Waitangi Day has always been marred by protest for good reason. Our national holiday has become an embarrassment to most New Zealanders.
It’s taken a white boy from Christchurch who has spent most of his adult life overseas to finally give us hope that just maybe we can finally be proud of our national day.
For our sake I hope he can. He’s made a great start.
High praise from McCarten.