Rodney on Maori Seats in Auckland

August 22nd, 2009 at 5:06 pm by David Farrar

I was interviewed by Radio New Zealand about ACT’s stance on the . The interview was here.

There were in fact two interviews. The first I was not at all critical of what had happened. As I have said on this blog, I think it is quite appropriate that Rodney says he could not carry on as Local Government Minister if it means introducing a bill he does not agree with.

They then rang me back half an hour later and said that Rodney was now saying he would quit all his portfolios if the Government went with Maori seats. This appears to not be a correct interpretation of what Rodney actually said – I understand he said it would be up to the PM if he kept his other portfolios. On the basis of what told me, I said that a threat to resign all portfolios would be a significant upping of the stakes and unhelpful.

In a later part of the piece, they quote me saying that while ACT supporters may be pleased with Rodney’s strong stand, the way he has gone about it is somewhat disappointing. I want to make clear that was in relation to the reported comments to resign all portfolios, not the decision (made back in June) to relinquish Local Government if there were Maori Seats.

I am also quoted as saying “It is generally preferable that negotiations happen behind closed doors and without ultimatiums about resigning portfolios”. This gives the perception I am blaming Rodney for this issue going public. I am not.

As I wrote for NBR on Friday:

Act also suffers from the publicizing of the leaked e-mail. …

I think that is unfair on Rodney as he was not the one who leaked the National Caucus e-mail – I doubt he is that happy this has been made public.

I in no way think Rodney was responsible for taking this issue public. I have specifically pointed out they have suffered from it being made public.

I don’t know who leaked the e-mail, but as it was sent by a National MP to his colleagues, the logicial conclusion is it was a National MP or staffer. I doubt Rodney has hired Nicky hager to intercept the Nats e-mails :-)

So in summary my position is:

  1. I think it is entirely appropriate that Rodney has said he would not continue as Local Government Minister if he seriosuly disagrees with a Local Government bill or law proposed or passed by the Government
  2. I think it was someone in National who leaked the Henare e-mail
  3. I do think it would be a bad thing, if Rodney was threatening to resign all portfolios, rather than just Local Government, in relation to this issue. However it is not at all clear he has done so.
Tags: , ,

26 Responses to “Rodney on Maori Seats in Auckland”

  1. dave (985 comments) says:

    Hide was reported to have said “Oh I think if I resigned [as] minister of local government I’d probably resign everything.”

    Whether he will is up to him,.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Rodney Hide (59 comments) says:

    Here is the sequence.

    On 6 April Cabinet agreed no reserved seats for Maori on the new Auckland Council.

    On 3 June the PM explored the possible option of National and the Maori Party voting for reserved seats with ACT opposing. I agreed that they could do that – they have the numbers. But that I could not introduce legislation that would cut across ACT’s founding philosophy and principles and if such an option was chosen I would have to step aside as Minister. Someone else would have to be Minister of Local Government to do such a thing.

    I also made it clear that the PM would still enjoy ACT’s support for supply and confidence because that was ACT’s promise during the election campaign and it wasn’t conditional.

    I didn’t do it as a threat. I simply needed to be clear about where I and ACT stood. I immediately briefed my caucus and then the ACT Board on the issue. I was assured of their full support.

    ACT never made the issue public. I had simply explained my position to the PM so there would be no surprises should Cabinet reverse its earlier decision. I briefed my caucus and Board for the same reason.

    On Wednesday last week TV3 told me they had an email from National MP Tau Henare stating that ACT was threatening to withdraw its promise of confidence and supply should National proceed with reserved seats. I went on camera and said that simply wasn’t true.

    I was subsequently asked by media whether I had said that I would resign as Minister. I said that I had.

    I was then further asked if I would resign my other portfolios. I figured it would be dishonourable not to make my future as a Minister a clear choice for the PM and said I would. I only serve as a Minister at the PM’s pleasure.

    [DPF: Thanks for that. I now understand the confusion over the other portfolios. You said you would offer to resign all portfolios but you are not ruling out continuing to serve in other portfolios should that be the PM's desire]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    Good on you Rodney.

    I imagine most National Party supporters are pleased with your stance too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,797 comments) says:

    David, when will you learn that ‘media’ never tell the truth?

    “On the basis of what Radio NZ told me, I said that a threat to resign all portfolios would be a significant upping of the stakes and unhelpful.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Best of luck Rodney.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Rodney, it’s bloody good to know someone in govt has principles. (John key could take a lesson here)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. stuarts-burgers (100 comments) says:

    Rodney it is so good to get it from the “Horses Mouth” as so often what we seem to get from parts of the media would seem to come from the other end of the horse.

    I can see that you are a person of principle and to resign from one portfolio and attempt to retain the others would be a very shallow act but to offer to resign from all and accept the decision of the Prime Minister on if you retain he other or not shows you are a very strongly principled person. Thank you for your contribution here.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Nick Kearney (1,070 comments) says:

    As Party Secretary of ACT I can confirm 100% Rodney’s synopsis above. I was part of the Board discussions that he mentions (obviously) and it has transpired exactly as Rodney has pointed out.

    I do not see anything wrong with the way Rodney or the Party has handled the matter. It is entirely professional and proper and in my view it is not ACT that has egg on its face.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. dime (9,453 comments) says:

    I voted for National in the last 2 elections. ACT the one before that.

    If the Maoris get special seats, I will never vote for National again.

    I hope JK realises just how divisive such a thing would be. I’d honestly look at leaving NZ. Its a big deal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. trout (902 comments) says:

    What is Henare’s game? He would have known the E-mail would be leaked. He himself has railed against separate representation for Maori. What a plonker.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    I personally admire Rodney Hide for no doubt sticking to his principle on this issue and holding on to his guns – I too believe that this country has operated long enough between separate Pakeha and Maori relations… The time is now to take a stand and state that enough is enough New Zealand – Maori can’t have it any other way.
    No where else in the Western democratic world will you find specially delegated parliamentary and/or local body seats for a specific racial population – not in 2009 and not on my watch!
    Native or not we are all one people and we should all be treated as one people – no one is hindering Maori from standing for the Super city like every other Tom, Dick and Harry – in fact there seems to be more encouragement for Maori leaders to stand.

    I haven’t always seen eye to eye with ACT and Rodney Hide (especially over the Super city debacle) but I must admit that finally, an MP that has held on to the end with principle and ethics!

    I look forward to the final outcome

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. bruceh (102 comments) says:

    As well as the issue at hand being an important matter of democratic principle, Rodney Hide’s position to the PM re his ministerial roles was an important matter of governance responsibility. Principled governance was put ahead of his clear love and enthusiasm for his work.

    Key obviously came to him with a ‘face-saving’ formula for ACT – it could register an opposed vote. Clearly the notion of genuine ministerial responsibility was not in his or his advisor’s minds.

    The move by Key also showed it was no problem whatsoever for him to adopt what is a radical new extension of reserved privilege in spite of the earlier cabinet decision not to allow reserved seats. Yet he shows continued intransigence over the NO referendum results with his deeply disrespectful position of not rescinding the criminality of managing children with a light smack.

    His unwillingness to concede also shows little philosophical interest in the larger context of the anti-smacking law – the larger context is much much more than one of the pro’s and con’s of smacking as such; the real issue is one of government sticky beak intrusion into the private lives of it’s citizens.

    The National Party and motivated members should be lobbying National cabinet ministers and MPs like crazy this weekend, to get rid of the criminality and to stay with the earlier agreed decision against reserved Super City seats. National Party members know what they stand for and believe in, I think they need to be heard before Monday.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    This more than anything could be the make or break for the National led government. Every day I speak to national voters who feel betrayed and are considering supporting ACT.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Gooner (995 comments) says:

    Murray, I’ve been speaking to them every day for the last 10yrs and they’ve been saying the same thing to me as well but something happens when they get in the ballot booth.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Willie_Escaped (29 comments) says:

    Congratulations Rodney. An admirable position to take.

    1 Person, 1 Vote.

    @Gooner:

    I speak to many people also who say to me “I like ACT’s policy better than the Nats, ACT will get in, I’d really like to see ACT make a difference”, and then they go vote Nats.

    Go figure.

    Tories will vote Tory no matter what, and that’s understandable. When you’ve voted the same way for 10, 20, 30 years, it takes a lot of courage to change.

    My favorite tasting cola is by far “Royal Crown Cola”. No matter how much I think I like it though, I find myself buying coke.

    Go figure.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. freedom101 (462 comments) says:

    Rather than introducing separate Maori seats in Auckland, National should be talking about getting rid of them nationally. A good time would be when the treaty settlement process winds up. That would be a milestone in our nation-making when we finally put the injustices of the past behind us and evolve fully into a modern democracy with one person, one vote.

    We should regret that we ever instituted a racially-based franchise, and to extend it would be a big mistake.

    Good on ACT for standing up for this important principle.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    I’ve been speaking to them every day for the last 10yrs and they’ve been saying the same thing to me as well but something happens when they get in the ballot booth.

    I think one of the main causes of this has been an overwhelming desire to remove Labour from Government and that voting ACT would have reduced that prospect. At this point however with Labour in such a shambles I think that prospect is much more likely especially if Key continues separatist policies like the Maori Seats or if he fails to act on the Referendum.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. jackp (668 comments) says:

    Don Brash’s Orewa speech put National back on the political map. I applaud Rodney Hide for his stand on reserved seats for Maori. Things are going to get even more complicated because John Key is looking at signing the UN’s Declaration of Indiginous People. The laws are already divisive in favour of Maori. I have a terrible feeling about this whole thing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    freedom101 I do like your approach, so when the NZ assembly was first set up Maori should have been on the general roll with all others ?
    Would have been interesting with Maori being in the majority.

    Do ACT believe that socialism is wrong, why then are they in a coalition with a socialist party ?
    People will vote for ACT, hmm, I have my doubts, just mention he who is entitled and they will change their minds.
    It should be blindingly obvious that the average Nat voter is a screaming socialist who believes his kids should get a university education paid by the tax payer.
    Having said that, Key is doing a fine job leading the new Labour party :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    so..just barrelling on..eh..?

    with that 1% mandate..?

    and wasn’t getting rog (‘it’s my holiday..!..and you’ll pay for it!’) douglas back in ‘the team’..

    ..a real cracker of an idea..?

    ..eh..?

    he just continues to be such an asset..eh..?

    a real boost for the act-brand..eh..?

    and..d’yareckon rodney’s playing to his seat..?..epsom..?

    ‘cos they don’t take much to coloured folks..

    ..down epsom way..

    ..eh..?

    ..and they don’t want no uppity-maaari on ‘their’ council..

    ..eh..?

    so..anyway..

    rog..?..eh..?

    if he was the answer..

    what was the question again..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. freedom101 (462 comments) says:

    grumpoldhori 10.48am. A short history lesson. When the Maori seats were created the franchise was men only and only land owners. Maori land ownership was too complicated so to overcome this Maori seats were created. The truth, as always, is rather more complicated than the slogan!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    bruceh/jackp/Mr Nobody NZ/freedom101/Fale Andrew Lesa

    John Key has by his actions and words shown that he isn’t who we thought he was and what we want, isn’t his agenda.
    Thankfully whether the National caucus has any principle will be shown to us in this next week or so.

    If they don’t rescind the smacking law and squash racists seats for some then we all know that we have to deal to them properly next election.
    I already voted ACT for my party vote the last time, in protest at the anti Smacking Law National forced on us by John Key and National.

    Rodney and ACT stood their ground against everyone on the anti smacking law and now with the auckland superseats he is doing the same but in an ordered and honest way.

    Unlike Key.

    I think this next period will decide whether National gets another term alone or not.
    Personally I think you ALL should have voted ACT last time on principle and am sorry it has taken so long for it to start getting traction on this list.

    How many seats would 30-50% of the party vote would that give ACT does anyone know?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I gather John Key was less than helpful tonight on the news.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. jackp (668 comments) says:

    MikeNZ I did the same. I voted Act for my party vote because I could trust Rodney Hide and Heather Roy. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an act candidate in Hawkes Bay so my electorate went to the National candidate. I think the in the last election people were afraid that Labour might win again and didn’t want to split up the votes and gave them to National. The next election will be a different scenario. I would like to see more Act party in Parliament.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    MikeNZ I agree completely.

    I voted National at the last election (as I have in every election since turning 18) not in the belief that I was going to agree with everything they did but because I believed that they were the most capable party for ensuring New Zealand lived up to its potential. I no longer believe that and will never vote for National again.

    I have never belonged been a member of a political party before, but tonight I have joined Act. I have never actively participated in politics before but I will be asking what I can do to help and will be happy stuffing envelopes, knocking on peoples doors or doing what ever will remove votes away from National.

    Sorry National but you are no better than Labour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    I admit to voting Clark in after a couple of idiot years by National however the bright young things in Labour managed to revert Labour to a party of communists and union stooges to the detriment of the greater good of NZ.

    Politics has changed in NZ to a large degree and it looks like Labour are fulfilling a self imposed prophesy of becoming irrelevant.

    Happy days.

    nationals challenge is not to ‘do a Labour’ in term 3.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.