Chris Trotter blogs:
For a while there it looked as though the Mana Party just might turn into something worthwhile – a second chance for all those who were dismayed to see the Alliance crash and burn over Afghanistan back in 2001-2002.But, no. Mana’s announcement that Kereama Pene, a minister of the Ratana Church, is to contest the Tamaki Makaurau seat has put an end to all that.Mr Pene is a flamboyant character who has, at one time or another, been a supporter of the Mana Motuhake, Labour, Destiny and Maori parties. He is also on record as saying the Prime Minister, John Key, is “ a person who should be admired”.Not content with singing the Prime Minister’s praises, Mr Pene has also publicly declared that: “National is actually the group that have done most of the great things for Maoridom over the past 20 years.” Identifying (erroneously) the Treaty Settlements Process, the Waitangi Tribunal and the Kohanga Reo Movement as National Party achievements, Mana’s Tamaki Makaurau candidate told the NZ Herald: “You’ve got to give praise where its due.”These statements show Mr Pene to be, at best, a dangerously naive political novice, or, at worst, a ticking time-bomb, guaranteed to explode at the worst possible moment. His remarks have deeply compromised the Mana Party at a time when political journalists are already discussing its lack of momentum, and its failure to capitalise on Leader Hone Harawira’s success in retaining the Te Tai Tokerau seat. …Too late now. Mr Pene’s selection is proof positive that not only is Mana’s talent pool woefully shallow – so, too, is its political judgement.