Maori Party candidates

May 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Maori Party has selected South Auckland “stalwart” Rangi McLean to replace Pita Sharples as its Tamaki Makaurau candidate in this year’s election.

It also chose educationalist and Susan Cullen as its candidate for Hauraki Waikato.

Party President Naida Glavish said Mr McClean was “a stalwart of South Auckland. He has lived in the heart of the electorate for over forty years and has held a number of governance roles in the electorate”.

“I have known Rangi for a long time. He is an outstanding candidate and is regarded as an authority on tikanga and Maori cultural matters” said Mrs Glavish.

It will be interesting to who gets the Labour nomination. Most people expect Labour will have a good chance of winning the seat, but you can’t take anything for granted.


Is the Maori Party calling Shane Jones racist?

March 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party have said:

The Maori Party say a cultural impact assessment clause in Auckland’s Draft Unitary Plan is a good idea, and that people focusing on race and cost are missing the big picture.

Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-leader says “the provision in the plan to seek a cultural impact assessment from mana whenua on certain sites tagged for development is a good thing. It’s good because Maori have knowledge, history and a unique cultural perspective that can and will add value to our resource management decisions.”

“We are, however, shocked and disappointed with some of the reactions to the proposal. It tells us that our Maori culture, our knowledge, and our history are still treated as second class here in Aotearoa.”

Shane Jones is opposed. Does this mean they are saying Shane Jones is treating Maori as second class citizens? Surely not.

I’m with Shane on this one. But am still waiting to hear if even a single other Labour MP agrees with Shane.

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McKenzie wins Te Tai Hauauru selection

December 8th, 2013 at 12:49 pm by David Farrar

Radio NZ report:

At a hui in Whanganui the party selected Ngati Raukawa treaty negotiator Chris McKenzie to contest the seat held by co-leader Tariana Turia who retires next year. Mr McKenzie has worked in Mrs Turia’s office.

McKenzie has been working for Turia as her senior advisor. Prior to that he was managing director of Raukawa Management Services and lead negotiator for the Raukawa Trust Board. he was originally a teacher, but moved into business and has just completed an MBA.

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Te Tai Hauauru candidates

November 26th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Six candidates have put their hands up to replace Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia at the next election.

The Te Tai Hauauru seat which covers the western parts of the North Island has been held by Turia since 2002, but with her impending retirement, the party is looking for her replacement.

The nominees are Frana Chase, Rahui Katene, James Makowharemahihi, Christopher McKenzie, Amokura Panoho and Pakake Winiata.

Maori Party vice-president Ken Mair said hundreds of party members turned out at the Whangaehu Marae in Whanganui yesterday to hear the six nominees speak and to vote for their preferred candidate.

“We have an extremely talented line up of nominees and it is great to see so many smart, spirited and passionate people put their hand up,” he said.

I would have thought a female candidate is more likely as they also need a new female co-leader.  But of course the co-leader doesn’t have to be in Parliament.

Chase has worked a range of social sector roles such as health, justice and education and is a trustee of various Maori groups. She has seven kids.

Katene is the former MP for Te Tai Tonga.

Makowharemahihi is a JP and has been involved in the Te Kohanga Reo movement> He is a business owner and has held several board roles. Previously a social worker and policy analyst.

McKenzie works for Turia as a Senior Ministerial Advisor. A former treaty claim negotiator.

Panoho specialises in economic development and chairs NZ Maori Tourism. She sued Trevor Mallard and John Tamihere for defamation in 2004 which led to them corecting statements they made about her.

Winiata is the academic head of Te Wananga O Raukawa.

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Where to for ACT

October 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Does ACT have a future after its leader was committed to trial over his 2010 Mayoral election return?

Well firstly it depends on the outcome of the court case. If he loses, and is convicted, then his seat in Parliament is automatically vacated. That means a by-election in Epsom, and unless ACT stood an incredibly popular candidate (such as Cameron Brewer) then they would not win the by-election and be out of Parliament. I think that would be the end of the party, which would dissolve. That may create an opportunity for a new party in time, but probably not until 2017 at the earliest.

The fact the Solictor-General is looking at taking over the prosecution is somewhat ominous.

If Banks wins, then he remains in Parliament, and becomes a Minister again. However that does not mean plain sailing.

Banks defence is basically that he signed a legal declaration of his election expenses and donations, but didn’t read it. That may mean he legally didn’t willfully break the law, but it’s an awful look.  If his non-reading had occurred as a parliamentary candidate, that would be fatal. He is slightly saved by the fact that when he signed the return he though his political career was over. But regardless of timing, it looks bad. As I said previously, it is bad to be personally involved in receiving two donations and then sign a return saying he doesn’t know who his donors were. It may be legal (as Len’s trusts were), but is the public concerned just about legality?

Even if Banks wins, it is hard to see him winning Epsom again. Having said that ACT have won it three elections in a row, when almost no one thought they would or could.

If there is a by-election, then I would expect National to win it easily. Epsom voters are not going to vote for giving the Maori Party the balance of power or worse a Labour-Greens Government. Paul Goldsmith would become the MP for Epsom and Jo Hayes would become a List MP.

So I don’t see big issues for the Government before the general election, except for a possible distracting by-election campaign.

The bigger challenge is the next general election. National has five potential coalition partners, and none of them are ideal – and probably more than one of them will be needed. The five potential partners are:

  1. ACT – very reliable in a voting sense and pushes National into areas most of its supporters want. But not likely to be back.
  2. United Future – also a reliable and stable partner, even though more inclined to vote independently on non-core issues. But will Dunne stand again, and would he win?
  3. Maori Party. They will be back with at least one seat, probably two. A third is possible – a list seat if they get over 2% party vote. However they have never had to choose between a National and Labour led Government. They could well choose to go with Labour. And if they do choose National, their policy demands could be unpopular.
  4. Conservatives. It is hard to see them making 5% but they could well make 2.8% and get four seats if they win an electorate. If a new Auckland seat is in an area where they have some strong support, then the lak of an incumbent National MP could see centre-right tactical voting to get them in. The downside is that if this looks likely it might scare some socially liberal voters to Labour. Against that, most of the core issues for the Conservatives are conscience issues and not something likely to be part of any coalition agreement (except maybe to agree to no further law changes in certain areas). I can’t see any possibility of repealing same sex marriage, prostitution, abortion laws etc. Maybe the anti-smacking law could go as a policy victory for them?
  5. NZ First. Winston hates John Key and wants utu on him, The jury is out on whether the bigger utu is to sack John Key or make him subservient to him. Either option is rather unpleasant to contemplate. But you can’t rule out a deal if a National-NZ First majority is possible and a centre-left Government is only possible if the Greens are part of it.

So National does have options if ACT goes, but they are not great options. But politics is the art of the possible!

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Flavell elected co-leader

July 13th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Te Ururoa Flavell has been elected co-leader of the Maori Party, replacing long time leader Pita Sharples.

No-one voted against Flavell in a vote at the Maori Party’s annual conference in Whakatane today.

An MP for Waiariki since 2005, Flavell was the only person nominiated in the vote, which took place at the annual conference in Whakatane today.

An emotional Flavell fought back tears as he thanked about 300 party members for electing him.

“I want you to know that i am up for this…I will give it my all.”

Flavell had been engaged in a long running powers struggle with Sharples, who announced earlier this month that he would stand down as party co-leader at this weekend’s conference.

Naida Glavish has also been elected president of the party, replacing Pem Bird, who announced recently that he would not stand for re-election.

An advisor to the Auckland and Waitemata district health boards and the New Zealand Police, she is a former commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. She is chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua.

Glavish earned fame as the “kia ora lady” when in 1984 working as a phone operator at New Zealand Post she was demoted for answering the phone with the now widely used phrase. After controvercy she was returned to the role and allowed to continue to answer the phone with kia ora.

Congrats to Flavell and Glavish. Now the leadership issue has been settled, they have a foundation they can build on. Their party vote support remains at three times the level of Mana. I don’t think there is any prospect they won’t be back in after the next election. The question is how many seats will they have. They could even gain a list seat if they lose an electorate seat.

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Sharples stands down

July 2nd, 2013 at 8:49 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Sharples is poised to stand down today as party leader though he will remain an MP until the next election.

The Maori Party confirmed last night Sharples would be holding a press conference this morning to announce his decision about the leadership, but would not say more.

Sharples has been under pressure for months to stand down after co-leader Tariana Turia made it clear she considered it was time for a change.

He reportedly plans to remain an MP until the next election and to retain his ministerial portfolios.

Key this morning said he was “totally comfortable” with Sharples remaining a minister, though he was waiting to hear from the Maori Party about what decisions they had made.

This is the right decision (if reported correctly) for the Maori Party, as it solves the leadership issue – at least for the male co-leader. Ikaroa-Rawhiti showed voters will not support a party with uncertain leadership.

As Sharples is retiring from Parliament also, his seat of Tamaki Makarau will become more vulnerable to Labour at the election. However Flavell becoming co-leader will help secure his seat and I expect Turia’s sucessor to retain her seat – at least in 2014 anyway.

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The Maori Party leadership hui

April 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party held a hui on the 17th of March, in Huntly, to try to resolve the leadership issue between Sharples and Flavell.

It was chaired by Tuku Morgan, who declared that there was no consensus for change. What has not been reported is that there was overwhelming support for Flavell to succeed Sharples as co-leader, but after the seven electorates voted, Tuku closed the meeting and declared that anything other than unanimity did not represent consensus.

I’ve been informed by someone credible who was at the Hui, that five of the seven Maori electorates voted that Flavell should succeed Sharples at some stage before the election.

Flavell won the votes of Hauraki-Waikato, Te Tai Hauāuru, Te Tai Tokerau, Te Tai Tonga and Waiariki.

Sharples was supported by Ikaroa-Rāwhiti (his whakapapa) and Tāmaki Makaurau only.

Many of those in attendance were flabbergasted that the moment the vote was declared, Tuku closed the meeting unilaterally declaring there was no consensus. If the Hui had been allowed to discuss the ramifications of the 5-2 vote, it is possible a compromise or succession plan could have been agreed upon.

Sharples’ latest attack on Flavell from China (to do so while part of a trade mission has some journalists saying it is a very bad look), accusing him of blackmail has dismayed many who know that there is a limited window of time for the Maori Party to work out a compromise, or risk losing some of their seats at the election.

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Maori Party leadership stand off resolved

April 1st, 2013 at 8:06 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party have announced:

New co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell, has announced a solution has been implemented to the leadership and succession challenge that the Maori Party have been facing.

Upon reflection we have all agreed that with Tariana retiring at the 2014 election, it will not benefit the Maori Party to have both co-leaders retire at or before the next election. Therefore it has been decided that Pita will remain co-leader for the foreseeable, future and will remain a Minister while the Maori Party is in Government.

Maori Party President Pem Bird has thanked Pita Sharples for his agreement to remain one of the helmsmen of the Maori Party waka, and also thanked Tariana Turia for her service to the party.

Tariana has agreed for her retirement to take effect immediately as a co-leader, and the National Council has resolved to elect Te Uroroa Flavell as her successor  This means that we will have clear leadership going into the 2014 election with Pita Sharples and Te Uroroa Flavell as co-leaders. Tariana will remain a Minister up until the election, and it is our expectation that Te Ururoa will become a Minister after the election if the Maori Party is in Government again.




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Sharples on staying on

March 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has come out of his corner fighting in the leadership contest with MP Te Ururoa Flavell, saying that although he knows the standoff could damage the party he will not stand aside or give a future date for his retirement, because he believed staying on was critical for the party to survive.

I think Sharples motives are good, and he is right that if he retired as an MP it would be bad for the Maori Party. He will be 73 at the election, and probably wouldn’t mind a quieter life.

But the issue is whether he has to remain as co-leader to still help the Maori Party retain support. I would have thought there is some sort of elegant solution where he becomes the “Kaumata”, is pledged to remain a Minister but you make Flavell co-leader to clearly signal there is a succession plan.

“I believe I’m the best person to lead us into the next election. We’ve had so much disruption with Hone going, and people saying there should only be one Maori party, and now Tariana is leaving.

“So it is important someone who has the connections, who is known throughout the country and has given all my heart and integrity is there to try to rally them back to the party.” He said he was not angry at Mr Flavell for challenging, but wished he had waited a while longer.

However, Dr Sharples is also refusing to commit to standing down at a future date after 2014 even if that would convince Mr Flavell to stay his challenge, saying that might weaken his leadership impact.

If there had been some clear indication of dates, then I imagine Flavell would not have been so public with his desires.

Dr Sharples also said he regretted saying he hoped to lead the party until the day he died – a comment he said was intended to be light-hearted but which drew criticisms, including from NZ First leader Winston Peters, by people comparing it with a dictatorship. He hoped Mr Flavell would stay on if the party elected to stay with Dr Sharples.

“I would love him to stay with me, so we could work together. He’s an awesome worker. But the leadership is a particular kind of thing at this stage, and I think I can reach out to a whole lot of sources that need to come back.

It will be interesting to see if they manage to find a solution to this.

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Maori Party leadership

March 20th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

The Maori Party is considering three leaders after a failed leadership bid by party whip Te Ururoa Flavell.

Co-leader Tariana Turia has described it as akin to having no leader at all. …

Professor Winiata’s suggestion was that the co-leader model be scrapped and each of the party’s three MPs be given responsibilities.

It would likely see Dr Sharples taking over within Parliament, Mr Flavell with the party’s grassroots and Mrs Turia sticking with Whanau Ora. Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia would retain their ministerial portfolios.

The best tweet on this idea came from Marcus Cook:

Breaking; Maori Party to trial having no leader. Cites Labour Party as example


Dr Sharples has repeatedly refused to step aside. “The bottom line is I’m prepared to lead us until I’m dead; I mean forever,” he said yesterday.

Not a useful statement. The best leaders are those who aim to achieve a few things during their time at the top, and help train up and mentor their successors.

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Youth United

March 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Parliamentary youth reps unanimously back marriage equality

 In an unprecedented joint initiative youth reps from all eight parties in Parliament have combined together to demonstrate the overwhelming support amongst young New Zealanders for same sex couples to be able to marry.

Young Nats Vice President Shaun Wallis said that Young Nats were delighted the majority of National MPs voted in favour of marriage equality at first reading and hope they will continue to do at the second reading this week “Our members overwhelmingly supports marriage equality as we believe in freedom and equal opportunity for all Kiwis.”

Young Labour spokesperson Sam Thompson said that marriage equality and adoption reform are the number one policy priority for Young Labour. “We believe our representatives in Wellington really value equality and a fair go and will continue to support expanding the right to marry to everyone who has a partner they love and want to spend their life with.”

Young Greens spokesperson Izzy Lomax said that the Young Greens were delighted that all 14 Green MPs voted in favour of marriage equality as we believe in a society without discrimination, and look forward to an end to all discrimination against rainbow communities, starting with allowing loving same sex couples to marry”.

“NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson said that NZ First Youth is united in supporting a referendum on this issue. While there is a large and vocal proportion of NZ First Youth who would vote in favour, it is by no means unanimous. We feel that the important thing is for progressive changes in legislation to come with the direct backing and support of the people – not filtered through layers of temporarily empowered politicians and political parties. A referendum is the fairest, most inclusive and democratic method of achieving this. It is our hope that MPs of other parties will realize this and join our call for a referendum.”

Maori Party kaikorero rangatahi Teaonui Mckenzie said that he is proud that all three Maori Party MPs support the right of same sex couples to marry and form a whanau. “This generation will not tolerate any form of discrimination, whether by race, gender or sexual orientation.”

MANA Rangatahi spokesperson Ian Anderson says that “MANA are fully behind the Bill and will work to reduce societal inequality wherever possible, in this case bringing New Zealand law into line to provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to enter marriage.”

Act on Campus President Taylor Warwood said that “Act on Campus have been long-time supporters of marriage equality, and were delighted that ACT MP John Banks voted for Louisa Wall’s bill at its first reading and believe its passage will be entirely consistent with ACT policy of one law for all.”

United Future spokesman Damian Light said that “allowing couples who love each other to marry is just common sense and we’re proud that Hon Peter Dunne, our Party Leader, has been a vocal supporter of this bill. Our support of this bill is consistent with our liberal belief in equality for all.”

“This show of support for marriage equality by every party’s youth wing sends a powerful message. Marriage equality is no longer a question of if, but of when. We can’t wait for Parliament to vote in favour of the Bill.” said Campaign for Marriage Equality Spokesperson Conrad Reyners.

The eight youth reps, representing youth members of parties comprising 120 of the 121 MPs in Parliament believe their combined show of support reflects the over-whelming support for marriage equality amongst younger New Zealanders (76% in favour in Colmar Brunton May 2012 poll).


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The latest poll of Maori voters

February 4th, 2013 at 4:24 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged at Curiablog the results of the latest Te Karere Digipoll.

I read a column over the weekend about how the Maori Party was basically dead and they should accept Hone Harawira’s generous offer to let him become leader and merge with the Mana Party. With that in mind it is worth looking at what the results for each party.


33.5% party vote, with party vote on the Maori roll up 3.5% (from last poll in January 2012) and on the general roll (of Maori voters) down 13.1%.

On the electorate vote, Labour are 8.9% below what they got in the 2011 election.

Maori Party

27.5% party vote, with party vote on the Maori roll up 2.7% (from last poll in January 2012) and on the general roll (of Maori voters) up 7.7%.

On the electorate vote, Maori Party are 4.8% above what they got in the 2011 election.

Mana Party

5.7% party vote, with party vote on the Maori roll down 5.3% (from last poll in January 2012) and on the general roll (of Maori voters) up 0.2%.

On the electorate vote, Maori Party are 1.2% below what they got in the 2011 election.

David Shearer

They asked those Maori voters who said they would party vote Labour if they could name the Labour Party Leader. Only 34.7% could name David Shearer as Leader.

Of the 34.7% who could name him, they asked if they thought he was providing good leadership on Maori issues. Only 28.0% agreed.


Labour has gained some support on the party vote from Maori on the Maori roll, but on the electorate vote they are polling well below what they got even in 2011. Also they have had a drop off in support from Maori on the general roll.

The Maori Party has increased party vote support with Maori on both the general and Maori rolls, and are polling higher in the electorate vote than they got in 2011.

The Mana Party has almost halved its party vote support from Maori on the Maori roll, and has also dropped in electorate vote support from 2011.

Two elements of caution. Maori voters tend to be harder to poll than non-Maori, so there is a greater chance of sampling errors which can impact accuracy. Also tensions around the Maori Party leadership occurred during the polling period and may not be fully reflected.

However even with those cautionary notes, I would say that those writing off the Maori Party are incredibly premature.  The poll shows they have retained and grown support, while Labour and Mana have stagnated or dropped.

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Over-stating the case

January 25th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Shearer is attempting to capitalise on the Maori Party’s apparent demise by extending his visit to Ratana.

Whoa. There is no way that should be asserted as fact in a news story. You can and should refer to leadership tensions, infighting etc. But to label a mere leadership challenge is the apparent demise of a party is not appropriate for a news report. It would be okay in an opinion piece speculating on what the struggle may do to the Maori Party.

All parties have leadership challenges, except those which are personality cults. You don’t label a party as having apparently demised, just because of one.

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It was always about leadership

January 24th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

Mr Harawira said he had been approached by Maori Party members around the country who were keen for him to take over.

“Clearly they’re in dire straits right now, their membership has just dropped through the floor.”

Mr Harawira quit the Maori Party ahead of the 2011 election following perpetual infighting.

There would be ground rules to the proposed merger – Mr Harawira wants be the leader and the Maori Party would have to end its relationship with National.

At the time Hone left the Maori Party, I said it was more about the fact he wanted to be the Leader, than anything else. I think this confirms it.

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The future Maori Party leaders

January 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia’s successor may be identified at the annual Ratana Church celebrations this month.

MP Te Ururoa Flavell says he will be “comfortable” taking over the leadership after Turia announced in December that she would stand down at the 2014 election to spend more time with family, including the granddaughter she and husband, George, raise.

Her announcement leaves the party at a crossroads as it struggles to retain support.

Press secretary Kaapua Smith-Purkis and former MP Rahui Katene have been touted as potential leadership replacements, but neither has strong links to Turia’s Te Tai Hauauru electorate.

It will be interesting is those two are the candidates, as Smith-Purkis blogged in late 2011:

The Maori Party have been reduced by one, losing a fierce and staunch representative in Te Tai Tonga – Rahui Katene. As a perpetual student of politics, I see her as one of the most hard working MP’s in parliament, and arguably the best representative that Te Tai Tonga has had in my generation.

The other issue of interest is how they transition from Sharples to Flavell.

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Turia says Sharples should stand aside for Flavell

December 21st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

This is a very significant story. Claire Trevett reports:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has called on her fellow co-leader, Pita Sharples, to step down and hand over the reins to MP Te Ururoa Flavell, despite Dr Sharples’ plans to stand again in 2014.

And Mr Flavell is considering not standing again in 2014 if Dr Sharples does not give up the leadership, saying he is not sure whether he wants to wait around until 2017.

I think the writing is on the wall. Of course Sharples will be 73 at the next election.

Mrs Turia will stay on as a minister but is open to handing over the co-leadership earlier. This week she told Waatea News Dr Sharples should follow suit to make way for Mr Flavell – the natural successor for the leadership, who had been expected to take over by 2014 until Dr Sharples decided to stay on.

“The leadership role is not about being a minister,” Mrs Turia said. “Being the leader of a political movement is something quite different. There is absolutely nothing stopping Pita from continuing to be the minister.”

Here’s what I would do if I was the Maori Party.

  1. Have Flavell take over as co-leader from Sharples at some stage before the election
  2. Have Sharples continue as a Minister
  3. Line up the desired new co-leader to replace Turia to stand in Te Tai Hauauru.
  4. After the 2014 election, if Maori Party in position to be Ministers have Sharples and Flavell as Ministers.
  5. Have new female co-leader focus on party leadership, rather than being a Minister
  6. Line someone up to succeed Sharples in Tamaki Makauru in 2017.
  7. Have Sharples stand down as a Minister in 2016, allowing female co-leader to step up as a Minister

I regard Flavell as a smart parliamentary operator, and think he would be a very competent Minister.

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Turia to retire

December 14th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she will step down at the next election.

Turia, who has signalled her intention to retire previously before changing her mind, said she would have spent 18 years in Parliament by the time she leaves in 2014.

The Maori Party said Turia had signalled her intention to leave early so it could prepare for her departure and put a succession plan in place.

“I have given it serious thought and have made the decision with my family not to seek re-election in 2014,” Turia said.

Her co-leader Pita Sharples said it would be a “huge change to lose my mate”.

Turia would not give up her roles as minister and co-leader in the interim.

Tariana is 68, so this is no surprise. She has had a remarkable transformation from the scary radical activist who helped occupy Moutoa Gardens, to an effective Minister of the Crown.

This poses three challenges for the Maori Party.

  1. They need to elect a female co-leader and get her into Parliament
  2. They need to ensure they have politically agile parliamentary leadership. Everyone loves Pita Sharples, but it is known that Tariana is the one who makes things happen. This probably puts some pressure on Flavell to become male co-leader at some stage. However changing both co-leaders at the same time is also a risk.
  3. They need to retain Te Tai Hauauru

I think Turia’s endorsement should be enough for them to retain Te Tai Hauauru in 2014, if they select a competent enough candidate. However by 2017 they’ll need to be able to retain it on their own.

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No Speaker Tau

December 8th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald writes:

National MP Tau Henare has indicated he has given up on the race to be the next Speaker, claiming the “scaredy cats” Maori Party had broken a promise to support his bid.

Mr Henare announced he intended to run for the Speaker’s position on Twitter in September – and yesterday he again turned to Twitter to send a signal he was about to end his campaign.

Their support was key. If all the opposition parties and the Maori Party vote together, then they have 60 votes. If Tau voted for himself he could have become Speaker by 61 votes to 60.

His tactics were bold and somewhat unprecedented. I doubt there ever has been a Speaker elected who didn’t receive a single vote from any of their party colleagues. It would have been a huge defeat for National to have a Speaker elected whom they did not support.

Not that I personally have any issues with Tau as Speaker. He’s funny and feisty and would throw Trevor and Winston out a lot – which has to be a plus.

However, Mr Henare was optimistic and had lobbied hard until yesterday when he tweeted that the Maori Party had now reneged on an undertaking to support him, which he said was critical to his decision to run in the first place.

“All I can say is maybe someone should start another Maori Party, maybe one that doesn’t renege on deals. Scaredy cats,” he tweeted.

He said he had that agreement in writing “and they still turned tail”.

I imagine they received some indication of how (un)successful their 2013 budget bids would be, if they voted for Tau.

Actually I don’t know what happened, but the reality in politics is government survive on trust and co-operation. The Maori Party probably worked out that humiliating the Government by electing a Speaker not supported by the Government (as far as I know no modern Speaker has ever been elected against the will of the Government) would seriously damage their relationships with Ministers and the Prime Minister.

The Maori Party co-leaders could not be contacted last night. Their support is unlikely to have been enough to get Mr Henare the job even with Labour’s support. The Speaker is voted on by Parliament and it is understood Henare was trying to persuade some of National’s caucus that they did not need to vote along party lines to try to make up the numbers he needed.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard said Labour had not yet decided who it would support for Speaker. Asked whether he had given any undertaking to Mr Henare, he said “I told him if we made a difference to the numbers, I’d take it to caucus”.

That would have been a fascinating discussion.

On Twitter, Mr Mallard had another job suggestion for Mr Henare, observing Mr Henare’s old job was up for grabs again – as deputy leader of NZ First.

Heh. They can hardly pick someone worse than the former deputy – Peter Brown!

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No Right Turn on Maori Party

July 19th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant blogs at NRT:

The Māori Party finally met with John Key last night to discuss his stupidity over water rights, and walked away with an assurance that the government will not legislate to overturn any court decision. In some quarters, this is being portrayed as another sell-out. It’s not. Instead, its a pretty useful victory, which resolves one of the primary fears around the Tribunal / court process: that the government will ignore the outcome, and simply confiscate the water on terms favourable to itself and its cronies if they don’t like how things are going. Now, if they keep their word, they won’t be able to do that, and will have to negotiate like a proper Treaty partner should. And that I think is exactly what the Māori Party is there to do.

While I don’t think National would ever have been stupid enough to repeat Labour’s folly of overturning court upheld property rights by legislation, it is indeed a useful thing for the Maori Party to have had it explicitly ruled out.

It doesn’t mean that the Government has to follow the recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal. It does mean though if an actual court makes a finding about property rights in water, then the Government won’t confiscate those property rights legislatively.

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Will the Maori Party co-leaders stay on?

June 11th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young in the NZ Herald reports:

Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have revealed they are reconsidering retiring from politics next election – just as a new poll shows them potentially holding the balance of power.

Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples had indicated that the 2011 election would be their last.

But they are reconsidering after being asked repeatedly by supporters, a party official said.

Mrs Turia, 68, confirmed that last night on Prime News.

“It may well be that we stand at the next election but … we are still working those issues through,” she said.

And Dr Sharples, 70, also confirmed a rethink. “I’m giving that real consideration,” he told the channel from China, where he is leading a Maori business delegation.

I won’t be surprised if they do stay on, as retirements in 2017 would make it more likely the Maori Party continues as a semi-significant force.

It is worth noting there wil be new boundaries in 2014, with at least eight Maori seats. That may provide an opportunity for them to get a new female MP into Parliament, so she can replace Turia as female co-leader.

Flavell is up to taking over from Sharples as male co-leader, but the worry for the Maori Party may be more that they would lose Sharples’ seat if he stands down.


Maori Party candidate charged with helping murderer

April 16th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Ian Steward at Stuff reports:

Auckland lawyer and Maori Party political candidate Davina Murray has been charged with illegally smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid, who she believes is innocent.

Murray lost her name suppression today after she and her lawyer Barry Hart had battled for months to keep her name secret.

Murray was charged with delivering an iPhone 4, a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and a Bic lighter to Reid at Mount Eden prison on October 7 last year – two months after a smoking ban was introduced.  

She had a new charge laid earlier this month of “holding a communication with him that might prejudice the safe custody of a prisoner” – in essence, passing on inappropriate information.

Reid is serving one of New Zealand’s heaviest sentences for the 2007 rape and murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew and the rape and attempted murder of another woman in Dunedin soon after.

He was originally sentenced to preventive detention with a 26-year minimum period, but that was later reduced to 23 years on appeal.

Murray is understood to have visited Reid frequently and had communications with him at Mt Eden prison.

It is alleged that Reid was searched before one of their visits and had nothing on him, but after the visit he was found to have an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter.

Murray stood for the Maori Party as a list candidate in the 2011 election.

She is a criminal barrister in the chambers of Hart, a prominent defence lawyer.

Hart had argued Murray should keep her name suppression as her reputation would be irreparably damaged and she and her family might suffer adverse consequences from being named.

Yes the reputation is damaged – if she is found guilty. And if she is guilty, her reputation should be damaged.

Liam Reid is not a good person. Even putting aside the rape and murder of Emma Agnew and the Dunedin rape, he had 61 previous convictions before that.  If she is found guilty, the Maori Party should dump her as a candidate.

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My Friday Herald column

February 5th, 2012 at 9:13 am by David Farrar

There was a glitch in publishing my normal Friday column in the Herald on Friday, but for those interested it is up now. I note:

If National had received around 5,000 fewer party votes, or if National voters in Epsom and Ohariu had failed to vote for the ACT and United Future candidates respectively, then the conflict over treaty clauses in SOEs would be critical. …

Parliament resumes next week, so should have no shortage of things to write about then.

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Small on Maori Party stand off

February 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

An insightful column by Vernon Small:

    Which brings us back to the current stand-off.

    Yes, it’s about asset sales, the Treaty and the Government’s poor timing in the week leading up to Waitangi Day.

    But it is also, and mainly, about the Maori Party’s positioning.

    Goaded by Mr Harawira, and needing to deny it is National’s poodle, the party has come out swinging – and not for the first time in recent days. …

    Well, last year the Maori Party argued it needed to be at the table with National to be effective.

    But Labour, Mana, the Greens and NZ First feasted on its votes, despite its public stand over Auckland council seats and the foreshore law.

    Mr Key has shown the way forward in the current stoush; a clause that makes the Crown’s Treaty obligations clear while leaving private investors out of the mix.

    It remains to be seen whether the Maori Party will reluctantly claim that deal as a partial victory or continue to pound the table.

    However, the appearance of disunity is not necessarily instability – though it is no surprise Labour is talking that up.

    It will likely take a lot more goading from Mr Harawira before Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia finally push back their chairs and leave.

Things would be much more difficult if National had one fewer seat, and could not govern without the Maori Party. National should hope that its MPs in marginal seats are all in good health!

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Now 64 – 57

December 11th, 2011 at 4:46 pm by David Farrar

National and the Maori Party have just announced their confidence and supply agreement, which means the Government can now win such votes 64 – 57. It might not even be that close as Peters suggested he might initially back the largest party on confidence and supply or at least abstain. Personally I think that commitment holds about as much value as a peso, but the initial votes could be 64 – 49 or even 72 – 49.

The key aspects of the agreement are:

  • Maori Party will vote for confidence and supply
  • Maori Party do not have to vote for the legislation outlined in National’s Post-Election Action Plan (unlike ACT and United Future)
  • Whanua Ora to be given a specific appropriation and a stand-alone commissioning agency to be established
  • A Ministerial Committee on Poverty to focus on alleviation of poverty. Chaired by Bill English with Turia as Deputy Chair.
  • Double funding for rheumatic fever prevention to $24m
  • Target 20,000 low income homes for home insulation
  • All state houses to be insulated, where possible
  • Aim to lift Maori educational and employment outcomes
  • Agree to offset pre-1990 forests
  • Continue with constitutional review to report by Sep 2013, and status of Maori seats remains unchanged for now (no abolition or entrenchment)
  • Refocus TPK on improving outcomes for Maori in education, housing and employment
  • Conclude decision making on spectrum by May 2012
  • National to support to select committee members bills to reduce gambling harm and a Maori cultural heritage bill
  • Partial asset sales legislation not to be part of a confidence or supply motion
  • Sharples Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Education and Corrections
  • Turia Minister for Whanua Ora and Disability Issues, Associate Health, Housing, Social Development

Doesn’t appear to be anything there with a huge price tag, which is good as the top priority has to be reducing the deficit, not increasing it. But there is plenty there to keep Ministers busy, and the constitutional review especially could be huge.

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