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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Maori Party leadership

December 3rd, 2011 at 8:53 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Internal power struggles are plaguing the Maori Party as it tries to finalise a coalition deal with National.

Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell is likely to take over the co-leadership from Pita Sharples in a special meeting in two weeks.

Having Flavell take over sooner rather than later makes sense as he will need time to build up profile.

What I find interesting is that Stuff has characterised this as an “internal power struggle” yet provided nothing to back up this assertion. My reading of the situation is that this is being done with the support of all Maori Party MPs, but I could be wrong. However nothing in the Stuff article talks about this being a hostile move against Sharples, so my suspicion is the opening sentence is sensationalism. If it is not, then it would be good to have more details.


Maori Party

November 29th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

MPs in


MPs out

Rahui Katene (Te Tai Tonga)



Losing Te Tai Tonga is a blow. Not only does it mean they now only represent a minority of the Maori seats, it also means that they do not hold the balance of power if National loses a seat on specials. Their ability to get policy gains is diminished.

On the plus side, they held off strong challenges from Labour’s Shane Jones in Tamaki Makaurau and Mana’s Annette Sykes in Waiariki. Losing either of those seats would have been fatal.


The immediate challenge is policy gains from National. As National can govern without them, these will be limited. Most of the “easy” gains were got last time.

The next challenge will be identifying successor to Sharples and Turia. Flavell will become a co-leader, but they will need a candidate who can retain Tamaki Makaurau also.

There is now a three way contest in each of the Maori seats with Labour, Maori and Mana. Their dreams of holding all seven Maori seats will never occur. It is difficult to see how they can increase their number of seats in the future unless there is some rapprochement with Mana.

The constitutional review is the big wild card. If they can get something substantial from that, such as Iwi observer rights on all local authorities, then that could give their supporters something to campaign on.


Marae Investigates – Marae Digipoll 2 October 2011

September 30th, 2011 at 12:14 am by Kokila Patel


10-11am this Sunday, 2nd October on TV

What impact has the arrival of the Mana Party had on Maori voters?

That’s one of the questions raised in a new Digipoll to be released on TV ONE’s Marae Investigates this Sunday.

With the General Election eight weeks away, the results provide a fascinating insight into how support for the Maori and Labour parties has been affected by the Mana Party.

Marae Investigates also has an exclusive interview with the whanau of Maori Wallaby, Quade Cooper.
Quade’s Brisbane based mum, Ruhia Jones gives a candid view of her son’s rise to fame and her unconditional support for him in the face of Kiwi animosity.

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The difference between Maori and Mana parties

July 11th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Yvette pointed this out:

Sharples or Brash “You once again bring the Maori people’s aspirations into contempt and ridicule. Your views are not only inaccurate and ill-founded, but are totally out of tune with middle New Zealand’s ideals and aspirations for our country.”

Harawira on Brash “Your attempts to boost Act in the polls by riding on the xenophobic fears of Joe Bloggs in the street will not work this time round.”

I thought that was a great contrast. The Maori Party believe the “average” New Zealander shares their aspirations for Maori, while the Mana Party believes the average New Zealander is racist.

I think that difference in world view goes to the heart of why Hone left the Maori Party.

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No Maori-Mana deal

July 11th, 2011 at 9:03 am by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

The Maori Party has rejected a proposed deal by the newly-formed Mana Party not to stand against each other in the Maori electorates at this year’s general election. …

The issue was discussed by the Maori Party’s national council in Huntly at the weekend. It later issued a statement saying “no deal”.

President Pem Bird said there was a strong message from the party’s membership that it should remain loyal to the people of Tai Tokerau by continuing to build its presence in the electorate.

“We had a large contingent from Te Tai Tokerau with us at the hui… Our brothers and sisters of Te Tai Tokerau led us to an emphatic conclusion that we would not sacrifice their seat for what might be seen as political opportunism and expediency.

“Basically the message we received loud and clear, was no deal.”

A principled but naive decision. Labour’s chances of winning Te Tai Tonga and Tamaki Makauru off the Maori Party have to be improved if the Mana Party stands in those seats.

There is a risk that the Maori Party could be reduced to two seats after the election.

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Mana Maori?

July 1st, 2011 at 8:03 pm by David Farrar

In my Herald column I look at the Mana and Maori parties and conclude that the sensible thing for the Maori Party is to find a way to work with the Mana Party, as united they will be stronger than fighting each other.

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Maori Party candidates for Te Tai Tokerau

May 24th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Yvonne Tahana writes in the Herald:

The Maori Party candidate for the Te Tai Tokerau byelection will be selected today, with movie actor Waihoroi Shortland one of the leading prospects.

Mr Shortland, lawyer Mere Mangu and Whangarei Maori Party official Solomon Tipene will be interviewed at Waitangi today by a panel of eight. …

Mr Shortland, a charismatic and articulate former journalist known to many as “Wassie”, is a reo expert with connections to all of the major northern iwi. He starred in the movie Boy and has had a long career in Maori media.

Ms Mangu will provide strong competition. The leading voice for Tai Tokerau women, she comes with a significant degree of homegrown support and is known to stand and speak at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.

However, her past unsuccessful attempts for the seat in 2002 and 2005, when she fought hard but finished off the pace as an independent, could be an important factor those on the panel will weigh.

Mr Tipene has less of a profile and ranks as an outside chance.

The stronger the Maori Party candidate, the more chance there is Labour could come through the middle and win the seat – which in this rare case is desirable.

Mangu got 7% of the vote in 2005 as an Independent. That is very high for an Independent.

It will be interesting to see who they select.

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Hone wanted to be a Minister

February 21st, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett in the Herald reports:

The Government’s arch critic, Hone Harawira, wanted to become a minister when the Maori Party first went into coalition with National in 2008, according to a confidential statement by caucus colleague Te Ururoa Flavell.

In his submission to today’s disciplinary committee hearing against Mr Harawira, obtained by the Herald, Mr Flavell said both he and the Te Tai Tokerau MP were prepared to take up ministerial positions – belying Mr Harawira’s recent strong criticisms of his party for staying in the coalition.

“Put it this way: If he was to have received a ministerial position, would he still be writing to criticise the relationship? Answer: I doubt it.”

I’d say Flavell is right.

Mr Flavell was also scathing about Mr Harawira’s criticism of National as “anti-worker” and “anti-environment,” saying the MP had had difficulties with his own staff and once told the caucus he did not believe in climate change and nobody would tell him to drive a smaller car.

Hmmn, Hone as co-leader of a new left party is starting to look very interesting!

In the often-emotional submission, Mr Flavell said it was not easy laying a complaint against his friend of more than 40 years and it had taken a toll on his whanau, the party and the other MPs, who had suffered personal abuse.

However, Mr Harawira appeared to have a deliberate strategy to cast the other Maori Party MPs in a bad light.

He depicted the maverick MP as “talking himself up” and “big-noting” by constantly painting himself as the only true voice of Maoridom. “That strategy is aimed at putting the rest of us down.”

And this has been the problem. Hone has always had the freedom to attack National for politices he disagrees with. But when he slags off his own party and colleagues, it is no surprise they have a limit to how much they will put up with.

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Harawira suspended

February 7th, 2011 at 3:03 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Maverick MP Hone Harawira has been suspended from the Maori Party caucus.

In a statement today, Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia announced the suspension, saying that it was a result of Mr Harawira’s behaviour in the party for the past five years.

That is an interesting time-frame to refer to. It looks like it has been building for a long time, and has reached the near inevitable conclusion.

“We have always respected the right, and made provision for caucus colleagues to speak out on issues which their constituency presents. We do this, however, always guided by the principle of unity of purpose and direction (kotahitanga).”

No political movement could survive divided within itself, they said.

“We have made this decision with heavy hearts. We are especially mindful of the position of Maori Party supporters in Te Tai Tokerau, who will obviously feel loyal to Mr Harawira; but who are also supportive of our kaupapa Maori and the achievements of the Maori Party in Parliament.

“We want them to know that we have huge respect for the people of Te Tai Tokerau and our commitment to our people remains unwavering.”

The suspension would remain in force until further notice.

It will be interesting to see if Harawira now gives his proxy vote to the Opposition. It won’t affect things a lot as you need 62 votes to pass a law and Nat + ACT = 63 and NAT + Maori = 62 so National can still go either way – plus have Peter Dunne.

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The Flavell complaint

February 5th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

3 News has a copy of the Flavell complaint about Hone Harawira. Extracts:

Firstly, while it is totally acceptable that we as a caucus have different views about various matters within the Party or caucus, it is appropriate that these issues are discussed internally.

This is standard in all parties. Hone has done nothing but attack his own party and colleagues for several weeks – he can’t really expect there to be no consequences for that.

This statement is made by one of our members who actually shaped the Bill, contributed to the discussions, heard the debate, saw the briefing papers and had direct access to the Minister. When I questioned him myself about why he was against it, he raised issues which I suggested he should take to the Minister. He decided he would not, in fact he stated that he had no intention of seeking any answers. He went on to issue a statement about the short comings of the Bill some of the points of which were incorrect.   And to be quite frank, this Bill is our Bill – there is no question in my mind that unless we had negotiated as we did in our coalition agreement, that National would never have considered there to be any need to repeal the 2004 Act and develop an alternative legislative framework.

It is interesting that Harawira turned down opportunities to work within the system – he just does the easy option of mouthing off in public.

And Flavell is right that without the Maori Party asking for it, the Foreshore & Seabed Act would probably have not been reviewed or replaced.

I have lost trust and confidence in Hone to work as a part of our team and relationships have disintegrated to the disadvantage of our Party. For us to continue in this way is to see the situation worsen and have a huge impact on the long term future of our Party.

As Hone has shown not one ounce of compromise, I think it is inevitable he will be expelled – not because they want to, but because they have to. If he really wants to stay within the Maori Party, he has to gve them a reason to trust him.

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Will the Maori Party have peace in our time?

February 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Mike Watson at Stuff reports:

A hui to hear a complaint against Maverick Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has ended without resolution on his future with the party.

Mr Harawira and Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell walked out together but told reporters they hadn’t resolved all the issues that sparked the hui.

The fact they talked face to face is a good start, but I have my doubts that it will solve things.

Harawira said this afternoon he “absolutely” believed he could still work with Flavell and had no issues with co-leader Tariana Turia either.

He did not want to leave the Maori Party.

I think this supports the Gower theory that Hone is in fact trying to take over the Maori Party. Note that he did not say he had no issues with Pita Sharples.

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Maori Party schism looks likely

January 19th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

One News reports:

A collective from the Maori Party filed an official complaint against fellow Maori Party member Hone Harawira late last night.

Maori Party President, Pem Bird, says he received a complaint yesterday from Waiaraki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, supported by Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene, and Maori Party co-leaders Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia. …

Bird said the party is seeking an early meeting to try and resolve the issues raised by the complaint and an urgent hui will be held on Friday.

“We have invited Hone Harawira, Te Ururoa Flavell on behalf of the complainants, and the Chair of the Te Tai Tokerau Electorate Council to be present at the hui. It will be chaired by the Party’s co Vice President, Ken Mair. The hui will be private and confidential to enhance the chances of successfully resolving the issues in the complaint,” Bird said.

I’m not sure what Harawira’s game plan is. Sometimes it looks like he is trying to take over the Maori Party and mould it in his own image. Sometimes it looks like he is trying to engineer a split.

It is hard to see how he can be a candidate for the Maori Party at the next election, with his recent actions. If there is a schism, he will take a lot of activists with him.

What will be interesting is whether he stands as an Independent, tries to set up his own Maori Party or becomes the Leader of a hard left party which includes Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten. If he does the latter, then they will get representation in Parliament on the basis of Harawira retaining his seat which is likely. Not sure though that Hone would want to be seen to stand for a party which is not a Maori nationalistic party.

Overall this is pretty good news for the left. One danger however is that a Harawiara led hard left party could attract activists and voters from the Greens, and they can’t afford to drop under 5%.

Hat Tip: Whowuddathort

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Hone v Rodney

October 20th, 2010 at 8:39 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at the Herald reports:

Asked about the issue on his way into Parliament yesterday, Mr Harawira refused to answer any questions asked in English and spoke only in te reo before walking away.

He earlier told Radio Waatea that if the Government agreed to Act’s request then the Maori Party should walk away from the coalition.

“I don’t see why we should sit back and let a little fat redneck like Rodney Hide put in an amendment at the last minute.”

Two ironies here.

The first is that Rodney is fitter than Hone I would say, and would probably kick his arse in a swimming race.

The second is that I am pretty sure that Rodney doesn’t care what the skin colour is of any girls who want to date his son. So Hone calling someone else a redneck is ironic.

But as Michael Laws had to apologise for calling the GG fat, will Hone be made to apologise for his comments?

If the Maori Party does pull support, it could mean the current 2004 act would stay in place. Mr Key has previously said he would not make any changes if there was not a reasonable level of consensus and the Labour Party has not yet decided whether to support it further.

Would be rather embarrassing for the Maori Party if the status quo ends up remaining.

Mr Harawira has urged Maori to make submissions opposing the bill, saying it stops short of ownership for Maori and the threshold for customary title is too high, meaning most hapu would get nothing.

Most hapu will not get customary title indeed – because that is what the Court of Appeal found. The test was for uninterrupted exclusive use. The Court of Appeal never said the foreshore belongs to all Maori.

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More stupidity from Labour

October 20th, 2010 at 8:12 am by David Farrar

Labour has no realistic chance of forming a Government after 2011 election, unless it is with Maori Party support. The chances of Labour and Greens alone having more seats than National, Maori, United and ACT is remote. However with the Maori Party they have a fighting chance.

So what do they do. The Herald reports:

Labour MP Shane Jones will try to topple Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples in next year’s election by challenging for his Tamaki Makaurau seat.

Mr Jones has confirmed to the Herald he will seek the nomination to stand for Labour in the Maori electorate, which has been Dr Sharples’ stronghold since the Maori Party entered Parliament in 2005.

His challenge will end an apparent tacit agreement by Labour not to stand strong candidates against the two Maori Party co-leaders, who rely on their electorate seats rather than the party vote to be in Parliament.

It will at the least cause Dr Sharples some discomfort in the seat where half the voters gave their party vote to Labour last election.

Mr Jones has taken a no-holds-barred approach to the Maori Party, and especially its leaders, since it became a support partner for National.

Although the Maori Party has consistently expressed willingness to work with either of the major parties in government, Mr Jones said it had become “listless and torpid” with National. He believed it was time for a “more aspirational voice in Maori politics”.

A total strategic blunder that dooms Phil Goff.

In the medium to long term the Maori Party will be mainly in coalition with the Labour Party. But instead of treating them as potential allies, they keep treating them like shit – as they also did to the Greens for many years. This means that their chances of going with Labour in 2011, if they hold balance of power, is significantly diminished.

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Goff instructs Maori Party to support him

September 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

Labour leader Phil Goff says the Maori Party needs to start listening to Maori voters and put a future coalition with Labour back on the table.

He told Waatea News that the meltdown of ACT and improving polling among other opposition parties means the next Government could well be a coalition of Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First.

Mr Goff said the Maori Party needed to face up to the fact National “hasn’t delivered for Maori”.

He also said the majority of Maori voters gave their party vote to Labour last election.

Firstly I note how Labour are openly talking up NZ First. They campaign on transparency in electoral laws, yet say they believe WInston didn’t know about the Owen Glenn donations. Ha.

Anyway, don’t you like the arrogance of demanding the Maori Party must support them, as most Maori gave Labour their party vote.

Goff has had Mallard and Jones spend most of the last two years attacking the Maori Party, and finally it has clicked he will need them to have a chance to form a Government.  What a stroke of genius.

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Is Hone planning a coup?

September 20th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Firebrand Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is considering a tilt at the party’s leadership over the foreshore and seabed legislation, claims Ngapuhi academic and leader David Rankin.

At this point my radar tells me not to take it seriously. Rankin has a long history of making oddball claims.

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Not racist?

August 5th, 2010 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Human Rights Commission says Maori Party MP Hone Harawira needs to consider whether his personal feelings are helpful to race relations.

Good to have the HRC comment.

Mr Harawira said in a weekend newspaper interview he would not feel comfortable if one of his seven children brought home a Pakeha partner, and believed many Pakeha would feel the same about Maori.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said members of the public had contacted the Human Rights Commission about the remarks.

He said Mr Harawira’s comments reflected an “unwelcome prejudice” toward Pakeha, adding that census statistics on babies’ ethnicities contradicted Mr Harawira’s views.

It is prejudice. Especially as it was painted purely negatively towards Pakeha. If Hone had said he prefers his children to date Maori as it helps keeps the Maori culture alive, that would be somewhat different. But he basically said he does not want them dating whiteys – would have no problems with Pacific Islanders.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the remarks were not racist and probably mirrored the feelings of many people. …

“I think it’s just not divisive at all. It’s a view point.”

Not racist and not divisive?

So if a Caucasian Member of Parliament came out and said that he would not want his children to date Maori or Pacific Islanders, that would not be racist, and that would not be divisive?

I’m very disappointed. If the Maori Party ever talk about prejudice or racism, then their words are going to be rather hollow in future.

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GST on “healthy food”

July 14th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Political momentum for removing GST from healthy food is increasing with both the Maori and Labour parties working on the idea.

But even in the event the two parties were to put aside their differences and work together on the policy they would not have the numbers to pass the required legislation since the National Party and United Future are opposed to it.

Maori Party MP Rahui Katene’s Goods and Services Tax (Exemption of Healthy Food) Amendment Bill is likely to get its first reading when Parliament returns from recess next Tuesday.

The member’s bill would remove GST from fruit and vegetables, bread and cereals, some dairy products, lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Yesterday, Labour Party leader Phil Goff – who has previously opposed similar proposals – said his party was close to adopting what he believed was a more workable policy to remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said Ms Katene’s proposal wasn’t viable because of problems around defining what constituted healthy food. Furthermore, removing GST from the food specified in the bill would mean the loss of about $330 million a year in tax revenue which would have to be found somewhere else.

I can’t believe how desperate Labour are getting with its support for such nonsense. The only winners from removing GST on so called healthy food will be the tax lawyers.

The moment you start picking and choosing what goods are included, you get massive distortions and gaming of the system -and huge complexity.

Also any removal of GST may be insignificant compared to normal price movements. By coincidence the Herald reports today:

Food prices dropped by 2 per cent in the past year – the largest annual fall since records began more than 50 years ago.

The Food Price Index, released yesterday, shows that fruit and vegetables are nearly 10 per cent cheaper than they were a year ago.

So fruit and veges are 10% cheaper without fiddling with GST, which would cause the Government to borrow a further $330 million a year.

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Little on Labour

July 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Two interesting quotes from Andrew Little on The Nation (TV3 Sat 10 am) which I have to challenge:

Oh I think if you look at parties that are freshly in opposition, where we are polling is actually very good.  If you have a look at Labour in opposition during the 1990s, we were polling in the low to mid 20s.  We’ve been hovering around 30 or just a fraction above it.  I think in only one or two polls we’ve come in just under 30, but around about 30 is not bad for a party freshly in opposition.

I’m not sure if Andrew actually believes what he is saying, or if this is just spin, but let us look at the reality.

First of all one has to remember that in the 1990s there were other large leftwing parties such as the Alliance and NZ First.In 1996 Labour got 28% and could have governed with the Alliance and NZ First. Today they only have the Greens so anything below around 40% probably means opposition for them.

But in 1991, Labour’s average poll rating (TVNZ polls) was 42%. Their average for 1991 – 1993 was 40%. Since the 2008 election the average has been 32%.

From 1994 to 1996, Labour did only poll in the 20s. But both the Alliance and NZ First were polling up to 30% each (not at same time). The centre-left was well ahead of the centre-right.

From 1997 to 1999, Labour averaged 41%.

After National lost office in 1999, National averaged 38% in both 2000 and 2001. It was only in 2002 that National dropped down to a 32% average, and we know how that election went.

So Labour’s ratings in opposition are not historically high. They are significantly lower than any other Opposition, apart from the period when the Alliance and NZ First was splitting up the left vote.

Well we have to work with our Maori constituency, our Maori members, our Maori MPs and with the Maori electorate, the wider Maori electorate out there, who still vote for Labour in droves in terms of the party vote.  So we still have that support out there.  Ideally you would like to think that given the issues that the Maori Party typically deal with, what their kaupapa are, that we would have a constructive relationship with them.  But it’s a two way street, if they don’t want to have that relationship, if Te Ururoa Flavell’s statement is correct that he doesn’t particularly care, there’s not a great deal that the Labour Party can do about that, but what we can do is continue to work on those issues that are important actually to working Maori people, working Maori families, and to lift their living standards.  That’s what we’re committed to doing.

I thought this statement came across as rather arrogant, almost blaming the Maori Party for the bad relationship.

If Andrew was smart, he’d talk to Phil about reining in Shane and Trevor’s attacks on the Maori Party. Shane Jones has said he sees his job as to destroy the Maori Party and wipe them out. So, any surprise that Mr Flavell is not feeling too warm towards them.

And need one be reminded of Helen calling them haters and wreckers and the last cab off the rank.

I sometimes think Labour is deliberately trying to lose the election, or to make it as hard as possible to win. They rank Chris Carter higher than Steven Joyce, they fail to get any of their deadwood to retire and they still treat the Maori Party as unworthy supplicants, despite the fact it is almost impossible for them to form a Government without them.

The only thing left for them to do is to announce their policy of increasing income tax on rich pricks, bringing back all the best memories of the last Government.

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