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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.