Hide on Mahuta’s stunt

May 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

I am not sure MP Nanaia Mahuta is the ideal flag-bearer for Kiwi mums struggling to manage babies in the modern-day workplace. Her call to Speaker David Carter for a more mum-friendly Parliament presents itself as a poorly executed political stunt rather than a serious attempt to shine a light on the plight of working mothers.

Mahuta complained, saying she was “forced” to attend a late-night Budget debate with her 5-month-old daughter but had to leave before the vote because her daughter started crying.

She complained to Speaker Carter, declaring: “No child should be in the workplace from nine ’til midnight”. Mahuta is exactly right. Babies at night should be tucked up nice and warm in bed. They certainly shouldn’t be sitting in Parliament.

But her complaint to Speaker Carter is grandstanding and false. Mahuta’s workplace is already the most flexible on the planet. It’s not the Dickensian workhouse that she portrays. There is absolutely no need nor requirement for a mum to be with her baby in the debating chamber until midnight.

Or at any other time.

Not one of Labour’s 33 MPs was required by Parliament’s rules to be in Parliament that night. The only requirement is for a presiding officer and a Government Minister. Two MPs on their own can conduct the business of the House.

And even if you take voting numbers into account:

But even to debate and to vote requires only one Labour MP. There was no necessity under the rules of Parliament for any other Labour MP to be present.

Thirty-two of them could have been home tucked up in bed sound asleep. And still Labour’s opposition would be both duly noted and recorded.

That’s why Mahuta’s complaint is precious. There’s no other workplace where the business can carry on with a 97 per cent absenteeism. Indeed, with that many away Parliament’s business would have been conducted most expeditiously.

It’s true the sole MP would not have been able to vote the full 33 Labour votes against. To do that 75 per cent of Labour’s MPs must be present in the Parliament complex. But note: it’s only in the complex. Only one MP is required to be in the House to vote and to debate. The other 23 can be in their offices snoozing and looking after baby in her cot. Nine Labour MPs could be at home, including with baby, and still Labour would be able to vote full strength.

It was a beat up, directed at the Labour Whips.

It’s wrong for Mahuta to present herself as a mother balancing work and a new baby under such rules. It shows she’s out of touch with the reality of working mums.

It’s also wrong for her to imply that Parliament’s rules forced her with her baby into the Chamber that Friday night. They didn’t. If there was any forcing it would have been by the Labour whips. They control and dictate who among Labour’s caucus must be within the Parliamentary complex and who must attend the debating chamber. It’s not the Speaker’s nor Parliament’s rules.

Mahuta’s complaint is a political stunt. It makes a mockery of how tough it is for mums in the actual workforce.

A fair point. It is I am sure damn hard being an MP and a parent. But not because you have to had your kid with you in the debating chamber. You don’t.

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Dom Post on babies in Parliament

May 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom post editorial:

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has fired a broadside at Parliament’s rules after she found herself stuck in the debating chamber late at night with her 5-month-old baby.

She was aiming at the wrong target.

Instead of having Parliament’s standing orders in her sights, she should have trained them on her party colleagues.

Labour talks the talk on family-friendly workplaces, but it appears it is not so good at walking the walk when it comes to helping a breastfeeding colleague, even one as senior and respected as Ms Mahuta.

Exactly. They have 9 proxies they can use every day. They have only one MP with an infant. Plus as they are not in Government, they can even vote with reduced numbers without consequence.

If Ms Mahuta felt she should be among those whose presence was not required, then the correct place for her to have directed her complaint was chief whip Chris Hipkins, who organises the roster and should have been alert to the high likelihood of Parliament going into urgency after Thursday’s Budget, and her Labour colleagues.

All it would have taken for her to have the night off would have been for Mr Hipkins to give her priority or for just one of those Labour MPs who was excused to have offered to step in and take her place. Surely, Ms Mahuta would have returned the favour when her circumstances allowed?

To be fair to Hipkins, it has been reported she originally had leave for Friday, but asked to swap it. I’m not sure all the blame is with the Whips. To some degree what we are seeing is a continuation of Labour’s internal warring – it is no coincidence that Mahuta is part of the marginalised Cunliffe faction and she has no love for the party leadership and whips after her demotion.

After Ms Mahuta’s complaint, Speaker David Carter is examining whether even more can be done. In the meantime, Labour, the champion of family-friendly workplaces, can help Ms Mahuta no end by practising what it preaches.

A fair point.

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More on babies in Parliament

May 21st, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta wants better provisions for breastfeeding mothers after she was forced to stay in Parliament with her young daughter until midnight on Friday.

The Business Committee, which oversees the running of Parliament, is set to consider the situation at its next meeting.

Parliament sat under urgency until midnight Friday and late on Saturday as the Government rushed through a raft of Budget-related legislation.

Mahuta was given leave on Thursday night and most of the day on Friday, but she was required to be in Parliament from 9pm until midnight on Friday.

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said Mahuta didn’t have to be in the debating chamber, just the parliamentary buildings.

That is a key revelation. Mahuta could have remained in her office with her baby. There was no requirement at all for her to be in the chamber. So the question has to be asked, did she go down in the chamber with her baby just as a publicity stunt to protest having to be in Parliament at all at that time?

I’m all for MPs being able to take babies into the House, but it is important to note that MPs are not required to be in the House for votes. They merely have to be in the parliamentary precinct.

But Mahuta said it was “silly” she had to take her five-month-old daughter Niua-Cybele to work that late just to make up numbers.

She had raised the matter with Speaker David Carter and Hipkins and expected something to be done.

“I was concerned that provisions weren’t made for nursing mums during urgency in terms of leave numbers … no child should be in the workplace from nine till midnight,” she said.

I understand (my source may be wrong) that Mahuta in fact offered to do the Friday shift. That she was originally rostered on for Thursday, and wanted to swap. So again I am not sure that Mahuta was forced to be there on Friday night.

Now don’t get me wrong. being a working mum is damn hard, and a working MP mum harder than most. I would expect that party whips would do everything possible to give one of their 25% proxies to an MP who is caring for an infant for late night sessions. But we do not know the full details of why Mahuta was rostered on for Friday night. As I said, I understand she was originally rostered on for Thursday, and did a swap.

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key does not believe Parliament’s hours should be reduced to make it more “family friendly”, saying having children while in Parliament was “challenging but do-able” and it was up to each party to ensure nursing mothers had the support and time out needed.

Unless there was a huge explosion in the number of MPs with infants, the 25% proxy allocation to each party should be more than adequate to allow parents with infants to have flexibility with their hours.

Speaker David Carter is considering introducing special leave provisions for nursing mothers after Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta was in Parliament with her baby until midnight on Friday because of urgency. She told the Speaker it was unfair to expect nursing mothers to be in Parliament late into the night.

Mr Key said it was up to the Speaker to decide on any new rules, but it was possible for parties to arrange leave to give priority to those who most needed it, such as nursing mothers. Parties can have one quarter of their MPs away at any time without losing votes in Parliament.

He said it was up to the Speaker to decide whether to formally allow women to take babies into the House.

It isn’t just up to the Speaker. He can not unilaterally change standing orders. The standing orders committee would need to recommend a change to standing orders to change the proxy rules, and the House would need to agree to it – probably by way of a sessional order.

In terms of whether infants are allowed in the House, the rules seem unclear. I can’t find a Speaker’s Ruling on this issue. The preferred approach would be to amend standing orders to make it clear this is allowed, but in the absence of an explicit change I think the Speaker can show some common sense discretion. However let’s be very clear – ultimately the rules of Parliament are not decided by the Speaker, but by the House. He is the House’s servant, not its master.

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said Ms Mahuta had been given significant amounts of leave but there was extra pressure on leave during urgency. Ms Mahuta had agreed to work on Friday night after she was given leave for Thursday.

Oh I should have read this article first. This backs up the point I was making above. Mahuta chose to work Friday night instead of Thursday.

He had taken her off the speaking roster after she told him she had to bring the baby to Parliament.

So again, her decision to go down to the House with her baby was a voluntary one – presumably to gain publicity.

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Babies in Parliament

May 20th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A screaming baby in the debating chamber late at night has prompted Parliament to discuss how to become a more family-friendly workplace.

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says she was forced to attend a debate with her 5-month-old daughter on Friday, as far as she understood it, “simply to make up numbers”.

If she was forced to attend a debate, that was a decision made by the Labour Party Whips. MPs do not need to be in the debating chamber to vote.

The debate, on Crown minerals, stretched until midnight. However, Mahuta said when her daughter started crying before it ended, she was faced with little choice but to leave – missing the vote. The Hauraki-Waikato MP said it was “silly” that she found herself having to be there at that hour in the first place, breaking her baby’s routine.

“This is specific to my responsibility as a breastfeeding mother,” Mahuta said. “This is practically silly, if I’m just being in the building to make up numbers at that time of night.”

Parliament requires that 75 per cent of MPs are in the complex while the House is sitting.

No it does not. There is no requirement for any number of MPs to be in the complex while the House is sitting. The requirement is that a party can only cast proxy votes for up to 25% of its MPs. But a party can choose to vote with fewer than its normal number of votes. Labour did this on Saturday when they were casting (I think) 19 votes. They have 33 MPs so are allowed nine MPs away so to be voting with 19 means 23 of their 33 MPs were away from Parliament.

The point is that it is up to a party how it manages who is at Parliament, and whether or not they vote with their full numbers. Obviously the Government has less flexibility as they can not afford to be votes down.

The Herald reports:

Parliament’s Speaker is considering a rule change for MPs with babies after Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta was required to be in Parliament with her 5-month-old baby until midnight last week because Labour needed her there so it could cast its full tally of votes during urgency.

Parties need at least 75 per cent of their MPs in Parliament to cast all of their votes, and Ms Mahuta’s usual care arrangements did not extend to Friday so she took her baby daughter with her, including going to the Debating Chamber at one point, but left when the baby started crying.

Again this is an issue for the Labour Party Whips. They required Manuta to be in the parliamentary buildings and even if they needed her there for her vote, there is no standing order that required her to actually be in the debating chamber – unless the whips rostered her on for house duty.

She has asked the Speaker to consider new rules for nursing mothers, saying they should not have to be at Parliament later than 9pm without affecting the party’s voting numbers or taking leave off other MPs.

I am not convinced this is an issue for standing orders. The whips have flexibility to allow 25% of MPs to be absent. The Labour Whips could have done one of three things:

  1. Not required Mahuta to be there, and required another Labour MP to be there so they keep their 33 votes
  2. Not required Mahuta to be there and casted 32 votes instead of 33
  3. Asked the Government for a pair (yes you can still effectively do that) and have both a National and Labour MP leave the precincts so both parties are a vote down, keeping the relative balance

Standing orders should allow an MP who is caring for an infant to bring the baby into the House, as has happened in the European Parliament. But I don’t see why standing orders need to exempt mothers from being there after 9 pm when the whips already have more than enough flexibility to avoid this. Mahuta’s issue should be with the Labour Whips.

Take a comparison. If an MP is seriously ill, or worse, standing orders don’t give them an exemption from being at Parliament for he purpose of proxy votes. Instead the whips just allocate them one of the 25% quota. The entire reason we have the allowance for 255 not to be present is to avoid having to have standing orders try and be prescriptive as to why an MP can or can not be away from Parliament.

Even the PM doesn’t get a special leave pass to be away from Parliament when doing official duties around the country. He or she has to be one of the 25%.

She also believed it was time Parliament developed more formal, wider guidelines for mothers of young children, including rules on taking a baby into the House.

Speaker David Carter said he would talk to the business committee about allowing mothers of young babies to be away on occasion without affecting their party’s leave quota.

I’m all for mothers being able to take a baby into the House. I think the precedent is that they can, but this is not explicit.

But I see no reason to start defining explicit categories of people who can be away from the parliamentary precinct, as it defeats the entire rationale of giving each party flexibility to decide for itself.

The question should be why the Labour Whips required Mahuta to be present late on a Friday night.

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said the party would support a change to give nursing mothers leave on top of the usual allocation.

Every effort had been made to give Ms Mahuta as much leave as possible, but sometimes that was impossible because other MPs also had commitments outside Parliament.

As I blogged above, Labour could simply vote with less than their full entitlement - as they did on Saturday. Or they could ask the Government for a pair.

Also as I blogged above, the requirement is to be in the grounds of Parliament, not to be in the debating chamber. Any requirement for Mahuta to be in the chamber was a requirement by Labour Whips, not by Standing Orders. The only people who have to be in the House are a presiding officer, a Minister and a whip for any party with more than five MPs.

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Tamihere on Labour front bench

October 7th, 2012 at 6:13 pm by David Farrar

John Tamihere on Q+A:

PAUL Yeah, but we’re now 2012, as I say. I mean, do you think David Shearer’s got to really reshuffle that front bench? I mean, you can’t honestly look at that front bench and think they’re performing well as an Opposition.

MR TAMIHERE That’s true, but he’s also got to look to 2014 for the list. 

PAUL It’s critical, because this week – you take this week. Bad week for the government. Should have been. More Dotcom coming left, right and centre at the Prime Minister.

 MR TAMIHERE You’ve got me. There’s no doubt—

 PAUL Wilkinson’s reversal on Mike Tyson.

 MR TAMIHERE Front bench is not firing.

 PAUL No.

 MR TAMIHERE Across the whole line, whether it’s health, welfare or education, and those are the biggies.  …

I’m surprised Tamihere named specific portfolios where he claimed Labour front benchers are not firing. That will not endear him to Maryan Street, Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta.

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Mahuta won’t go quietly

October 5th, 2012 at 8:57 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has hit back at speculation she will be demoted in a looming reshuffle by Labour leader David Shearer, indicating she will resist any attempt to take the education portfolio from her.

Mr Shearer confirmed last weekend he intended to go ahead with a reshuffle toward the end of the year. The recent appointment of Chris Hipkins to the education team and Ms Mahuta’s relatively low profile in the role until recently prompted speculation she would be taken off the front bench and the education portfolio given to another MP. The reshuffle will also coincide with Ms Mahuta having her second child in December.

If Shearer demotes her, it will look like she is being demoted for being pregnant and a mother. Would be a terrible look.

Ms Ms Mahuta said this time she intended to return to work and her pregnancy should not be a factor in any decisions to do with the reshuffle.

“I’ve said I intend to come back to work and I am happy in the role that I have in education, and I will work hard and am committed to that because it is an important portfolio.”

The other problem for Labour is their lack of Maori MPs who can become Ministers. Pareura is invisible (well politically) and on his way out. Shane Jones is under a cloud. And Mahuta is having people brief against her.

Asked about her future in politics, Ms Mahuta said she did intend to stand again in 2014. She was more dismissive about the possibility John Tamihere could run for Parliament again, saying Labour had decided during its recent organisational review that it should focus on attracting more young people and women to ensure it was in a strong place through to 2026.

“John Tamihere says a lot of things, and a lot of them are very memorable, like front bottoms, so if there’s space for John Tamihere in the Labour caucus it will probably be at the call of the current leadership. But what I know is that the future of the Labour Party will require looking to a younger generation of Maori leadership.”

Doesn’t sound like a warm welcome for JT.

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The enemies within

October 2nd, 2012 at 9:43 pm by David Farrar

Image from Dim Post. Nanaia obviously unimpressed that her colleagues or parliamentary staff have been briefing against her, and suggesting Shearer will chop her, using her pregnancy as an excuse.

Shearer’s reshuffle has just got more challenging. He needs to be bold, but does he have the support to stay on, if he upsets too many?

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The split in Tainui

September 25th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Meetings between two heavyweight Tainui leaders are under way to iron out internal tribal confusion around water ownership issues.

King Tuheitia’s spokesman Tuku Morgan is emphatic that all iwi leaders must stick to resolutions passed at the King’s water summit, which include working out a framework for water rights before iwi negotiate with the Crown.

Immediately after the hui this month, Mr Morgan said: “The A list of Maoridom were here, the who’s who of Maoridom were here – they are part of the decision and they are bound by the decision.”

But Tom Roa, who is chairman of the tribe’s executive board Te Arataura and on the Iwi Leaders Group for Freshwater, says the King’s “strong” position on water – that Maori own it – also reflected respect towards the individual right of iwi to go back to their people to weigh the resolutions.

“From my perspective … every iwi and every hapu has their right to their autonomy and that includes Waikato-Tainui.

“The New Zealand Maori Council will not negotiate on Waikato-Tainui’s behalf. Nor will any group. That’s our plain position and I suggest that’s the position of every iwi and hapu in the country.”

It is not unusual to have a different point of view between different Iwi. But this is a split between Tainui and their King. That is significant.

Line the two positions up and Mr Roa admits the sentiments are at odds.

“Yes. We’re having meetings to sort that through. Tuku is the spokesperson for the Kingitanga and I am the spokesperson for Waikato-Tainui,” he said.

Asked if there should be a unified position between the two, Mr Roa said: “Very clearly.”

Which is an admission, there isn’t.

What is not in doubt is that there has been a sharp evolution of the Kingitanga. In the past, spokesmen have been the voice of the movement – in part to protect the monarch from direct criticism.

King Tuheitia’s speech to 1000 Maori on such a charged issue changed that.

“In terms of Waikato-Tainui I would suggest that whatever the King says, whatever the King does, the people support,” Mr Roa said. “There is some concern for him, there is some concern for our relationships [in the tribe] and with other iwi and hapu but there is total support for the King.”

The Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato, Nanaia Mahuta, the King’s cousin, said the move came with risks as exposure to criticism would come on any issues in the public domain.

“That is a matter for Tuheitia to weigh up as the media can be critical and sceptical of any perspective he may have. Tuheitia has his advisers and they must be accountable for the advice they give him.”

While expressed very politely, that statement by Nanaia is significant. She seems to be blaming Tuku Morgan for turning King Tuheitia into a political figure, rather than a unifying figure.

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Labour attacks a public servant for her sister

February 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm by David Farrar

Kate Shuttleworth at the HoS reports:

Minister of Education Hekia Parata’s sister Apryll Parata has been given one of the ministry’s top jobs. …

Labour spokesperson for education Nanaia Mahuta said there was a concern Apryll Parata’s promotion came so quickly after her sister was appointed minister.

“There is a perceived conflict of interest. People will draw all sorts of conclusions given the proximity of the appointment.”

They hounded Madeleine Setchell out of the public service because of her boyfriend’s new job, and now they target Ms Parata because of her sister.

Many top public servants have had siblings in politics. Mark Prebble had roles in DPMC, SSC and Treasury and his brother was Richard Prebble. Should he have not been promoted because of Richard?

Apryll Parata is one of seven Deputy Secretaries and has been a Deputy Secretary since February 2007. Her recent promotion is not of title, but of responsibilities. Parata was also the youngest ever female principal of a state secondary school. One bio states:

Apryll Parata arrived at Ngata Memorial College after the school’s roll had dropped to 72 students. Truancy was rampant, and the professional standards of teaching and management had been neglected for years. In the five years that she was principal, the roll more than trebled, truancy was nonexistent, and academic qualifications were lifted  significantly. The college moved from an academic achievement rating in the bottom five percent of the country’s secondary schools to the top of schools of its type in three years.

Yet Labour attack her having the wrong sister.

Green spokesperson for education Catherine Delahunty said Apryll Parata had been involved in education for a long time.

“It’s not someone who is coming in from the outside with no knowledge. It does become interesting when it’s two sisters running the Ministry of Education because it does sound to the public like it puts power in the hands of one family.”

She said her main concern was about the direction the ministry was taking, not the personnel.

Bravo the Greens. Delahunty resists the cheap shot.

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Joke of the Day

November 29th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Sent in  by e-mail:

Q.Why did David Cunliffe chose Nanaia Mahuta as his running mate ?

 A .Because Ross Robertson was busy.

Heh.

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A Labour MP defies Goff

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:44 pm by David Farrar

Adam Gifford of Waatea News reports:

Another of Labour’s Maori MPs has broken ranks with leader Phil Goff over working with former Maori Party MP Hone harawira.

Mr Goff ruled out including the Tai Tokerau MP in his post-election planning because he says he was extreme and unreliable.

But Waikato-Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta says Mr Harawira has taken similar positions to Labour on issues such as the 90-day bill, raising the minimum wage, and greater protection for employee rights.

“But the real proof is what happens after election 2011 and I’ve been in politics long enough to know that the wind blows both ways and you can’t rule anyone in and out before that day. That’s the day that matters,” she says.

This is an absolute shot over Goff’s bows. One of his own MPs is saying that you can’t rule anyone out before the election, and makes it quite clear she wants to work with Hone.

When John Key ruled Winston out, his caucus broke into celebration and sacrificed a few goats to various deities, so pleased they were at being spared the horror of trying to govern with Winston.

Goff ruling out Hone has not sone as well. MPs have leaked to the media that Goff made the decision unilaterally, and even broke his own caucus’ policy. And now one of his Maori MPs has openly defied him and said Hone should not be ruled out.

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Labour’s nominations

September 8th, 2010 at 7:06 pm by David Farrar

Labour have announced:

Labour Party organisations in these electorates will hold their confirmation meetings shortly:

• Bay of Plenty Carol Devoy-Heena

Lost in 2008 by 17,604 votes. Ranked 76th (2nd bottom). I think Tony Ryall can relax.

• Botany Koro Tawa

Ranked No 65. Lost by 10,872 in 2008. Not a lot of new blood coming through is there!

• Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel

An MP since 1990.

• Coromandel Hugh Kininmonth

Lost by 14,560 in 2008. Ranked 75th (third bottom)

• East Coast Moana Mackey

Lost by 6,413 to Anne Tolley. List MP since 2003.

• East Coast Bays Vivienne Goldsmith

Lost by 13,794 to Prince of Darkness. Ranked No 67 in 2008.

• Hamilton East Sehai Orgad

2007 President of compulsory Waikato Student’s Union. Stood for East ward of Hamilton City Council in 2007 and came 10th.

• Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta

MP since 1996

• Helensville Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

Very appropriate Jeremy stands against John Key as he writes so many letters to the editor complaining about the Government.  2005 President of the compulsory VUWSA. Is standing for Henderson-Massey Local Board in 2010 elections.

A little known trivia fact is that a few years ago Jeremy and I co-authored a petition to Subway asking them to reverse their sacking of an employee for sharing a free $2 staff coke with a friend.

• Manukau East Ross Robertson

MP since 1987.

• New Plymouth Andrew Little

Former President of compulsory VUWSA, and NZUSA. Labour Party President.

• Rotorua Steve Chadwick

Lost her seat in 2008 by 5,065 votes. MP since 1999.

• Selwyn David Coates

Lost in 2008 by 11,075 votes.Ranked No 74 (fourth bottom) on list.

• Taranaki-King Country Rick Barker

Now this is weird. Barker presumably can’t get nominated again in Tukituki, so desperate to carry on has headed to the west coast. Has been an MP since 1993.

• Waimakariri Clayton Cosgrove

MP since 1999. Holding on with a 390 vote majority.

• Wellington Central Grant Robertson

Former President of compulsory OUSA and then NZUSA.

• Wigram Megan Woods

2007 Mayoral candidate against Bob Parker.

If the list above, is Labour rejuvenating, then someone has a sick sense of humour. Their only new candidates are from compulsory student associations.

Of their 2008 candidates, the ones standing again were all ranked in the bottom dozen, and lost by huge majorities.  Where are the Kate Suttons, Michael Woods, Conor Roberts, and Louisa Walls  who all actually have some talent?

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Three things on tonight in Wellington

September 23rd, 2009 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

The New Zealand Republic Handbook is being launched at Parliament tonight.

The Handbook is a guide to creating a New Zealand republic and covers the issues of New Zealand becoming a republic plus the arguments for and against republicanism in New Zealand.

The launch is in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Drinks and nibbles start at 5.30 pm and speechs are from 6 pm to 6.30 pm. Speakers are Hon Peter Dunne from United Future, Phil Twyford from Labour, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta and Green MP Keith Locke plus Republican Movement Chair Lewis Holden. And so long as my dentist appointment at 10 am today doesn’t end up involving anaesthetics, I am the MC for the function.

MPs, parliamentary staff and press gallery are all welcome to attend. Around 30 MPs, from pretty much every party, have already RSVP’d but there is no need to do so if you work in Parliament. If you do not work at Parliament and would like to attend e-mail events@republic.org.nz so your name can be given to security.

After that Parliament should be debating the 1st reading of the VSM Bill which will restore to tertiary students the right to decide if they want to join a student association or not. Not that many laws result in more freedom, not less, so worth supporting.

And later that evening, we have Backbenches at the Backbencher, with live filming from 9.10 pm. MPs are:

  • John Boscawen, ACT
  • Keith Locke, Greens
  • Damien O’Connor, Labour
  • Pesata Sam Lotu-Iiga

Topics include how to spell Wanganui and what should be on Letterman’s Top Ten for John Key.

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Labour MPs

August 20th, 2009 at 7:53 am by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard blogged on 15 August 2009:

The fact that they weren’t sent to prison because they are Maori just doesn’t seem right to me.

Nanaia Mahuta blogged on 18 August 2009:

To criticise the sentence on a matter of race is ridiculous

I don’t think Trevor was being ridiculous, as Nanaia labels him.

In fact I sometimes wonder if Trevor does not have a very cunning game plan. So cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a fox.

He has become the de facto Opposition Leader of the House and appears to lead their parliamentary strategy.Have a look at Parliament some time and you will see Mallard working with Hughes and the Whips to decide what to do.

He also seems to be in charge of their communications, and set up Red Alert without even telling Phil Goff about it.

He is going out of his way to mentor new MPs, and often is delegated to speak on behalf of the party on non portfolio issues.

And we now see Trevor positioning himself to appeal to non-core Labour voters with his blog on this issue.

Now maybe it is all a coincidence, but is it possible that Trevor is planning some bbqs over summer?

Trevor was widely seen as a leadership contender along with Maharey un until a couple of years ago. Suddenly within a few weeks Trevor was out of the running for punching Tau Henare, and Maharey bailed to academia. Phil Goff suddenly became the heir apparent despite never being Clark’s choice.

So is Goff there just to give Trevor time to rehabilitate himself?

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The Maori Seats

November 17th, 2008 at 12:32 pm by David Farrar

Labour won the party vote easily in all seven Maori seats. Their party vote ranged from 45% to 57%, and the Maori Party ranged from 21% to 34%. Waiariki was closest with an 11% gap and Ikaroa-Rawhiti had a 31% gap.

In 2005 Labour ranged from 49% to 58% and Maori Party from 18% to 31% so not much change on the party vote.

National in 2005 got from 2.7% to 7.4% in the Maori seats. In 2008 it was from 5.5% to 10.9% so a very small improvement there.

The electorate votes we start from Te Taik Tokerau in the North. Hone Harawira won it by 3,600 in 2005 over Dover Samuels. This time he has a 5,500 majority.

Pita Sharples evicted John Tamihere from Tamaki Makaurau by 2,100 in 2005 and holds it over Louisa Wall by a massve 6,300.

In Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell won by 2,900 in 2005. In 2008 he doubles that to 6,000.

Nanaia Mahuta held onto Tainui by 1,860. The boundary changes to Hauraki-Waikato did not favour her, so she did well to hold on by 1,046.

In Te Tai Hauauru, Tariana Turia won by 5,000 in 2005 and this time he rmajority is almost 7,000.

The big battle was in Ikaroa-Rawhiti. Parekura held off Atareta Poananga by 1,932 in 2005, and Poananga’s former partner, Derek Fox, challenged in 2008. But Fox fell short by 1,609.

Finally in the South, Te Tai Tonga was held by Mahara Okeroa in 2005 by 2,500. New Maori Party candidate Rahui Katene beat him by 684 votes in 2008.

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Electorate Polls

November 2nd, 2008 at 6:30 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged over on curiablog the results fo several recent electorate polls, including tonight’s one in Tauranga. The topline results are:

  • Tauranga – Bridges 26% ahead of Peters. Labour’s Pankhurst in 4th place at 5%. NZ First Party Vote down from 13% in 2005 to 6%.
  • Palmerston North – National candidate Malcolm Plimmer ahead by 3%
  • Ikaroa-Rawhiti – Parekura Horomia 5.4% ahead of Derek Fox
  • Nelson – Nick Smith 36% ahead of Maryan Street
  • West Coast-Tasman – Damien O’Connor 3.5% ahead of Chris Auchinvole
  • Te Tai Tonga – Maori TV/TNS has Mahara Okeroa ahead of Rahui Katene by 10% – 49% to 39%. However Marae Digipoll has Okeroa bejind by 6% – 40% to 46%
  • Hauraki-Waikato – Nanaia Mahuta ahead of Angeline Greensill by 0.6%

All three Maori seats held by Labour are highly competitive. In two seats Labour is ahead and in the seat with conflcitign results, an averaging of them out would see Labour ahead. This means that the Maori Party may not have much of an overhang at all – in fact they could even gain a List MP if they got 4% or so party vote.

Palmerston North is the only Labour held seat that a public poll has shown National ahead in, so far. Due to boundary changes Taupo and Rotorua are technically National’s on paper.

Based on boundary changes and public polls (and note this is not a personal prediction) the electorate seats would be:

  1. National 35
  2. Labour 28
  3. Maori 4
  4. ACT 1
  5. United Future 1
  6. Progressive 1

Labour will in one sense be very pleased to be ahead in all three Maori seats. However this does lessen their chances of winning via overhang.

And the Tauranga result is superb. With only 5% voting Labour on the electorate vote anyway, it means no amount of tactical voting in Tauranga can put Winston back in that way.

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