Parliament pay tribute to Horomia

May 8th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Parliament yesterday paid  to Parekura Horomia. Many funny and moving speeches. Some extracts:

John Key

On any marae in the country, and especially amongst his own people, he was in his element. I myself remember a number of occasions when he came up when I was on the marae, to ensure that I was comfortable and aware of the protocols and procedures. The respect he commanded was borne from his tireless work for his people, the people from Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and all of Māoridom.


Despite our political differences, and because of our shared love of making up words, I have always had enormous respect for Parekura and his command of the English language. He never forgot where he came from and why he was here in Parliament. Parekura played an extremely important role in building the strong and positive relationship that currently exists between Māori and the Crown, and I hope his family are as proud of his achievements in this area as in every other. Parekura was staunchly loyal to his Prime Minister, to his party, and, most important, to his people. Through some of the most difficult times he took counsel from the people he was elected to serve. Through everything he championed a better deal for Māori. He did so across party lines, and he was not afraid to fight for what he believed in. I will remember his presence in this Chamber, his big smile, and his warm heart.

David Shearer

 I remember more than once in our caucus meetings when we were talking about high-level sort of issues on policy and getting rather hypothetical about things, it would Parekura who would bring us down to earth, talking about the family he met when he was travelling up that day, and talking about that family who he met, those people who he met, and asking what they would get out of that particular policy that we were pushing out in front of us. 

Hone Harawira

I think, more than anything, that is what most of us are going to miss about Parekura is that he was when you saw Parekura you just saw a mate. He did not get overly fussed about the politics. He was, for a while, when Tariana came marching up on to Parliament here with 50,000 people to oppose the foreshore and seabed legislation, but even apart from that he was easy to get on with. So I am going to miss seeing him waddle around the House here. I am not going to miss him telling me what to do, though. I used to say to him: “Parekura, you’re not even in the same party. You can’t tell me what to do.” He said: “Oh, I know that.” and then he would still tell me what to do. I am going to miss all of that and I think a lot of us are.

John Banks

While I reflect on the great members of Parliament who I have known in this place over 10 Parliaments—the wonderful Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan , Koru Wetere, and Peter Tapsell , just to name a few—they had a common thread through them, these Māori role-model leaders, and that was that they went about their work in a very dignified way. They had their say and did not make too many enemies, but they did make a difference. So Māoridom has lost a significant figure in Parekura’s passing. His constituents have lost a leader and an advocate for them in this House, and since his death, many have remarked on just how tirelessly he worked for his community. …

He worked his way from the bottom up, holding jobs as a manual labourer, a printer, a fencer, a worker, and many careers in between before he became a member of Parliament and a Minister of the Crown. Today it seems that many of our young people want a short cut to the top, but when they find how much hard work has to be done and how much is needed to get there, they often give up before they begin. Parekura was living proof that no matter what your background is, if you put your mind to it and are prepared to put in the hard work, you can achieve anything.

Peter Dunne

My instance relates to an event a couple of years ago. I went up to Gisborne to open a new dental clinic at a very large intermediate school. By coincidence at the airport I ran into Parekura.

“What are you doing here?”, he said. I told him what I was doing. He said: “Oh, that’s in my electorate. I better come. Have you got a car?”. I said: “I’ve got a driver waiting.” “OK. I’ll come too.”, he said. So he piled into the car, which lurched considerably to the right as we drove off to the school. The moment we arrived, he took over. I was ushered onto the marae. He was my translator, my minder, and the person who pushed me forward and made me do all the things that I was expected to do, and he did it with aplomb. He was the star of the show. When the time came to leave, he said: “Where are you going now?”. I said I was going on to a meeting at the hospital. “Oh, I better come too.”, he said. So he tagged along, and we went through the same procedure, and it was the same procedure at the third appointment. Then it was time for me to go back to the airport, so he came back to the airport with me, and as the driver dropped me off, Parekura said: “Oh, just one thing—is it OK for him to run me up the coast now and run me home?”. I could hardly say no. The driver then completed the occasion by saying: “Well, I should actually take you home because the last time I drove past your place, a couple of weeks ago, the lawns hadn’t been mowed.” So Parekura was going home to sort it out.

Shane Jones

 Just before I wind up, when David Shearer had his by-election, Parekura, Kelvin Davis, and Shane Jones were dispatched to the rather grimy streets of Avondale to doorknock. Parekura, being the senior, dispatched Kelvin Davis. He said: “Here, boy, here’s some pamphlets. Go and stand on the other side of the street. Go up there, down there.” He said: “Shane, Chief, you stay with me. You stay with me. We’ll go up the other end of the street.”, which we did. Then, getting outside a house, Parekura said to me: “Now, boy, you take these pamphlets. I’ll guard our waka. Just go and knock on that door.” I proceeded to knock on the door, only to be greeted with the largest, angriest dog in John Tamihere’s neighbourhood. And as the dog barked at me, Parekura called: “E hoa, pussy, pussy, pussy.” A Māori came out of that house. He looked at me and said: “Yeah, what do you want?”. I said: “By-election, e hoa, pamphlets.”, as the dog barked. He looked past me and he saw Parekura. Parekura hopped out of the car. He said: “Oh, kia ora, uncle.” as he went into that house. As Parekura sensed the fish heads cooking, he became positively athletic. Kelvin Davis, meanwhile, was wandering around in circles. The moral of the story is the randomness of politics. Parekura, you are in Hawaiki; Kelvin Davis, you are unemployed; Shane Jones, you have been in the crap; and David Shearer is our leader. Kia ora tātou.

Gerry Brownlee

The truth is I held Pare in the highest of regard and with the greatest of respect. I did not know him as many of you did, as the father, the grandfather, the brother, the family member, and part of your closer iwi community. I only knew him for his time here in Parliament. During that time I think all of the comments that have been made about him and about his personality I would have to agree with. He was one of those very warm people who could articulate an argument in his favour without being in any way vindictive, without any degree of vehemence, with simply a desire to stick to the issues, and to respect individuals for their own beliefs. …

During the debate one of the colleagues on this side of the House gave an impassioned speech in which he said words to the effect that the almighty God had created the foreshore and seabed for the enjoyment of all New Zealanders. Pare saw Simon and I sitting here and sent us over a note very, very quickly that said: “Gerry, Simon, tell the fool God’s a woman and she’s giving it all to the Māori.”


 I first met him when I was a brand new MP back in about 1997 I think, at a select committee where he was presenting at a financial review as the person who was in charge of the community employment group. Anyone who knows how that works, people come in and they sit at the end of the table. They are generally invited to make a few opening comments, and then there is a series of questions. Pare’s comments went on for quite sometime. I had been warned before that this man was somewhat of a jargonaut. His speech and comments were filled with macros, micros, matrixes and analyses, synergies, and paradigms. It was a wonderful story, and beautifully articulated but left you somewhat perplexed as to what exactly it was about. I very boldly asked him. I said: “That’s very well, Mr Horomia, but what does it mean?” And he said: “Oh, well, chief, it means we’ve done a good job.” On that note can I simply say Pare, you have done a good job.

Annette King

We heard that he was hard to understand at times. I do not know whether my friend Shane Jones remembers this,

but one year I went to Rātana, as we did, year in, year out, and Parekura never missed. I was seated behind Shane Jones and Dover Samuels. Parekura got up and he was speaking. I leaned forward and I said to Shane and Dover: “What’s he saying?”. They said: “We haven’t got a clue.”

Hekia Parata

I worked with Parekura and for Parekura, and I saw h

im operate successfully and effectively no matter which Government was in power, because he went with authenticity for what he was trying to achieve. I think that he was very effective, and I think it is important that in a democracy like ours and in a House of Representatives like this we always welcome and value that rich diversity that he personified, not only in what he did but in the way he did it and the way that he was warm and generous. It has already been said that he was a big man with a big heart. He absolutely was. He worked extremely hard. I totally agree with Annette King, I think it was, who said he wanted to die doing what he loved doing.

Moana Mackey

 Parekura was a good Labour man and a strong supporter of women—within our party, within his electorate, and across the country—as evidenced by his life membership of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. When I first entered Parliament, he called me into his office and he said: “Don’t you let those men push you around. You stand up for yourself.” It is not always easy being the whitest Māori in the room, and I always appreciated how he looked out for me and supported me. Despite always telling me to shut up, he had my back. …

Parekura was a mentor and a friend to me. I suspect that, to him, I was first and foremost a somewhat reluctant co-conspirator in his elaborate plots to avoid having to come to Wellington each week. It was my job to back him up. I remember him phoning me after he had told the whips that his flight from Gisborne to Wellington had been diverted. He said that they did not believe him, so I said: “Well, where did you tell them it had been diverted to?”. He said: “Auckland.”

I asked him why he did not say Napier or Palmerston North or indeed any other place actually on the way to Wellington instead of 500 kilometres in the opposite direction, to which he simply replied: “Shut up, Moana.” I also remember the day Air New Zealand announced that it was increasing the number of flights between Gisborne and Wellington—a dark day for Parekura. I also remember the ensuing phone call instructing me in very colourful language to keep my mouth shut and to not tell the whips about the extra flights. I will miss the phone calls, I will miss him shouting questions to me from the other end of the plane on our flights home, and I would give anything to hear him say “Shut up, Moana.” one last time.


Parliament 7 May 2013

May 7th, 2013 at 12:48 pm by Jordan.M

It is expected that as a mark of respect for the passing of the Hon Parekura Horomia, a sitting member of Parliament, the House will adjourn early on Tuesday.

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday there is likely to be a motion to mark the passing of the Hon Parekura Horomia, the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, who died on 29 April. Following members’ speeches on this motion, it is likely the House will rise early as a mark of respect. Normal business such as question time would be set aside. The House is scheduled to sit again at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 8 May.

Parekura is the first electorate MP to die in office while the House is in session since Sir Basil Arthur in 1985, who held the seat of Timaru. You can read a NZ Herald Editoral on Parekura’s passing here.

RIP Parekura Horomia

April 30th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Parekura Horomia had a big heart – both literally, and symbolically. The most common word I am reading in the tributes about him was kind, and I think that is a good description of him. He was not a mean person.

My abiding memory of him will be the televised Ikaroa-Rawhiti debate between him and Derek Fox in 2008. Cam Slater and I were in the audience up in Gisborne for it, as part of our blogmobile tour.

The hall was packed. Around 300 people I’d say. And it was a debate unlike any other I had been to. The questions from the audience were not over what we may call the big issues, but on very real local issues such as school bus routes, local housing developments and the like. All too often politics is about abstract policies, and questions in debates comes from party activists, rather than genuine constituents. It was, as I said, a very good debate.

What most struck me was the closing statements. Derek (the) Fox is an accomplished politician and speaker. He got up and flayed Labour’s record, and Parekura’s record. It was a brutal devastating indictment of their time in office.

The response from Parekura was a real contrast. He spent probably most of his speech greeting the various audience members by name, citing their children, what schools they are at, what he had done for those schools or communities and just connected to the audience is a very real way. Finally he declared that not only were post of the audience part of his extended whanau, even Derek was his cousin and he loved his cousin even when he was trying to take the seat off him and that Derek was a good man.

Parekura was the winner of the debate, and of the election. It was a good reminder that politics is about more than just policies and politics, but can be very much about people at the individual level, not as abstract statistics.

The other abiding memory of that debate, was the almost comical seating arrangements. There were no tables and no chairs. The two debaters just had a tiny stool to sit on, on the large stage.

Now Derek came out, and just sat on his stool. then Parekura came out and saw the stool, and paused. You could almost see what he was thinking – his face had a “You must be kidding” look on it. As there was no alternative, he moved in front of the stool and sort of reversed onto it in a scene akin to a large truck trying to park. Then as he lowered himself onto it, the entire room was collectively holding its breath. The old saying that you could have heard a pin drop, was in play. As he sat on the stool, you saw it buckle but then everyone exhaled as it held up.

It was a comic moment, and I recall him laughing about it at the after debate drinks in the pub across the road.

I don’t think Parekura will go down in history as one of the more effective Ministers, but he was a very decent man who cared greatly for his constituents and for Maoridom. He was the most well known Labour Maori MP, and his death will leave a big hole for them – both personally and politically.

He is the third MP to die in office, since MMP came in. Green List MP Rod Donald died just after the 2005 general election aged 48, and National Tamaki MP Allan Peachey died of cancer just before the 2011 general election, aged 62.

There will of course be a by-election now in Ikaroa-Rawhiti. I’ll focus on that in a later post. For now, my thoughts are with those who were close to Parekura. He was a popular member of Labour’s caucus, and this will be a very sad time for them.

And another Labour MP defies Goff

March 24th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

You really have to wonder about the security of Goff’s position. A second of his MPs has contradicted him on his stance with regards to Hone. Radio Waatea reports:

Mr Goff says while he made the decision himself, it was unanimously backed by the Labour caucus.

But Mr Horomia says it’s still a long time before the election.

“You know that’s the line at the moment. What’s interesting is Hone hasn’t got a party so the issue was about working with Hone’s numbers. It’s about the numbers on the day of the election. It’s no point (saying) who is going to be the last cab off the rank and then get to the end of an election and you’re scrambling, but at this stage that’s our line,” Mr Horomia says.

Hone Harawira worked under him for six years in the Labour Department, and he has no problems working with the Tai Tokerau MP.

What is staggering about these comments is they are so easily dismissing what their Leader has said as just a temporary stance.

The biggest losers

July 1st, 2010 at 5:36 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports the winners of the weight loss challenge amongst Maori MPs:

  • Tau Henare – from 104 kg to 96 kg – 8 kgs
  • Mita Ririnui – from 100 kg to 92 kg – 8 kgs
  • Kelvin Davis – from 113 kg to 106 kg – 7 kgs
  • Shane Jones – from 109 kg to 103 kg – 6 kg
  • Simon Bridges – from 88 kg to 86 kg – 2 kg
  • Parekura Horomia – from 155 kg to did not report
  • Hone Harawira – from 107 kg to did not report
  • Paul Quinn – from 112 kg to did not report

Expenses et al

June 19th, 2010 at 7:38 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former Labour ministers Mita Ririnui and Parekura Horomia were sent 186 reminders and requests between them over their credit card spending, a Weekend Herald investigation has found.

Official figures made public this month show Mr Horomia, MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti, was the most lax of all MPs. Between 2003 and 2008, officials had to send him 94 requests for receipts or reminders of the spending rules.

Close behind, list MP Mr Ririnui received 88 requests between 2004 and 2008, and four letters requesting more details of spending.

That is basically a reminder every three weeks, that got ignored. It’s not three strikes and you’re out – it’s 94 strikes and you remain on the front bench.

Meanwhile, Progressive MP Jim Anderton this week repaid more than $700 in personal expenses put on ministerial credit cards during a trip to Rome and Malaysia in 2008.

Mr Anderton said he was “deeply upset” the money had not been repaid immediately after the eight-day trip.

He had written a cheque for the outstanding amount after the trip.

“Inexplicably, the cheque was mislaid.”

Jim said it was outrageous to expect him to pay using two separate credit cards when checking out. The above shows exactly why that should happen – because them there is no chance of reimbursement cheques being “mislaid”.

True dedication

May 25th, 2009 at 2:01 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

MPs Shane Jones and Parekura Horomia attended the march but stopped off at McDonalds before carrying on their way.

Must have been a very tough march!

A parliamentary day

December 8th, 2008 at 7:55 pm by David Farrar

My day started in Auckland. I stayed up there for an extra day as National’s Northern Region had its Christmas Party on Sunday Night. The Regional Chair spoke about how well the Party did locally n both the party and the electorate vote.

John Key gave a very funny speech. There were serious parts about the future of mass membership parties, the financial crisis etc but I remember the part about his son ringing him up a few days ago, from the place he was babysitting at and complaining he was hungry. When John asked what he was meant to do, he was informed that as Prime Minister he can surely arrange for some pizzas of he can run the country. The story continued with how impressed the Pizza Hut staff were to have the PM call in an order, and now that they have his cellphone number they let him know how he is doing in the job 🙂

This morning I was on the same flight as Helen Clark, and in fact was set to be just behind her in the queue to board the plane. I was just about to greet her automatically with “Good Morning Prime Minister” until I realised that of course is no longer the salutation. I actually had to stop and think for quite a few seconds about what the correct greeting would be, and settled on “Miss Clark”. But by then she had left the line.

Headed into Parliament a bit after 1 pm, and for the first time in nine years sat on the side of the visitors gallery opposite the Government benches. It was nice to be able to see the Nats back on the Speaker’s right.

There was a TV set up in the gallery, so we could see the three Commissioners cross the road and walk through the grounds and corridors of Parliament to the House. The Governor-General is not allowed in the House so he sends three Commissioners to do the opening. They were the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief High Court Judge.

Dame Sian read out the various proclamations and asked the MPs to elect a Speaker. The Commissioners then exited the House and the Clerk of the House proceeded to swear MPs in. They come up in alphabetical order and are grouped by whether they swear or affirm the oath and on whether they speak in English or Maori.

Lots of MPs did modified versions of the oath, as their way to try and score a point. It got a bit tiresome really, as after they did their version, they then did the official one. Several MPs tried to add on references to the Treaty of Waitangi (including a European MP), and Sio tried it in Samoan before doing it in English. I did have to laugh though at Hone Harawira’s one which bore no resemblance at all to the oath as he went on about a duty to Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa, his constituents, the public etc. He then did the much shorter standard one.

The funniest part was when they called Darren Hughes and Parekura Horomia up together. This was a slip up as Parekura was to do it in Maori, and Darren in English. Rather than make a fuss Darren said it in Maori with Parekura – he didn’t even do a Milli Vanilli but managed the words well.

Then the election of Speaker at around 2.45 pm. Lockwood was the only nominee and certainly looked the part. He did a really good acceptance speech and referred to being in Parliament when Speaker Gerry Wall threw out the PM and the Opposition Leader on the same day. He said he hoped not to emulate that record but would do so if it was necessary!

This then led to several other MPs telling uncomplimentary stories of Speaker Wall (generally regarded as worst Speaker in living memory) as they congratulated Lockwood. Talking of Lockwood, Audrey Young has a blog on what she sees as his strengths and weaknesses for the job.

Normally after the House elects a Speaker-Elect (believe it or not the GG has to confirm them in the role), the Speaker-Elect travels to Government House to be confirmed and ask the GG to respect the privileges of the House etc. But as Government House is being renovated, we got a rare treat and MPs (and their guests) got to witness the ceremony being held in the Legislative Council Chamber. Took around half an hour all up.

As we were waiting I was chatting to a Minister about special votes and overseas votes and how he was keen for me to do some analysis around them. As I agreed to do so, one of the new Labour MPs sitting just in front of us turns around, and says she’d like a copy also 🙂

Actually I’ll probably stick it on the blog once I do finish it, as it is all sourced from public information.

After the GG/Speaker ceremony, there was a function in the State Banquet Hall, hosted by the GG. Got to meet a few of the new MPs I had not yet met, which was nice. What was funny was when talking to one new Labour MP and her husband, the photographer asked if we wanted our photo taken together. I quipped that it would probably knock 1,000 votes off her majority so we declined 🙂

Finally as I was leaving Parliament, I had the good fortune to be on the forecourt just as Emma Daken arrived. I blogged about Emma a few days ago – she is walking the length of New Zealand to raise money for cystric fibrosis research. MP Katrina Shanks pointed her out to me. Katrina, like many MPs, has been really supportive of Emma’s efforts. She’s now raised $21,000 but still some way off the $50,000 target. You can donate online to here at this site. I find what people like Emma are doing is really inspiring in its selflessness.

So a pretty full day. Tomorrow is the state opening and the GG reads out the speech from the throne. After that I expect the House will elect a Deputy Speaker, two Assistant Speakers and also appoint MPs to Select Committees. They will then start the address in reply debate, but also go into urgency to introduce and pass some of the laws they promised.

The maiden speeches will start tomorrow, and the best speeches you will ever hear in Parliament are (in my order) valedictory speeches, maiden speeches and then speeches on conscience issues. With 35 MPs that is a heck of a lot of maiden speeches (I guess Sir Roger won’t get one though) so I doubt I can cover them all, but will try to cover a few of them anyway.

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.

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.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti debate tonight on TVNZ7

October 16th, 2008 at 5:31 pm by David Farrar

I’m up in Gisborne for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti televised debate between Parekura Horomia and Derek Fox tonight.

It is a highly symbolic debate. If the Maori Party can win additional seats they are very likely to hold the balance of power.

The debate start at 9.30 pm tonight and if you don’t have Freeview can watch it online. It will also be on TVNZondemand after it finishes.

Raybon on Parekura

April 13th, 2008 at 12:39 pm by David Farrar

Raybon Kan uses humour as a weapon of mass destruction against Parekura Horomia:

By the way, here are the multichoice options for the NCEA question: Why do children go to school without breakfast?

A. They’re so poor there’s no food in the house.

B. They snoozed and losed.

C. The acting education minister dropped by and ate their breakfast.

D. They’re planning to steal lunch.

And it’s not like he didn’t have clues. The question he was being asked, was about child poverty. The answer was in the question. If this was Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, this was round one, about the level of What Is Your Name?

Indeed, it was a answer of immensely stupid proportions!

So, here’s what Parekura did.


Don’t admit anything. Wait till your lawyer shows up. Oh God, they’re asking a question. It’s an accusation. An attack. Deny.

“There’s a host of reasons why…”

Think, think. Deny.

“…why students…”

Buy time.

“…and pupils…”

Nice, students and pupils.

And then, it came to him.

“They’re trying to stay trim.”


Speaks for itself.

HoS on smugness

April 13th, 2008 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday editorial labels Horomia’s assertion some kids are going without breakfast to stay trim, as symptomatic of smugness in the ranks:

Responding to such a serious and heartbreaking issue as child poverty with glibness is something Prime Minister Helen Clark should have stamped out well before election year. The sight of our most amply proportioned cabinet minister suggesting hungry children are simply dieting was reminiscent of a certain French consort’s exhortation to “let them eat cake”.

I think the TV footage would make an excellent political advertisement!

As subsequent reports revealed, recent surveys show half of Maori households are sometimes, or often, running out of food. One in five Maori families is sometimes or often using food banks. Forty per cent of Pacific children go to school without breakfast – and not for slimming purposes. Those figures will only increase in the current climate of rising food, mortgage and petrol prices.

Derek Fox will be happy Parekura is so out of touch.

The Minister’s gaffe, though, is symptomatic of Labour’s wider issues. The party of the left sounds increasingly smug or out of touch with its core constituents. During its three terms in power, a number of its MPs have forgotten who put them there.

No different to a year ago when they denied there was an underclass.

An in touch Minister

April 11th, 2008 at 7:06 am by David Farrar

Parekura Horomia was asked yesterday about why 20,000 children a week are being fed at school, instead of home, for breakfast.

He replied that one of the “host of reasons” is because they are trying to stay trim.

Yes obviously five year olds are already into dieting to stay trim, so they are babe or dude magnets.

And just as obviously the proper way to diet as a five year old is to not have breakfast at home, but to have it at school instead. Because that helps you to stay trim.