And Tau makes 15

April 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

National MP Tau Henare has announced his retirement from politics on Twitter.

The veteran MP announced he will retire at the election.

The 53-year-old former Maori Affairs Minister made the announcement via Twitter this morning, saying: “Well, I’m on my way to caucus to inform my colleagues of the @NZNationalParty that I intend to retire at the upcoming General Election.”

Henare was first elected to Parliament in 1993 elections for New Zealand First in the former Northern Maori electorate.

He is currently chair of the Maori Affairs select committee and a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee.

I knew Tau when he was the NZ First Maori Affairs Minister. Not too many Ministers would be sitting in their office with some of their staff having a sing-along with a guitar. Tau was actually an effective Minister, and I’ve always been a bit disappointed he never got a chance to be a Minister again.

“I could have put my name in to be nominated but at the end of the day [15 years] is a good haul for a fella like me.

15 years is a good spell. Some in other parties seem to think 33 years isn’t enough! I’ll miss not having Tau around – lots of fun, and he was also a key MP in getting votes for Louisa Wall’s marriage bill from the Nats.

He would be the 15th National MP to retire at or before the election, with the most high profile among those resignations being Health Minister Tony Ryall.

Hopefully lots of new faces in caucus after the election. So far the quality of candidates selected has been good, but many more to go.

Matthew Beveridge has a collection of tweets from colleagues across the House wishing Tau well.

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No Speaker Tau

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

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That would have been a fascinating discussion.

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

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

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Over-hyping

September 11th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The headline in the Herald was:

Henare not up to the job, indicates PM

The first paragraph was:

Prime Minister John Key has given a brutal assessment of what he thinks of National MP Tau Henare’s qualifications for the job of Speaker.

So what brutal things did John Key say about Tau?

 Mr Key said National would work with other Parliamentary parties to find somebody who was acceptable to them

That’s it? Out of that statement you run a headline of PM indicates Henare “not up to the job” and call that a “brutal assessment”.

It is quite reasonable to do some analysis of context and speculate that the PM’s comments indicate he may not think Henare would be acceptable to other parties. Reading between the lines is part of the job.

But you can take that too far. In no way did the PM indicate Tau is “not up to the job” let alone make a “brutal assessment” of him. How can anyone call his fairly bland comment a brutal assessment? There is also a difference between being supported by other parties, and being “up to the job”. Before he became Speaker, Labour were very hesitant about Lockwood becoming Speaker – and he turned out to be brilliant.

A brutal assessment would be saying “MP X is not up to the job of Speaker, and would not be acceptable to Parliament”.

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Westies never change

March 8th, 2012 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

A quick bite of chocolate cake and a glass of champagne was all National MP Tau Henare had time for as he headed straight back to work after marrying his partner at Parliament yesterday.

The list MP sprang a surprise on the House, which is sitting extended hours this week, by marrying Ngaire Brown in the former Maori affairs select committee room during the dinner break.

West Coast-Tasman MP Chris Auchinvole acted as celebrant and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett gave a speech on behalf of friends and colleagues.

Congrats Tau.

About 30 National MPs attended the ceremony, along with members of the Labour, NZ First and Maori parties. Labour Maori Affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia gave a mihi, or formal speech. …

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean described the service as beautiful, although she reserved special praise for Ms Bennett’s speech.

“Her speech was more about farting than anything else.”

The mind boggles.

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Henare’s row

September 8th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Anna Leask at the NZ Herald reports:

A furious Auckland mum has complained to the Prime Minister and police after an “abusive and degrading” driving incident involving National MP Tau Henare.

Cicelia Holliday told the Herald she was “absolutely gobsmacked” by the incident and wants Mr Henare to be called to account for his behaviour. …

She said she was driving with her 12-year-old daughter along Ash St in Avondale just after 10.30am last Thursday when a car in the lane beside her suddenly pulled in front of her without indicating the lane change.

“I reacted by quickly blaring my horn to draw attention to the fact that they had created a ‘near miss’,” she wrote to Mr Key.

“I noticed the driver give me the finger though the driver’s window and I couldn’t quite believe it. Then he gave me the finger through the rear window with his left hand.”

Mrs Holliday then noticed the red Audi stationwagon carried Mr Henare’s name and photograph and the National Party logo.

Both drivers stopped at a red light, and Mrs Holliday said Mr Henare wound down his window and started to shout at her.

“He started going on about ‘what happened to common courtesy’ … repeatedly talking over me when I tried to ask him why he hadn’t indicated his intention to move across the lane in front of me.

“He shouted, ‘Do you expect me to stop and let about 10 cars go past?’ and I said, ‘I expect you to indicate your intention to change lanes’.”

The light turned green and Mr Henare drove away.

“I am a National Party supporter, but Mr Henare’s behaviour was reprehensible, to say the least – both his driving and his finger-signing,” Mrs Holliday wrote.

Mr Henare laughed when approached about the complaint, and refused to comment.

“I’m not going to respond to it, quite frankly, I’ll just leave it,” he said.

Mr Henare said he had seen the complaint and knew it had been sent to the police.

When told it had also been sent to the Prime Minister, he said: “The police are more important in this respect. I’m not going to deal with it through the media.”

There are two sides to every incident, so I can’t comment on the specifics of this incident except to say that it is a reminder that not all publicity is good publicity.

But it does remind me of an conversation I had some years ago with an MP, about what changes being elected had meant. They replied that one of the changes was that if some moron cuts you off in traffic (not suggesting this is what happened in this case), you can’t honk your horn or gesture at them as you might once have.

I recall thinking it was another good reason for me to not stand for Parliament!

UPDATE: Tau disputes the claims. Also Whale has linked to other complaints from the complainant about road safety.

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Sleep v Henare

October 19th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance in the Dom Post reports:

National MP Tau Henare is refusing to apologise for calling a teenage select committee submitter “a liar”.

James Sleep, 18, convener of the the Council of Trade Unions youth sector, gave evidence to the transport and industrial relations committee on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill last month.

He said the list MP used “bullyboy tactics” by interrupting his submission and accusing him of lying about his evidence in “a bit of a tirade”.

“I was telling the story about how a worker had been sacked under the 90-day trial … We have several cases … and in my written submission I had talked about another story and he just went off his head really.

“He interrupted and said: ‘You are just a liar, you are bullshitting.’ I went on and he stopped [me] again: ‘You’re just lying, you are misleading us.”‘

I guess clashing with Tau at a select committee is safer than jumping in front of John Hayes’ car!

Mr Sleep said he expected Mr Henare to say sorry. “The letter did not contain an apology to the thousands of young union members I was representing, nor have we – the CTU youth sector – received a personal apology direct from Tau Henare.”

I wonder how many younger union members are aware that James represents them!

Mr Henare said he would not apologise. “Why would I apologise for a little turkey who got found out lying? He was reading out a submission and I was following it and in two parts … it was a completely different story.

“He’ll get over it and if he doesn’t, well, then, too bad … He’ll learn from his experience.”

He added: “Conway and his henchmen weren’t even there, so how could they complain?”

Labour MP Carol Beaumont, who sits on the committee, said she was concerned about how Mr Sleep was treated.

“Leaping into accusing somebody of lying and in quite an aggressive manner, I don’t think is appropriate.”

Mr Henare responded: “Quite frankly, who cares what Carol Beaumont says.”

Oh Tau. Always the diplomat.

Anyway I have a way to resolve this. Presumably there is a recording of the “story” James told to the select committee. Labour should release the recording and James should arrange for the subject of the story to come forward and confirm it is a true story. That way he will prove that he was telling the truth. It will also allow the employer to give their side of the story.

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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
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And the winners are

February 23rd, 2010 at 12:27 pm by David Farrar
  1. Employment Relations (Workers’ Secret Ballot for Strikes) Amendment Bill – Tau Henare
  2. Smart Meters (Consumer Choice) Bill – David Clendon
  3. Minimum Wage (Mitigation of Youth Unemployment) Amendment Bill – Sir Roger Douglas

Tau’s bill requires all votes on strike action to be secret ballots. In theory almost all unions do this anyway, but there has been some dispute on the West Coast recently about whether this does always happen, so it will be good to have it a legal, not a voluntary, requirement to prevent intimidation.

David Clendon’s bill is inherited from Jeanette and regulates the use of smart meters. Not sure of all the details, but it looks to be worth supporting at first reading anyway so a select committee can look into pros and cons.

Sir Roger’s bill will allow the Government to set a different level of minimum wage for younger workers. I welcome it as there is pretty clear evidence that the huge increase in youth unemployment is bext explained by the scrapping of the youth rate for the minimum wage. National will be nervous about being seen to be “cutting wages” but I hope they will support it to select committee, so arguments can be heard about the linkage.

Rather than cut the minimum wage for any current workers, what I would do if I was the Government is just use it to increase the youth minimum wage more slowly than the adult minimum wage.

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Over the top language

August 28th, 2009 at 6:06 am by David Farrar

NZPA make it clear that amongst the insults Tau Henare used to describe Rodney Hide, he called him a cunt.

Now I am no prude, but that is shocking language for an MP to use, especially about another MP. And to say it in front of media on the record is incredibly bad judgement.

I like Tau. He a passionate guy who stands up for what he believes. And his ability to wind up New Zealand First last term was priceless. But his use of the cunt word is pretty inexcusable. Never mind it was about a Minister in the National-led Government.

It’s one thing for a non MP like Matthew Hooton to use the term to refer to Helen Clark’s former Foreign Minister, but Matthew isn’t an MP.

Now Busted Blonde at Roar Prawn reports that Tau has done humble pie on Facebook, which is appropriate.

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Political Awards by Steve Braunias

September 28th, 2008 at 1:19 pm by David Farrar

Steve Braunias hands out his awards for 2008 viewing on Parliament TV. Some of them are:

  1. Biggest Wretch: Winston Peters
  2. Biggest Flirts: Margaret Wilson & Rodney Hide
  3. Best Valedictory Speech: Katherine Rich
  4. Best Smile: Sue Bradford
  5. Best Impersonation of Eternal Youth: David Parker
  6. Cruellest Wit: Michael Cullen
  7. Best Debater: Michael Cullen
  8. Most Acute Ears: Bill English
  9. Best Reply: Tau Henare

That reminds me I must start the traditional Kiwiblog poll for Best MP shortly.

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