Audrey Young writes:
Tariana Turia arrived in Parliament with a fearsome reputation after leading the occupation of Pakaitore (Moutou Gardens) in Wanganui. She leaves to the sorts of accolades reserved for few.
The transformation of Tariana Turia from scary Maori radical occupying public land to a distinguished and respected Minister has been remarkable.
Attorney General General Chris Finlayson has described her as his favourite politician – “utterly principled and a very decent woman.”
“The Foreshore and Seabed Act is Helen Clark’s legacy to New Zealand; its repeal is Tariana Turia’s and I have to say that Mrs Turia is by far the greater politician.”
I wouldn’t go that far, but I would say the Foreshore and Seabed Act was a hysterical own goal from Labour. They should have merely appealed the court ruling, rather than legislated over it.
Having worked with Naitonal for six years, Mrs Turia developed her favourites.
“I’ve really like Bill English. I have admired his capacity to understand and to think about things. I think he has quite a strong social justice attitude about things. Chester Borrows is another one. Quite strong social justice leaning. And I’ve always like Nikki Kaye. She’s got a mind of her own and at cabinet committee, she basically gives expression to it and I like that and she’s young.”
I think it has been a good thing, having Ministers working with the Maori Party.
Mrs Turia’s patience was tested by Mana leader Hone Harawira when he was part of the Maori Party and began criticizing the relationship with National.
She said he had always wanted to go with National when given the chance.
He pointed to things up in the north that happened under a National Government. He knew that all the health and social services, kura, kohanga reo, waananga, all grew out of National Government and he wanted to go with them.
“The issue for Hone is that Hone is not a team player. He has to be the leader. At that time, that was the problem.
This is a point often overlooked. Hone did not leave the Maori Party over direction and policy. He left because he wanted to become leader.