Little appoints himself arbiter of who is kaupapa Māori

Radio NZ reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little claims the Māori Party is not kaupapa Māori after hitching its wagon to National, as a new deal between the Māori parties is signed.

Speaking to Morning Report today, Mr Little said the Māori Party hitched its wagon to National, but nothing had changed in terms of Māori over-representation in prisons and unemployment – so it had no influence over National.

Little sounds very desperate here.

First of all the Maori Party has never chosen National. If they hold the balance of power they would consult their members on who to support. All they have chosen is to serve in Government when offered places by National, even though they were not needed to govern.

Secondly is Andrew Little really saying that the sole test of effectiveness is Maori unemployment and Maori over-representation in prison? Not Maori incomes, Maori education achievement etc etc. And is Little saying that the last Labour Government did nothing for Maori as in 2008 Maori were over-represented in prisons and unemployment?

He said they had conceded on every important issue.

Actually in the 49th Parliament the Maori Party voted more often with Labour than National. They voted with National 50% of the time and Labour 57% of the time.

Mr Little said Labour’s Māori MPs were an integral element of the party.

Really. Tariana Turia left because she found the opposite.

Mr Harawira said the Labour leader’s comments about his deal with the Māori Party were inappropriate and quite nasty.

He told Morning Report he found it quite astounding how arrogant Labour leaders could be when talking about what Māori needed.

“I think what Māori really need is to not have white guys like Andrew Little telling us what to do, and what our aspirations should be

Could you imagine the outrage from Labour if Bill English said that certain Maori MPs were not principled Maori.

Mr Davis said voting for Mana was a vote for National.

A Donald Trump like lie.

UPDATE: A great response from Nikki Kaye:

I strongly disagree with the comments made by Andrew Little that the Maori Party are in his words “hopeless”. I think he is condescending and hugely ignorant of the work and gains that the Maori Party have made in Parliament. I believe New Zealand is far better off as a country having a Maori Party that can work with both the centre left and the centre right to progress issues for Maori in New Zealand.

While there is still so much more to do for Maori and I acknowledge there are issues where the Nats don’t always agree with the Maori Party. I have personally sat at the cabinet table or met with their MPs from Dame Tariana Turia to Sir Pita Sharples to Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox – MP – Māori Party and seen them make their case and win on a huge number issues. These issues include progressing Treaty settlements, improving Maori representation on a range of entities, reducing smoking and progressing towards a smoke free New Zealand (Dame Tari tirelessly championed that), reforming Maori land legislation, improving Maori achievement and ensuring greater investment in Kura, social housing, issues afffecting children, whanau ora and language to name a few issues.

No Government in history has made the progress on Treaty settlements that we have with the Māori Party. The last Labour Government slowed progress massively in this area. Treaty Negotiations Minister Finlayson has led a process where nearly 50 Māori groups have finalised a Deed of Settlement. With some of those settlements still awaiting formalisation through accompanying legislation, and only a small amount of those negotiations started under Labour government. These settlements are crucial for the economic and social progress for Maori.

The progress in education for Maori under our government is getting better and better. For instance the latest Early Childhood Education participation rates among the three largest iwi, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu, range from 93.1 to 97.5 percent. These, and other iwi, are tracking close to achieving the Government’s Better Public Service (BPS) target of 98 percent for ECE participation.

For all three iwi, NCEA Level 2 achievement rates have improved compared to 2014. Achievement rates for the three largest iwi in 2015 ranged from 69.4 percent to 76.6 percent, up from 66.9 to 72.9 percent in 2014. Recently, in youth development I announced a significant youth partnership with Ngai Tahu.

There is still much more to do for Maori and all New Zealanders. However, I believe the Labour Party’s strategy of criticising and trying to kick out of Parliament one of the most constructive, effective and hard working group of Maori leaders in the Maori Party is not good for New Zealand. Both sides of the political spectrum benefit from their voice and the initiatives that they deliver. I understand there will be contest around the Maori seats and Andrew Little wants his Labour candidates to win them. However, my concern with Andrew Little is his constant ability to overreach and be extreme with his comments like calling the Maori Party hopeless when they are not. Helen Clark was someone who could be much more balanced that’s why people respected her.

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