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Defending Nanaia Mahuta?

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 pm, December 4th, 2011 - 33 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , , ,

I’m afraid that I don’t know much about Nanaia Mahuta. In fact probably way less than I should have, bearing in mind that she stayed in the Labour and didn’t decamp over the Foreshore and Seabed.

But there was this post “in support of nanaia” at the Hand Mirror that I found interesting so I’m quoting a large part of it here concentrating on the person  (warning it looks like stargazer doesn’t like capitals..).

so the big thing for labour party members over the next couple of weeks is the caucus leadership vote. it’s certainly been getting a lot of media coverage, and that can only be a good thing. i’ve just watched the closeup thing online, with the three davids & i thought they all did really well.

but it needs to be said – these are all white men. very capable white me to be sure, but it’s still a pity that there aren’t any women in the race for the leadership. that’s a problem that the party needs to be concerned about – the development and promotion of it’s very capable women MPs.

the only woman we’ve seen mentioned at all is nanaia mahuta, who will be deputy leader if mr cunliffe is successful. now i do know nanaia reasonably well, seeing as hauraki-waikato is in our region and i come across her pretty often. i think she’s an excellent choice. she has experience and she’s extremely capable. she’s been a minister and performed well in that role (i dealt with her both as minister of customs and minister of youth affairs, and found her to be helpful and willing to listen). she was on labour’s front bench. she’s also great in the house. i saw her in action in her local community at the funeral of te arikinui dame te atairangikaahu. she was seemed to be managing affairs and working extremely hard.

nanaia has had a low profile in the last couple of years and that’s by choice. she had suffered the loss of a baby in 2008, but carried on to fight the 2008 election and retain her seat. she had taken the risk of not being on the party list in 2008, so that she could have a clear mandate from her electorate. that she got, even though the maori party had taken all but one of the other maori seats, that of parkura horomia. since then, she has given birth to a lovely baby boy, and it’s not surprising that she didn’t want the pressure of the front bench just after giving birth.

she’s retained her seat again in 2011 with a bigger majority. she’s now ready to take up the role of deputy leader, and when it comes to merit, she has plenty of it. she’s another person who is full of integrity, she’s not afraid to speak out, and she has won some real gains for her constituents. aside from the fact that i would naturally be really happy to see a woman of colour in such a position, i can also say that i’d be really happy to see this particular person in the position. she fully deserves it and i’m sure will do really well if she were to get the job.

From memory, the deputy leader is a position voted by caucus position, the most that the elected leader can do is to indicate their preference. So she can be elected regardless if David Cunliffe gets in.

Of course there is the view of John Tamihere. Stuff reports

Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta has hit back at John Tamihere, after the former MP criticised her selection as running mate for David Cunliffe’s leadership bid.

Tamihere said Cunliffe picked Mahuta only because she is female and Maori.

“The only thing she’s lacking is she doesn’t have a limp. Then he would have got the disabled [vote] too. That’s the truth of it and that’s the way it smacked as soon as I saw it.”

Mahuta told the NZ Herald Tamihere was a failed politician.

“John’s comments show male parochialism is alive and well in Maoridom. If John Tamihere thinks that Maori women should be in the home cooking kai, then he’s wrong,” Mahuta said.

Despite her grief at the deceased mirage that was her Act party, Cactus Kate weighed in with

And no race does scrapping better in New Zealand than Maori. When they are fighting each other everyone else should duck for cover.

John Tamihere (aka JT) tried to be clever in attacking Nanaia Mahuta. Mahuta has a reputation for being a slow moving born-to-rule slug. Her political career has been marred by underachievement followed by personal tragedy to a small hiatus due to the birth of her child. JT has a reputation for being a mercurially talented but loose talkback boofhead.

Thanks to JT she’s now lost that rep and is in the game. With a “cop this beatch”. Good on her.

From that I would guess that she only knows Maori from stereotypes. Mind you you’d have to worry about CK these days. I last saw her on this site trying to hock off a slightly overused Don Brash and without a hefty cash bribe transfer fee as an inducement to take him off Act’s hands. 😈

I still know as little about Nanaia as I did at the start. But I don’t think that Nanaia needs much defending – she can do it herself. Certainly from John Tamihere who I consider is a stupid buffon who isn’t worth listening to for any political advice. After all who else would be idiotic enough to do interviews with Ian Wishart?

33 comments on “Defending Nanaia Mahuta?”

  1. IrishBill: and with that Dad was gone for a year. See you xmas 2012 dad.

  2. mac1 2

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde; Tamihere interviewing Wisheart? – “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneditable.”

  3. Feck off d4j.

    Nanaia has intelligence and style and principles.  She and Turia were the only two Labour MPs to vote against the Foreshore and Seabed Act.  Although I personally thought the legislation was appropriate she thought differently and represented the interests of her people.  She did it in a principled way, she did not make a fuss and said to Labour that she was doing this.  But after this was finished she then continued her job of representing her electorate.

    She has considerable skill and her reach with Maori is significant and deep.

    She is a perfect choice.  Unless you want to marginalise Maori and forget about the Treaty. 

    EDIT: Fair enough Irish.

    • nadir 3.1

      Small point of order, you cant re-write history. Mahuta voted against the first and second readings but rolled over and voted for the F&S act on the third and final reading.

  4. Ianupnorth 4

    By showing Cactus Kate dislikes her provides clear vindication of why she would be a good choice for deputy IMHO

    • pollywog 4.1

      …except it’s Helloooo Jacinda CacK hates and Nanaia she has a grudging respect for on the basis of one well served diss to JT.

      I’d go more for Ardern as deputy just cos she’s easier on the eye and could possibly bring in a few slacker votes of both sexes.

      Help soften Cunliffes hard edges too. Mahuta just looks angus and scary.

    • felix 4.2

      Nah Ian, it really doesn’t matter what Cactus thinks of her. Don’t buy into all that.

    • Cactus Kate 4.3

      Oh for f***s sake I said nothing of the sort. I actually applauded her for sticking up for herself.
      Pollywog below understands that, but then launches into a sexist tirade that of course Labour should pick the chick that is easier on (his) eye regardless of their ability. Charming.

    • lprent 4.4

      In her usual reverse complimentary way CK supported her – see the last sentence of the quote and the original post. Of course the second to last para of her full post was somewhat snide. But CK does have a reputation to maintain…

      • pollywog 4.4.1

        No one does snide better and that post in Cack’s comment box is priceless.

        Mahuta’s comeback to Tamihere seems a bit mean spirited though and makes the party caucus seem even more like a cliquey elitist club.

        • lprent

          From what I know about JT, it is exactly what he probably acts like.

          Amongst Maori young males I have observed a group of strutting peacocks with mirror fixations. JT reminds me of them from his actions. But he isn’t young.

          I don’t think it has much to do with a clique. It is more of an exaspration at a silly boy.

          I thought Mahuta was far more restrained than I oukd have been.

          • LynW

            I thought Nanaia Mahuta’s response to JT was totally appropriate and well justified. I also thought she spoke well when standing beside Cunliffe and was questioned briefly by the media. As far as pollywogs comments of Adern being ‘easier on the eye’, again totally inappropriate and I am sure repellent to Adern herself. I found CK’s supportive comments of Nanaia’s response surprising and refreshing.

            This leadership debate is very difficult. Reading all the comments here and elsewhere while helpful has also been more confusing than I had hoped. Some excellent arguments have been put forward for both men. We know labour needs a major rethink and regrouping of the troops. Some would say a major overhaul is necessary.
            What if we likened it to major surgery? You are requiring a major operation for a serious life threatening condition. You have the choice of two surgeons…one very likeable, new to the area, comes with a history of being an excellent surgeon in a field similar but not quite the same as what you need, but a very warm, friendly bloke who you relate to well. He is also not closely linked to the hospital which appears to be having major organisational issues. The other local surgeon comes with a proven record of excellence in the specific surgery you require and from what you have seen yourself puts himself across very well professionally and appears to have a thorough grasp of your situation but there are mumblings about his interpersonal skills with his inner staff. Who do you choose?

            I guess we will find out soon enough!

            • pollywog

              As far as pollywogs comments of Adern being ‘easier on the eye’, again totally inappropriate and I am sure repellent to Adern herself.

              oh please…

              I reckon Hellooooo Jacinda could take a compliment and not be repelled but on point, lets not forget the demographic Labour needs to woo. It can’t afford not to use every weapon in its arsenal and that would be something Ardern I’m sure understands.

              I’d be expecting Nikki Kaye to start popping up behind Key in question time now too.

  5. seeker 5

    Nanaia Mahuta impressed me with her oratory skill in Labour’ closing election address. Her ennunciation, expression and eloquence gave her remarks depth and sincerity. I thought she would be great in the house.
    Then she tore Tamihere off a strip – –
    Pertinent,quick comments which carried gravitas and put the flailing little sexist poppinjay firmly in his place. Loved it. (Please let her loose on Paul Henry at some point)

    Further to this, just before she had to leave to have her precious little baby, I had occasion to ring Parliament in desperation at the latest rise in my electricity bill under Contact.(could have been the ETS thing, when they added it immediately the next day, without giving me any notice and after Key said they had no need to add it at all. I left Contact after this.). Naniai was the opposition spokes person on energy at the time I believe. She actually got in touch with me to help. I thought that was pretty good to say the least. More than Nick Smith,my local MP who just sent me a generic letter saying that I had a tax rise or something to help all the acronyms-ETS, GST etc. No I didn’t , or if I did, it was so negligible that it didn’t help at all . Can’t wait for the other electricity companies to join Contact. Then I will have nowhere to go. Total stitch up!)

    I think Nanaia will do vey well for Labour .She has good Parliamentary experience now, will have much knowledge on vast areas of Kiwi society, and has the ability to connect well with many. This is why David Cunliffe might have chosen her. I think it is a fresh and winning team.

  6. bbfloyd 6

    … shearer will have spotted her value as cover in the event of an ambush instantly… that, and her ‘mad dog eyes’ (wikapedia bio) with which to glower at people with to unsettle them….. makes it tenable should the caucus push them together…..

  7. gnomic 7

    The small but more or less perfectly formed Tamihere is largely a legend in his own lunchtime I should have thought. Or does his claim to fame lie in bringing the term ‘front bums’ to prominence? It seems this is how Westies refer to their women. Very very odd. It does go to show that a week is a long time in politics. Monday a future prime minister, by Friday a gone goose. Surely yet another case of who cares what he thinks. If indeed any thought is involved. File with Laws and Henry.

    Now oddly enough JT didn’t call Mr Cunliffe ‘smarmy’. That might have stuck. Oh wait, yes he did, by implication at least.

    Smarmy. ‘A certain attitude often accompanied by a squinty look and a superior smile that makes you instantly hate a person.’ Urban dictionary. Hmmm, there could be a problem for Dave C here.

    So far I’m not digging it, the contest for leadership of the Labour Party. Seems like a case of nobody wins.

    ‘Our problem is not that [the unions] have too much influence. It’s the membership which has shrunk around them. And so we need to build the Labour Party up to be a broader, bigger church. The Labour Party at the moment, the rank and file, when I go along to those meetings, frankly, it’s boring. We should be- We are a progressive party. We’ve got a huge tradition of changing New Zealand in big, big ways, but we don’t have those debates any more. That’s what we should be aiming for the Labour Party to become.’

    David Shearer 4th December 2011

    Hmmm. Labour a credible alternative by the next election. Good luck with that.

    As for Ms Mahuta, well who knows? Not much evidence either way. Slug or superstar, you choose.

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    “It seems this is how Westies refer to their women.”

    It was at this point in your post that I thought this person has no bloody idea then I read the rest of your post, yup no bloody Idea!

  9. Craig Glen Eden 9

    Its really interesting watching failed politicians like Tamihere and Jackson attack Nanaia. Its all good while people listen to them rant, but in Nanaia we have a person a Maori woman who very realistically could be the Deputy Prime- Minister of NZ and suddenly they are all anti? One has to ask why?

    You can bet your bottom dollar if this was Tamihere who had been recognized by Cunliffe he would be all smiles and charm, telling every women who would listen how good it was for Maori.

    I watched Tamihere pre election 99 at the Wellington Labour Party Election ( you couldnt not watch) he needed one seat for him and one for his super ego he was like an over excited 15 year old that had just been selected for the school first fifteen and was now sitting with the seventh formers. I wish Nania and David C all the best and well done to David Cunliffe for recognizing a colleague who has gone about her business representing her constituents learning the ins and outs of Politics and Parliament without the need to be saying look at me lok at me, look how clever I am.

  10. nadir 10

    And yet john tamihere has done more for poor urban maori in west auckland than every political groupie on this website combined. More important to be politically staunch than effective at delivering services to the coalface?

  11. Hami Shearlie 11

    Nanaia slapping down JT! Lovely to imagine that! That would raise more money than the Mair/Laws fight! It would be nice to squash that little bug! I never trusted JT in parliament, there was just something duplicitous about him. Too fond of himself by half! Reminds me of Brutus! Treacherous type of person, always looking for personal advantage IMHO!

  12. Arandar 12

    I do know Nanaia pretty well.

    I watched her campaign in 2005 when she was a tough, informed and dignified candidate – not to mention winner. Ditto in 2008 and 2011. She has a good brain, a relevant education, experience as an Electorate MP and a Minister, many friends, no obvious enemies (other than JT, perhaps, and his opposition is more likely a generalised dislike of successful, powerful women don’t you think?) and a supportive personal and professional team at her back.

    Anyone who can take and hold a Maori Electorate in three elections, at the same time as effectively work for the benefit of the wider constituency of New Zealand General, as well as maintain her personal & professional relationships and friendships must necessarily be worth consideration for any position she puts her hand up for, I’d say.

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