Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, June 28th, 2013 - 14 comments
Categories: by-election 2013, campaigning, greens, labour, mana-party, Maori Issues, maori party, Maori seats, poverty, sustainability, unemployment, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:
I’ve been looking around at what the media are saying about the by-election. Some are making claims about the impact on the Labour Party of a loss and/or low vote: from the left and the right. Supporters of each of the main contenders are talking up heir chances. Some candidates have made some important statements of policy. All the left-leaning candidates have something to recommend them.
RNZ points out that there are 7 candidates for tomorrow’s by-election (polls open at 9am):
…the race is really between those from political parties already represented in Parliament.
Those candidates are: Meka Whaitiri (Labour), Na Raihania (Maori Party), Te Hamua Nikora (Mana) and Marama Davidson (Green Party).
The other candidates are Michael Appleby (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) and two independents – Maurice Wairau and Adam Holland.
The NZ Herald provides a brief comment about each of the 4 main contenders:
Green Party, Marama Davidson:
[...] Sustainable jobs that protect our environment are my priority. We can create thousands of jobs in forestry, manufacturing and cleaning up our environment; I have a blueprint to deliver them. I’ll also defend our tamariki. We will deliver nurses in schools and insulated homes to keep them well and ready to learn. [...]
Mana Party, Te Hamua Nikora:
[...] despite Uncle Para’s efforts our people lag behind in education, housing and employment. Mana will always stick up for our people and they have great ideas about how to address the issues. [...]
Maori Party, Na Rongowhakaata Raihania:
[...] Our vision is one where every child is cared for and clothed, every parent can provide for tamariki, whanau are employed, and every grandparent can feel warm and safe in their own homes. The Maori Party gives a voice for Maori to speak as equals in Parliament and to operate under tikanga Maori. [...]
Labour Party, Meka Whaitiri:
[...] Since 2008, unemployment has risen 2 per cent; manufacturing has laid off 40,000 people; there are empty state homes throughout the rohe, including 106 in Maraenui. [...] I’m standing for a major party that will form the Government next year. I’ll fight to get the Maori Affairs portfolio back at the Cabinet table where it once was, where Parekura fought for it to be.
Hamish Rutherford at NZ Herald is taking the queue from Matthew Hooton and claiming the by-election is a major test of Shearer’s leadership. The Mana Party supporter’s are talking up Mana’s chances, and Matt McCarten claims it is a test of the Maori Party’s support.
TV3 news has reported on the GreenParty policies that candidate Marama Davidson has announced as part of her campaign.
Setting up a conservation corps employing 860 people is part of a Green Party plan to create jobs in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate.
By-election candidate Marama Davidson announced the party’s proposals today, saying they’re a “realistic and achievable” blueprint for sustainable employment.
The conservation corps would cost $39.6 million and would plant trees beside degraded rivers and trap pests.
Other proposals include reinstating the Gisborne rail line, prioritising road maintenance and building safer walkways and cycle tracks, making biofuel from wood waste and supporting reforestation on Maori land.
Metiria Turei is giving Davidson her full support, campaigning with her, and attaching her name to a press release on Davidson’s campaign policies. It’s a strong policy announcement, focusing on creating jobs for the electorate as part of a sustainable economy.
Hone Harawira is talking up the chances of the Mana candidate, Te Hamua, in his press release, foregrounding their intensive, on-the-ground campaigning, and claiming Labour’s support is collapsing around the country.
I can’t find a more recent press release on the Labour Party website about the Labour candidate, but a June 11 Labour Party Press Release, debunks Mana’s poll claims, and talks up jobs for the electorate.
“The first focus for the Labour Māori Caucus in Government will be to serve our people by reversing the negative trends in unemployment and poverty which have increased under the National Party’s watch.
“Meka has the skills and resilience required to weather the political storms which will lie in the void left by the absence of the Māori Party and an unpredictable future for the Mana Party.
“We are looking forward to Meka joining our team because we share the same issues of concern such as jobs for our whānau, better opportunities for rangatahi and unlocking the potential of iwi post-settlement assets.
And Clare Curran enthusiastically endorsed Meka Whaitiri’s suitability for the job, in an intro to Meka’s post on Red Alert back on June 11th. I’d like to see more detail on what the Labour Party plans to do with the empty state houses in the electorate, and how they plan to reduce poverty and increase employment opportunities.
A Maori Party press release, their candidate Na Raihania argues against caps on university education funding for older Maori, as often Maori get to higher education by a different path than other people. As a “long time fighter for workers’ rights”, Na Raihania also supports the unions’ call for an improvement in workers’ rights, especially as regards health and safety in the forestry sector. And he wants “surplus state houses ” to be sold to low income Maori.
Affordable housing is an issue that needs attending to for low income Maori. However, these days I didn’t think any state houses were “surplus”.
The four main contenders have an excellent track record in their work for their communities, and they have highlighted many important issues that need tackling to improve the lives of Maori, especially for those on low incomes, those wanting jobs or education opportunities, and those in need of affordable housing.