Can the Maori Party save itself?

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, April 23rd, 2010 - 57 comments
Categories: maori party - Tags:

On Wednesday, I asked whether we, the Left, could save the Maori Party. The response from Maori Party supporters was a lot of misplaced invective at Labour. Labour isn’t making the Maori Party support a government that is working against its core values. Perhaps, my question should have been – can the Maori Party save itself?

See it’s not by Labour’s standards that the Maori Party is failing. The Maori Party is failing according to its own values, which have always been of the Left as Pita Sharples himself said a few months ago.

You don’t need a whole list of examples of the Maori Party proclaiming one position and then either kowtowing or even actively supporting the opposite policy but as we’re here:

  • The Maori Party said it would only vote for an ETS that strengthened Labour’s one. Instead, they ending up actively supporting an ETS that did the exact opposite. In a debacle that destroyed her mana, Rahui Katene even tried to suppress her own report objecting to National’s ETS once the party decided to sell out.
  • Sharples has called prisons a disgrace and advocated for reform away from our prison-centred correction system. Since he became Associate Minister for Corrections laws lengthening sentences have been passed and the prison population has increased by over 500 (6%) – over half of whom are Maori. Sharple’s ambition now is for an iwi to have a slice of a profit-making prison, locking up even more Maori.
  • The Maori Party lead a 10,000 person hikoi against the Supercity. Since then, and without any of their concerns having been satisfied, the Maori Party has repeatedly voted for the Supercity.
  • Tariana Turia has long been concerned about Maori welfare dependency but she is anti-beneficiary bashing. When National brought beneficiary bashing legislation to the House this year, Turia railed against it in the media but then voted for it. She claimed she had to as Associate Minister for Social Development, which is rubbish, Winston Peters happily voted against the China Free Trade Deal – because. it. was. against. his. party’s. values.
  • Since Turia became Associate Minister, 27,000 more Maori have gone on to benefits and 26,000 Maori have become unemployed.
  • The Maori Party wants to take GST off food. Next month they’ll vote to increase it by 20% not only on food but everything else too.
  • The Maori Party votes confidence and supply for a government that has removed workers’ rights, given a paltry minimum wage increase, weakened environmental protections, and any number of other things that the Maori Party opposes and has even voted against. Yet they continue to support that government.
  • Hone Harawira called National’s offer on the foreshore and seabed “dumb”. Turia said their people would “struggle” to support it and Chris Finlayson has admitted that Maori Party supporters are strongly against the deal at hui. Yet, mark my words, in June or July Harawira, Turia, and the rest will vote for essentially the same deal, with an insignificant sweetener or two thrown in, which they will display with all the pride that the Emperor did his new clothes – just as they did with the ETS.

When we talk about these same failings as National’s fault, National’s broken promises, the Maori Party supporters are right with us. But when it comes to seeing that, as part of the same government, the Maori Party is equally culpable if not more so because they’re acting against their own values, that old doublethink takes over.

I look forward to the responses from the Maori party supporters. Try to get beyond blaming Labour. They’re not the ones in government with the Tories, every day moving further and further from the ideals they used to stand for.

I fear that, despite all the examples above, what we’ll get is a continued denial that the Maori Party even has a problem.

57 comments on “Can the Maori Party save itself?”

  1. Lew 1

    I’d say you’re simply operating from a position of misunderstanding or ignorance as to what those values really are. If it’s by their own values that they’re failing, their electorate will punish them for that failure. They’re not answerable to you.

    I agree that there are problems, but that’s not the end of the world. All political movements, especially brand new political movements, have early failures and difficulties. I think there’s an unwillingness to see the long game — a tendency to judge solely on the basis of tactical policy gains in the short term, leading you to write off the movement after barely half a term in government, and barely five years in existence.

    On the other hand, I would (and have) argue that the way Labour treats the party — and the churlishness shown here — is contrary to its own principles and the principles of liberal progressivism. The difference is that I do understand those values, and Labour is answerable to me — I’m part of its core constituency.

    L

    • Marty G 1.1

      Nah. They’re not answerable to me. They’re answerable by their own values. And I, like anyone,
      have the right to judge someone by their own values.

      Saying ‘well, if they’re bad they voters will get them’ is a cop out. It’s the same argument the righties are making when the respond to the Nats’ failing by pointing to the polls.

      I do have the right to comment on this lew – trying to undermine the legitimacy of even asking these questions is a really sad, pathetic play and one I wouldn’t have expected from you, frankly.

      Are you denying that the Maori Party has articulated their values then acted oppositely as outlined above? If so, specific examples please.

      • Lew 1.1.1

        Marty, don’t play the “UR STIFLEING TEH DEBATES” card — I’ve come to this thread and the last in perfectly good faith and encouraged debate, so far from shutting it out.

        What I’m saying it that you do have the right to judge them based on their values, if you understand those values. Which it seems to me that you’ve demonstrated you don’t. If you don’t understand their values, you can still judge them — but it’s not on their values, it’s on something else. Regardless of whether you do or not, you still have the right to comment — absolutely. And asking the questions is fine, and I’m not trying to undermine its legitimacy. Only to say that it’s a bit aimless.

        By way of analogy, I think the music of Taylor Swift is empty airheaded bollocks. But my opinion on this is largely irrelevant because I don’t “get” what it is she’s trying to do. I was never going to buy her records anyway. I’m judging by irrelevant standards. Those who judge her by her own standards (mostly in their early teens) draw different conclusions than I do, and it’s them who count.

        The point about the “māori party values” you glibly glom together — their declared kaupapa — that they’re basic matters of principle which can be implemented in a huge range of different ways. It’s not a left manifesto as you claim it is. I agree that there’s a greater affinity toward the left and toward collective welfare and other left-like principles, but that’s not to say they’re a Marxist party, and by judging them as you would an orthodox left minor party like the Alliance, they’re always going to fail. But that’s ok, because you’re never going to vote for them anyway, and you’ve misunderstood what it is they’re trying to do.

        Some years ago I wrote an explication of the party’s kaupapa basis; mostly to try to figure out what it was the party stood for and to educate myself about these issues, and as preparation for a wider research project examining the party’s impact on political discourse. I’ll dig it out when I get a chance, and that’ll provide some background for what I mean when I say you — and most non-Māori, and probably some Māori too — don’t seem to understand them. It’s also fair enough that you don’t — their philosophical underpinnings and political values are culturally quite opaque and not very clearly articulated, and there’s a fair argument that they take positions according to circumstance. But just because it’s poorly articulated and doesn’t make sense to someone without knowledge of the cultural systems from which it emerges doesn’t mean this party and its philosophical basis is meaningless to those who do.

        L

        • Marty G 1.1.1.1

          You haven’t refuted any of the examples of the Maori Party articulating one value and then doing the opposite.

          Give me examples of the Maori Party getting the government it is a part of to advance the Maori Party’s values. And tell me how that out weighs the examples of the opposite that I’ve provided.

          • Lew 1.1.1.1.1

            It’s not a great secret. Whanau Ora. Foreshore and Seabed Act. UNDRIP. Judge them when they’re bedded in. Most crucially, demonstrating that Māori aren’t wedded to Labour. It doesn’t need to “outweigh” the other stuff, which would almost all have passed with or without them.

            I spent half the day on this yesterday, I’m not going to do so again today. But my point again, in bold italics so you can’t ignore it: there’s no point in judging them on short-term tactical policy gains halfway through a first term, because that’s not what they’re about.

            L

            • Marty G 1.1.1.1.1.1

              you have no problem judging National the quality of policies as they’re enacted or by their failure to deliver on promises. You don’t buy the righties’ ‘give it time’ excuse. But you’re making the same excuse for another party in the government.

              • Neil

                The MP have proposed GST be removed from healthy food – as in Australia. Labour’s repsonse has been to insult them, not engage in serious discusion – to insult them.

                That’s been the pattern. Insult, infantalise, patronise.

              • Lew

                National are in a strong position — the strongest position of any government in a decade and a half. It’s not really comparable. Teh appropriate counterfactual is “being outside government and watching ACT and the National party ride roughshod over the country”, not “if the māori party would just stand up for itself and (somehow) enact its agenda despite the opposition of eleven times its number of opposition MPs.”

                For someone who claims to despise the symbolic so much, you sure are keen on the māori party going down in a blaze of futile glory, rather than achieving what goals it can.

                L

              • Lew

                Err, fail:

                eleven times its number of opposition MPs

                That should be government MPs, natch.

                L

  2. tc 2

    The MP has 2 major problems….the leaders. Babes in the woods with that self serving touch.

    They’ve also mastered the CT tactics and bleat on about ‘what Labour didn’t do for them’ to deflect from their actions.

    I have faith that the MP will get it right but sadly this’s the downside of having few options at the top….they need to move quick though or alot of hard slog may get lost in 2011.

  3. That is a compelling list of failures Marty.

    I don’t disagree with Lew that the electorate is the ultimate decision maker in the matter but Maoridom cannot be happy with what is happening. The Maori Party is being led by the nose.

    Lew should not equate Shane Jones’s public comments with Labour’s view of the Maori Party. I can assure him that Shane’s comments earned him a few kicks to the shins and there is a strong feeling amongst many in the party that the relationship with the Maori Party needs to be cordial and improved and that there is a great deal of beliefs that Labour and Maoridom we share in common.

    Open warfare will not improve this relationship and it should be remembered that the Maori Party is a representation (of sorts) of Maori asperations.

    • Lew 3.1

      That’s great to hear, micky, and I look forward to seeing some evidence of it.

      L

      • Marty G 3.1.1

        You look forward to seeing some evidence that the Maori party is a representation of Maori aspirations? Me too.

        • Lew 3.1.1.1

          More than anything I look forward to Labour seeing the rest of the left as allies rather than as competitors.

          L

          • Marty G 3.1.1.1.1

            As predicted you’re trying to make the MP’s betrayal of its values something to do with Labour.

            • Lew 3.1.1.1.1.1

              As I said: if you want to help them, make them a better offer. That’s what Labour can do.

              L

              • Marty G

                It’s nothing to do with Labour. this is about the Maori Party living up to the Maori Party’s values.

                Your position seems to be that it is Labour’s responsibility to stop the Maori Party selling out its own values. It’s bizarre.

              • Lew

                They would say that’s what they’re doing. You just don’t understand their values. So back around the infinite loop we go.

                L

              • Marty G

                I’ve quoted their values above.

                It’s cop out to say that we can’t understand the Maori Party’s values as if they exist on a different mystic plane. Next you’ll be saying I don’t understand National’s values and so can’t judge their failings.

              • Lew

                It’s not that they exist on a different mystic plane, it’s that they’re from a different cultural background. You can understand them; you just don’t. When all you have is eurocentric Marxism, everything looks like class struggle. You can understand National pretty well because that’s how they see things as well (though from the opposite perspective).

                L

    • Neil 3.2

      It’s very hard to believe that Labour have moved on from their vendetta against the MP and their patronising of maori in general. Only a few days ago we saw their reaction to the UNDRIP.

      They couldn’t even bring themselves to support that – which does make me wonder if their objection to it when they were in power was in anway in good faith.(currently they are spinning the line that this will result in a new Grievance Industry, so there you go).

      There’s been a very clear pattern in Labour’s behaviour that is more than just random outbursts from the thuggish elements. And it’s very disturbing to see the reaction of many Labour supporters.

  4. It seems to me that you apply a double standard. Somehow the maori party has to be morally above every other party, including the one you support.

    No one is saying that there aren’t issues with the maori party and their inexperience but you fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that the maori party is working for maori. And maori are made up of the good, bad and ugly they are right wing and left wing they are liberals and socialists they are neocons and environmentalists – i just don’t understand what the problem with understanding that is – but i really do understand – it’s all actually about labour and the failure of their leadership and party as evidenced very well by this weeks headlines. Labour isn’t going to get in by destroying the maori party – but that is the option currently selected. You claim to be concerned about the maori party constituents but no one is fooled – you just want all those votes to go to labour (like they used to) and you want the maori party to go away (just like the past) and you want the fake left labour party to kindly look after maori and guide them into society.

    The maori party was formed because of labour’s weakness and every day this type of post and the various media soundbites by the fakeleft just contuinues the widening of the gap between the maori party and labour – and that is what you want. And that is the tragedy.

    Your crocodille tears hide your big teeth.

    Another point i have is that this approach of yours of saying this is what maori think, this is what maori believe is so insulting. You don’t have a clue and your every utterance reinforces that. You make up stuff to fit your own agenda and you are dishonest about it. You have no credibility.

    But i am sure when, eventually, labour gets it’s shit together and they need to form a government they will come greasing around offering flowery praise to the maori party, and in the best interests of maori, they will allow labour to govern – so don’t get too sanctimonious.

    The maori party is not perfect and they have made plenty of mistakes that have horrified me as a left voter for them BUT they have made more gains for maori than any other party.

    • interestd 4.1

      MartyMars – and these gains you speak of are?
      in any order will be fine thanks
      perhaps the top 15?
      or 5..
      captcha – estimate

  5. “The maori party is not perfect and they have made plenty of mistakes that have horrified me as a left voter for them BUT they have made more gains for maori than any other party.”

    What gains? double Maori unemployment? More Maori in prison?

    And let’s not be selectively blind. Labour halved Maori unemployment, improved Maori health, increased Maori wages.

    Yup, Labour got it wrong on the F&S. And that’s why people like me supported the foundation of the Maori Party.

    It was an opportunity for Maori to have their Left values without compromising on the F&S. The shame of it is that they have sold out their values, and are about to sell out on the F&S too.

    • maori recieved advantage as in your examples but not specifically because they were maori – the gaps haven’t closed or do you blame the gnats solely for 50% of male prisoners being maori and 60% of female prisoners being maori?

      you don’t have a clue what maori values are – what are non-maori values?

      you maybe able to say what the maori party values are because they state them but it is an error to extrapolate that to all

  6. Marty Mars

    “The maori party was formed because of labour’s weakness”

    I thought it was the foreshore and seabed issue?

    I never saw that issue in the same way as the Maori Party and I always thought it was quite complex. I do struggle to understand why the current proposal which in essence is a slight change in terminology is fine by the MP but Labour’s proposal was so bad.

    this approach of yours of saying this is what maori think, this is what maori believe is so insulting

    I do not understand Marty to be saying this at all. He is saying that policy by policy the MP is failing and this is a perfectly valid criticism. Do you disagree that any of Marty’s bulletpoints do not represent a failure on the part of the MP?

    • weakness in giving in to the racists around the F&S issue

      the current debate around it is not all sorted as evidenced by the response from hui – pollyanna is and will struggle

      he might not be saying it on this post but it is a theme from multiple posts

  7. Rob M 7

    Can we move past all the waffle on values and get some hard data on the changes to the lot of the average bro since the Maori Renaissance kicked off. So Labour and Maori party values differ, got that one. Symbolic victories have some value in the Maori world, got that one too. Lew is right it is too early to judge a movement or the efficacy of Whanau Ora but may I suggest National are playing us all for chumps: Dividing the left from the Maori left, appeasing Turia with her own ministerial portfolio all the while dog whistling to the red neck and the right : “Don’t worry boys none of this is binding, we’re going take a chainsaw to welfare, they’re not getting anymore money and it’s only matter of time before we have another Huata on our hands and we’ll have the perfect excuse to slash that too.” Working for which Maori MartyMars? Cos they can’t be working for all of “the good, bad and ugly” the “right wing and left wing” the “liberals and socialists” and “neocons and environmentalists.” Call me cynical but the naivety on show here and on the previous post is quite disheartening. National are waltzing towards a second term and we’re here engaging in racist rants. Crosby Textor must be laughing into their gold-rimmed beer mugs.

    • WillyMaley 7.1

      Rob,
      Nail on the head.
      Sadly next years election is a foregone conclusion, which will be a travesty for this country.

    • I agree with you RobM that national are playing the left as chumps.

      In terms of who the maori party are working for – maori is the answer and that is why IMO they will, eventually, work with labour again too.

      • Neil 7.2.1

        that will happen when, if, Labour get around to accepting the political reality of the MP just like they have with the Green Party. But I think that will only happen when there’s significant change in the Labour leadership. At present there are too many who think maori owe Labour.

    • Bright Red 7.3

      “National are waltzing towards a second term and we’re here engaging in racist rants”

      It’s not a racist rant to question a party just because that party is maori. I think tha’ts a shameful attempt to delegitimise debate.

      And as we talk about national waltzing towards a second term we have to remember who their dancing partner is.

      things would get a lot hard for National if the Maori party stood by its principles and left the government.

      • Armchair Critic 7.3.1

        “things would get a lot hard for National if the Maori party stood by its principles and left the government”
        ‘cept for two things:
        1. National would still be able to govern with ACT’s support. Horrible though it may be, I prefer a National/ACT/MP government to a government with just National and ACT.
        2. The MP won’t walk away until after the 2011.
        Meanwhile, Labour need to stop treating the MP like their main oppositon and National like a future coalition partner.
        Marty G, your posts on this subject have been well considered and thought through. And while you may well be right (your list of bullet points is very convincing), in writing these posts you are risking not being helpful to the objective of getting National out of government in 2011. Does this make me a concern troll? Possibly – but quite frankly I don’t care if it does. I just want National gone.

  8. Green Tea 8

    Your assertion that you, and the Labour Party, are the “Left” is grossly inaccurate.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Seems to me a lot of it comes down to priorities.

    Let’s say both parties basically agree on policy direction, and we’ll say that that direction is defined by supporting policies a,b,c,d, and e.

    If a big party recognises that policies ‘c’ and ‘d’ are electorally difficult then they will quite likely sacrafice gains in those areas to enable them to progress in a,b and e.

    There may well be a constituency within that big party that disagrees with that assesment. For them ‘c’ and ‘d’ are very important. They are goping to be pissed off about it, and fair enough. They clearly have the right to take that to the electorate and see if they can get ‘c’ and ‘d’ on the agenda.

    If they get in parliament then obviously they are going to do what they can to get ‘c’ and ‘d’ done. If they can also get a b and e done then chances are they will do that. Afterall, they agree with those things too!

    If the original big party can’t form a government though, and ‘a’ ‘b’ and ‘e’ are for the meantime off the agenda, then the small party has a duty to try and get ‘c’ and ‘d’ done anyway, if they can.

    If in fact they can get those things done by making the other big party, which usually opposes those sorts of things, do them then whatever way you cut it it’s a win.

    The loss side of it, not getting ‘a’ ‘b’ and ‘e’ done misses the point that those things aren’t on the agenda anyway. The party that also supports those things is in opposition. The fact that ‘c’ and ‘d’ have been progressed is a win for all parties that think ‘c’ and ‘d’ are good things.

    The fact that a, b and e are not being progressed is not the fault of the smaller party, though obviously they should still be active in trying to progress them. Once the available progress on c and d has been dealt with, that obligation becomes more pronounced.

  10. Anne 10

    PHEW… SOMEONE HAS SAID IT AT LAST!
    Thanks Rob M for putting it all in a nut-shell.

    “Call me cynical but the naivety on show here and on the previous post is quite disheartening. National are waltzing towards a second term and we’re here engaging in racist rants. Crosby Textor must be laughing into their gold-rimmed beer mugs.”

    CT won’t be the only ones laughing, and in the meantime your average Maori (and Pakeha) is being done over like a dog’s breakfast.

  11. Alexandra 11

    Yes and the real fight is with National.

    • that is so right and while these anti maori party posts get put up – for no reason – it’s not as if the posters or commenters can even vote for the maori party, the gnats continue with their demolition of this country.

      If i was cynical I’d wonder who was working for who.

      • Margaret 11.1.1

        ‘it’s not as if the posters or commenters can even vote for the maori party’

        umm why is that Marty Mars? Is this some obscure reference I don’t understand? or are you implyig noone else on here is Maori? or do you actually not understand that you don’t have to be ‘Maori’ to be on the Maori electoral roll and that any voter can give their party vote to the Maori Party no matter which roll they are on?

        • marty mars 11.1.1.1

          Good point margaret i withdraw and apologise

          i hadn’t thought/considered/realised that any voter can give their party vote to the maori party

  12. Anne 12

    @ marty mars
    They are only anti-Maori Party posts in so much as the MP is not living up to it’s election year manifesto. They have been selling out their own people whose standard of living is dropping by the hour – almost. All the symbolism in the world is not going to put better wages in their pockets… buy healthy, affordable food… put a decent roof over their heads… educate their children… affordable health care… and so it goes on. You get these things right, and the rest will start to fall into place.

    • I don’t think they are ‘selling out their own people’

      but my view is that the real enemy are ones that want to comodify everything and place monetary value on it so that it can be bought and sold

      labours fight with the maori party is a waste of time and energy – but someone is winning

  13. I would imagine all bets will be off come election time as to who the Maori Party will support in the post election horsetrade.

    I doubt the Nats can get them to sign some sort of pre nuptial agreement based on false promises Key has proven he can’t deliver on, or that they’ll still have the numbers to go it alone by next year.

    In the meantime its get in while the gettings good for the Maori Party and if anything its only for them that the future is looking bright. Makes you wonder why a Maori party wasn’t formed years ago but i guess its that perfect mystical timing of being in tune with the elements that alot of eurocentrist dont get.

    Misreading the winds of change can be disastrous though so i hope theres some talented apprentice navigators backing up Sharples and Turia.

    • The Voice of Reason 13.1

      Er, it has been tried before. Mana Motuhake was led by the late Matiu Rata (himself also a former Labour MP). If I remember rightly, they were solidly left wing and were part of the original Alliance, even getting their member Sandra Lee elected to parliament.

      A forerunner, but radically different, to the dull witted and conservative Maori party.

      • pollywog 13.1.1

        oh chur…i guess the gods weren’t favourable then or maybe it was all in the alienated branding.

        Dull witted and conservative seems to get more accomplished than being radical and intelligent.

        I’d imagine Maui the trickster would have seemed a bit dull and un-inspiring to his older bros until his Nan taught him how to read with the magic jawbone.

        Theres something to be said about slowing down the sun, letting your hook run deep and not putting all your fish in one canoe.

        • Lew 13.1.1.1

          Well, the Alliance fell apart because it was a bit of a frankenstein, and got hijacked by competing egos. It’s a damned shame, it had more potential than any minor party before or since.

          L

          • pollywog 13.1.1.1.1

            Do you reckon competing egos will be the end of this current alliance/coalition of the unwilling ?

            I mean, ACT, UF, the MP and the Nats are a freakish combo of the undead in itself.

            • Lew 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I think all those presently in power have learned important lessons from the Alliance.

              L

              • lprent

                The real question is what lessons they learnt. Of course if they’d looked back to NZ First in the 1996-99 government they’d have learnt the same lessons.

              • ak

                Yep Lew, those presently in power being the Nats…..and the big lesson from the Alliance was no different to that from time immemorial, and as demonstrated on this very thread and topic – that the Left is its own worst enemy: a recidivist sucker for divide and conquer. A grotesque irony for a movement of progression; that it continually falls to the base instinct of lashing out – to the fatal detriment of the noble wider cause.

                Motivation is the essential element to be constantly invoked and re-examined; e.g. a huge section of the population still languishes and dies eight years earlier than anyone else: do we want to focus on and fix that – or is it more important to “win” verbal scraps and that Jim once told me to shut up. Until Labour celebrates the MP gains (however limited) – or even NACT progressive nudges – it’s holding itself down in the pit.

                (and Armchair Critic reminds us of a vital point: currently, without MP it’s ACT in charge. Think hard before wishing them oblivion)

  14. Ianmac 14

    I think that it is wrong to alienate the MP with detail about their success/failures. The perception will be “Those Lefties hate Maori.” Wasted opportunity. The real test will be what happens with the reality of Customary Rights and gains or not over the Seabed and Foreshore, and that is a wait and see.
    I do think that Key and Co are onto a good thing. I can hear them snigger from here. And no amount of our bluster will counter it.

    • Pete 14.1

      Agreed.

      The political Left needs to focus on consensus politics, and commonality. The Greens are better at this as a minority party seeking relevance (without selling out).

      I guess it’s the perception of ‘selling out’ that is really the crux of this MP-criticism (alongside associated social/economic change dynamics).

      What I’d really like to see is Labour/Greens/MP team up to sort the F&S issue for good (as a mechanism for solidarity on subsequent issues where commonality should/does exist) – but idealogically and politically it’s likely this would be considered a ‘dead rat’ for Labour. Shame really.

      If the MP don’t stand firm on what they want from F&S changes we’ll know that they were only in it for the ‘baubles’ (I f*ckin’ hope not) – as hinted by Sharples’ in a Herald article a while ago – though potentially tongue-in-cheek, it’s still not a ‘good look’…

  15. gingercrush 15

    I see Marty G you continue spouting the same lies and bullshit in regards to the Foreshore and Seabed as you have every article.

  16. JonL 16

    I don’t care if they do fail. Having voted for them in 2 elections, I (and several aquaintance’s) will not be voting for them again!
    They have been a great disappointment!

  17. Jenny 17

    Good news everybody, finally a chance for the Labour Party to find some common ground with the Maori Party and end the sectarian slanging match.

    Rahui Katen’s bill for the removal of GST from healthy food goes for it’s first reading.

    Supporting Rahui Katene’s bill to remove GST from healthy food would be a good start for the left to win them back from National and ACT who have vowed to vote this bill down.

    http://www.maoriparty.org/index.php?pag=nw&id=986&p=katenes-gst-off-healthy-food-bill-gets-pulled.html

    The vital question is where will Labour stand?

    There are only four possible options

    Which one will Labour choose?

    #1 Will the Labour Party parliamentary opposition collectively decide to abstain?

    #2 Will the Labour Party parliamentary opposition collectively decide to vote with National and ACT?

    #3 Will the Labour Party parliamentary opposition collectively make the decision to support this bill?

    #4 Will the Labour Party parliamentary Caucus do a cowardly cop-out and call for a conscience vote from Labour MPs?
    Sending the message that the Labour Party oppose this bill in practice and would not support it in government.

    In my opinion the most disastrous choice for the Labour Party would be option #4
    Because as weak as option #1 is, and as awful as option #2 is, at least it would be an honest statement of Labour’s position on the sanctity of this regressive tax. But beware the electorate won’t be fooled by choosing option #4 and will conclude that they are being patronised.

    I suppose the question for the writers of The Standard is; What in my opinion is the principled position, and should I recommend it, or just keep quiet?

    Hopefully not all of you will give in to the temptation to reach for that lever that lowers the cone of silence.

    [lprent: There were multiples of something similar to this in spam (naked link most likely). Letting the last one out, I’ll leave the other 4 in trash for the moment. Yell if you want them released.. ]

  18. Anne 18

    @ Jenny

    Here is Trevor Mallard’s take on the bill over at Red Alert.

    “Spot the irony

    In two weeks the Maori Party will vote for a very silly bill to take GST off “Healthy Food’

    Just imagine trying to define that. And how much of each we are allowed each hour/day/week before GST kicks in. And the army of inspectors to check the food. And the increase in GST or other tax to cover the diff.

    And then two weeks after that the Maori Party will vote to increase GST on healthy foods to 15%.

    Hypocrites.”

    I confess I don’t know who is right.

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