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Can we save the Maori Party?

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, April 21st, 2010 - 124 comments
Categories: foreshore and seabed, Left, maori party, Maori seats - Tags: , , , , ,

Rodney Hide was furious at John Key for going behind his back to sign the Declaration of Indigenous Rights but he’ll get over it. ACT is getting tonnes of real policy wins (murder law, supercity, tax cuts for the rich). What’s disturbing is seeing the Maori Party celebrating a ‘win’ and meekly rolling over when Key tells them it’s meaningless. Why does this keep happening? Because the Maori Party is stuck. And, sadly, each loss just mires them further.

The Maori Party have pinned it all the deal with National. In making the deal they alienated themselves from the rest of the Left and had to say to their strongly left-wing voters ‘trust us’. If the Maori Party fails to achieve what it has promised from working with its natural enemy, it will be a vindication for the rest of the Left and will shake the confidence of the Maori Party’s supporters in the party.

So, this has to work, even if it doesn’t work.

And so we see these bizarre spectacles –

  • the Maori Party campaigning for seats on the supercity by then rolling over and voting for the legislation without those seats.
  • Rahui Katene saying the Maori Party wouldn’t back anything but a strengthening of Labour’s ETS then voting for National’s gutting of it (and trying to hide her own minority report).
  • Tariana Turia appointed minister of a policy without a ministry or a budget. A policy that has been watered down from her original intent of welfare by Maori for Maori to something that no-one can describe.
  • Pita Sharples rushing over to the UN on his super-exciting secret mission only for Key to announce that it doesn’t mean anything and yet the Maori Party carries on celebrating regardless
  • The Maori Party moving to endorse the new foreshore and seabed regime that even its author, Chris Finlayson, says doesn’t alter the status quo except symbolically, despite changing the status quo being the reason the Maori Party was established.
  • And then there’s all the other things National has done that run directly counter to Maori Party ideals, which the Maori Party has voted for, but haven’t been enough, singularly or combined, for the Maori Party to stop voting supply and confidence for the National Government.

Basically, National can do whatever it wants. It can screw over the Maori Party time and again, and like a battered wife the Maori Party will insist the relationship is working in spite of all the evidence. Every time they get used makes it harder and harder to admit that they have been used all along.

Now, to admit that they are being used again and again by National would be to concede too much. Instead they engage in a kind of cognitive dissonance – doublethink: “the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary”

The rest of the Left is in a bind. If we show the Maori Party the consequences of their working with National (higher crime, higher poverty, higher unemployment, lower wages, worse health, worse education) that will on force them to renew their doublethink, if we do nothing they will believe everything is fine. Neither option seems to work.

Jim Anderton said yesterday “It is an agony that we have to watch, to see this take place”. Yes. It is heartbreaking and enraging to see the Maori Party bow under every time and, worse, to know that pointing it out only reinforces the Maori Party’s inability to throw off its self-made shackles.

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious”. And it seems there is nothing we can do to help them.

124 comments on “Can we save the Maori Party?”

  1. Lew 1

    The trouble is that the “we” of whom you speak are largely those who genuinely don’t believe that Māori have needs or wants or historical status which is any different from anyone else; who think that their generic dogma — socialist, environmentalist or, on the other side, capitalist — is a one-size-fits-all solution, and who genuinely can’t see why that isn’t so, despite people — Māori and otherwise — telling them until they’re blue in the face.

    The māori party doesn’t need saving by the likes of them, who’d roll it back into a dependent subaltern role within the economic left, with its non-economic concerns relegated to irrelevance and its economic concerns nipped and tucked to fit the prevailing class analysis of the day. At least at present it’s in an independent subaltern role, and free to advocate whatever positions it wants to, as foolhardy as some of them might seem.

    If you* want to help the māori party, start supporting its right to take its positions — even when you disagree with those positions. Decouple criticism of the policy matters from criticism of the fundamental basis for the party, and the credibility of its people to advocate their positions. If they lack credibility, the Māori electorates will punish them. If their policy agenda fails to deliver, likewise. Stop judging them by your own short-term self-interested yardstick — a yardstick which was roundly discarded as being insufficient when it was last used — and let their own electorate judge them. If they fail, they fail. If they succeed, then at least you might salvage the chance of working with them, rather than against them.

    Let the flamage begin.


    * Royal “you” throughout.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      The Left has always been at the forefront of recognising the rights of all groups, Maori included. You’re effectively accusing us (the Left) of being racists for criticising the Maori Party’s failure to deliver for Maori. How about you instead tell us of all the Maori party’s achievements, rather than coping out like that?

      “Decouple criticism of the policy matters from criticism of the fundamental basis for the party, and the credibility of its people to advocate their positions.”

      That’s stupid. The criticisms are of the policy choices made, and that inherently is a criticism of the decision makers as makers of god decisions.

      There’s no need to say ‘i disagree with what you’re saying but i defend to the death your right to say it’ because no-one is saying the Maori party shouldn’t have a voice, they’re saying it ought to use that voice to advance the interests of Maori, which (apart from the iwi corporates) are leftwing interests.

      • Lew 1.1.1

        Not all of teh left, BR — only some of it. The bits which insist on measuring “progress” in their own short-term squarely material terms and criticise anyone who fails to make progress in those narrow terms. The disjuncture is because these segments of the (mostly non-Māori) left political establishment think they know what Māori (and other power minorities) need. Essentially, they think they have a mortgage on objective wellbeing; that it’s almost entirely material. Well, the point is that for Māori, that just ain’t so. It all comes back to this: when you say they’ve failed to achieve anything, you’re judging by the wrong criteria. The response, given this error, is pretty logical. But it’s wrong.

        I agree that the left as a general movement is the champion of indigenous rights, and those of other groups — which is why it gets my goat that Labour, in particular, appear to have abandoned that legacy. So I say: make them a better offer. If the left really wants to help māori, the left should work with their most effective political leaders, rather than against them. Make them a better offer than the one they’re currently getting, rather than sniping at how the party deals with the poor situation it finds itself in. It benefits both parties to do so, far more than hoping they’ll simply fade away.


      • Pascal's bookie 1.1.2

        “The Left has always been at the forefront of recognising the rights of all groups, Maori included.”

        Thing is, that isn’t always true. Or it doesn’t tell the whole story.

        What is more true is that those at the forefront of fighting for minority rights have usually found allies in the leftwing of the majority.

        That doesn’t give those leftwingers amoungst the majority ownership of the struggle. .

        If fighting for these rights is ipso facto left wing, then there shouldn’t be any problems.

        But as it turns out, many on the left seem to place a lower prioriity on these issues than those affected would like.That’s ok, but it’s gonna have consequences.

        But in an MMP environment they’re gonna be electoral consequences. What’s that old saying about ‘alliances’ and ‘interests’.

        If the interests of the mP’s electoral base is more closely allied with the left than with the right then that should play out. If not, then not.


  2. Neil 2

    I doubt the Maori Party pay any attention to “the Left” but I’d say such condescension as shown in this post can’t harm their cause. But that’s probably not what you intend by “Can we save the Maori Party?”.

  3. Lew 3

    Answering in a less-accusatory and more thoughtful tone, I might say: make them a better offer. One which is better for them, not for you.


    • Bright Red 3.1

      A better offer? f*ck me Lew. 26,000 more unemployed Maori under this government.

      What have Maori got out of this government? Nothing.

      Labour offers Maori a better deal by being Labour. Always has.

      And if you would look at the real world, the material outcomes for Maori, rather than get wrapped up in meaningless symbols (which any smiling bastard can offer you would see that.

      • Lew 3.1.1

        See above re: wrong criteria. More than just material things matter. And Labour did trade away material things to the disadvantage of Māori. Your argument would have been pretty good without the Foreshore and Seabed Act, UNDRIP, etc. But those things happened.


      • pollywog 3.1.2

        Labour offers Maori a better deal by being Labour. Always has.

        Heh Yup… can see that being a campaign slogan filed under the ol… “my argument is so powerful that its not neccessary to talk about it ” line of reasoning.

      • marty mars 3.1.3

        “Labour offers Maori a better deal by being Labour. Always has.”

        that is so delusional that i feel like prescribing some medication for you.

        labour care about maori as a means to an end – quite simple really, just like all identity politics is subjugated to class politics in that mindset

        • Bright Red

          no, Labour cares about Maori as it cares about all people and on the same basis. All people should have the right to decent pay for a decent day’s work and a decent standard off living – regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc.

          Labour progressed towards that with Working for Families, record low Maori unemployment, record high Maori wages, huge increases in the minimum wage, lower crime, I could go on all day.

          What has the Maori Party won in government? Higher Maori unemployment, lower wages, higher crime – backwards, backwards, backwards.

          • marty mars

            no, labour cares about people – whether they are maori or whatever is irrelevant

            maori as a group are merged with all other groups within the groupmind of labour – i know there are little wee splinter groups for those with particular interests but when it comes down to it, the wee groups are less important than the overall objective – or do you disagree with that – are you saying that class politics is subsumed by something else within the labour machine.

            you rattle off all the accomplishments of labour for maori as if maori didn’t do anything – labour didn’t do them for maori – they did them for everyone – didn’t they? Some maori just happened to be in the basket that recieved benefit. But when it really came down to it, when the heat was on – labour folded and backed the racists over maori – sorry BR noone is going to forget that any more than rogernomics will be forgotten.

            • Bright Red

              “no, labour cares about people whether they are maori or whatever is irrelevant. you rattle off all the accomplishments of labour for maori … labour didn’t do them for maori they did them for everyone didn’t they?”

              yup, Labour works for everyone and that should always include Maori, including righting past mistakes (of which the F&S Act was one). I can’t imagine why anyone would want it any other way.

              meanwhile, rather than responding to everything by acting past actions, what has the Nat/MP govt – you know, the one you’re supporting – done that has improved the lives of everyone, including Maori?

  4. Who’s using who ?

    I see and i would imagine most Maori can see the coalition gov’t relationship is symbiotic with most concessions being symbolic, but to Maori symbols mean more at the mo’ than substance.

    The substance will come later. Its more important to get the acknowledgement of getting concessions first and being seen to be symbolically pro active in their dealings.

    To make an example. Ta moko is about the symbols Maori proudly wear. Never mind that it proves nothing and is essentially meaningless without the traditional process and protocols that governed its use.

    Get the symbol and work on the process later and its up to them as Maori to infuse whatever substance they see fit regardless of what any other culture thinks.

    I’m afraid Jim and the like are still looking through Euro eyes and not reading the script with the magic jawbone.

  5. The Voice of Reason 5

    Interesting post, as usual, Marty. My point of difference is that I don’t see the Maori Party, United Future, NZ First or ACT as being worth saving. All those rightwing parties deserve a long drop in to the dustbin of history and here’s hoping the next election sees the lot of them gone. It always beats me why any lefty would consider the Maori party anything other than right wing anyway.

    Bear in mind that they formed as a conservative, nationalistic opposition to Labour and, despite lots of hot air and confused rhetoric, their loyalty is to the right. Fuck ’em, and let them rot in the cesspit of political crapulence they themselves have dug.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Perhaops if you could translate your rant into English Lew some us might respond. As it is, you appear to be combining academic sickly white liberal guilt sophistry (“Thou shalt not criticise Maori, for they are the wronged Na’vi of our Pandora”) with a somewhat garbled straw man argument which seems to be based in mined out 1990’s identity politics – maybe you need your own blog at Public Address, they lap up those sorts of arguments over there.

    • Lew 6.1

      Aww, poor Sanctuary. I used concepts more complex than “wheelbarrow” and the best response is to take refuge in a weird sort of blue-collar anti-elitism.

      How about my second comment? I trust that one’s down around your reading level.


  7. tsmithfield 7

    What does Labour expect if it treats the Maori Party as “the last cab off the rank”.

    In sales, its a lot harder to get a customer back than keep them. I suspect the same may be true of Labour and the Maori Party. Articles like the one above don’t help because its reinforcing the Labour message that the Maori Party is unable to stand on its own two feet unless its holding Labours hand.

    • Bright Red 7.1

      “What does Labour expect if it treats the Maori Party as “the last cab off the rank’. ”

      I guess it, like me, expects the Maori Party to be true to its values and its voters.

      The problem with people like you and Lew is you see politics as essentially valueless – all about grabbing power for its own sake. You think quotes like “last cab off the rank” matter because they are about inter-party relations but 26,000 unemployed Maori don’t because that’s not about politics as a power game.

      I think that most on the Left see politics as about implementing real world changes that reflect our values.

      • Lew 7.1.1


        I think that most on the Left see politics as about implementing real world changes that reflect our values.

        This brings up a fundamental question of democratic politics: if, (and you and I both believe this) a clear — even commanding — majority of the electorate are objectively, materially better off under Labour governments in general than under National governments, why doesn’t Labour win every time? (Substitute your other left and right blocs as necessary for other polities).

        Typical answers usually shift the blame away from Labour: false consciousness, biased media, entrenched interests, dirty tricks, stupid disengaged voters, etc. These are all valid to an extent, but the job of a political movement is to overcome these factors, and the others which prevent them from delivering on their wonderful master plan, as well as actually implementing that plan. You don’t get to play if you don’t make the team. And how do successful political movements go about building the support which enables them to win that commanding majority, which grants them an ironclad mandate to implement real-world changes that reflect their values? They use symbolism, and what you refer to as “empty” aspiration.

        Good policy is not a substitute for building a democratic mandate. It is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of good government, but you don’t get there until you win. You can have the best policy in the world, but if you don’t articulate it properly and don’t gain the electorate’s buy-in, then it doesn’t matter a whit. Symbolism and the effective use of the “hollow” and “empty” appeals which convince people that you mean business and intend to give effect to their genuine policy concerns are no substitute for real policy, but without them you may never get to actually do anything.

        The reason I advocate for the more effective use of symbolic matters is because the left already does policy very well indeed. But they don’t get the chance to enact nearly as much of ti as they like, because too many of the people who’d be better off if they did don’t realise it.


        • Bored

          When I think of symbolism I think Jung and swastikas (he really did have a visual appreciation of the ziet geist)…maybe “aspiration” is the verbal equivalent?

          Catchpa Board lol

          • Lew

            No, aspiration in this case is from the verb to aspire, not the verb about breathing.

            But Jung understood symbols, and the swastika is among the most powerful in the western symbolic lexicon. But it’s a great deal broader than just iconography.


            • Bored

              Maybe we need to launch a contest to find the best term to counter “aspire”….and perhaps end Nacts aspiration (as defined by you).

              • Lew

                Trouble is, everyone wants to aspire. Aspiration is symbolically powerful. There’s no political gain to be made in being anti-aspirational. Labour at least realises this and are criticisng the government on failing to live up to their aspirational goals, rather than the fact that they have such goals in the first place.


              • Bright Red

                the swastika didn’t make the Naz!s what they were – if they had marched under a different symbol they would have been the same.

                likewise, the simple of the DRIP doesn’t change the fact that the National/Maori Party government is failing to deliver for Maori.

              • Lew

                Indeed. But the swastika (and other symbolic aspects of their campaign — the militaria, the appeal to a fatherland, the objection to the emasculation of Versailles, appeal to core peasant values with promises of “work and bread”, and so on — I can go on about this for hours, but I trust it not necessary to do so — were instrumental in their unifying Germany behind them when their policies were extremely disadvantageous for almost all classes of the population, not only in material terms but in principle as well.

                Failing to deliver what? You’re measuring against the wrong criteria again.


              • Bright Red

                No, they weren’t instrumental. Symbols are just signifiers, reminders, of the reality.

                “Failing to deliver what? You’re measuring against the wrong criteria again.”

                f*ck off

                Higher Maori unemployment, lower wages, higher crime – these are the criteria that matter. The Nat/MP govt is failing on them

              • Bright Red

                And in the case of DRIP, the govt has made it quite clear it is a symbol that signifies nothing, therefore meaningless

              • Lew

                BR, if you think the Nazis succeeded in winning electoral support because they had better policy, I have a century to sell you.

                Higher Maori unemployment, lower wages, higher crime these are the criteria that matter. The Nat/MP govt is failing on them

                They’re the criteria which matter to you. Not the criteria which matter to the Māori electorates, apparently. At least, not at the cost of all the other things which Labour sacrificed to achieve them. So you have a choice: do you respond to how you reckon things should be, or how things actually are in reality?

                We’ve been over this ground before.


              • Bright Red

                “They’re the criteria which matter to you.”

                yup they are. maybe they don’t matter to intellectual elitists like you.

                And the premise of this conversation is that they’re things that matter to Maori but they are being over-ridden by an interest in making the relationship with National work for it’s own sake – clearly not something the Left can offer.

                You’re displaying exactly the thinking the post talked about. To you every time the Maori Party caves to National it’s a victory and every criticism, every statistic showing that things are getting worse for Maori under this deal, is more proof that the deal was the right thing for Maori.

                In your doublethink you acknowledge that actual wins are required at some day but it’s the day that never comes.

              • Lew

                Ok, BR, this’ll be it from me. It’s been a good discussion, even though we disagree on practically everything you can while remaining generally on the same side of the political fence.

                maybe they don’t matter to intellectual elitists like you.

                They do. But not to the exclusion of eveything else. And ultimately I believe in leaving them up to people to decide for themselves whether they matter for them, over other things.

                And the premise of this conversation is that they’re things that matter to Maori but they are being over-ridden by an interest in making the relationship with National work for it’s own sake clearly not something the Left can offer.

                Well, the left couldn’t offer anything in 2008, having so thoroughly burned its brdges with tangata whenua and the wider electorate. So what were they supposed to do — pine for the glory days to return, when those glory days had resulted in the Foreshore and Seabed Act?

                You’re displaying exactly the thinking the post talked about. To you every time the Maori Party caves to National it’s a victory and every criticism, every statistic showing that things are getting worse for Maori under this deal, is more proof that the deal was the right thing for Maori.

                Absolutely not. I only think it’s too early to tell, and that if you insist on judging strategic goals by tactical measures you’ll always get the wrong viewpoint.

                In your doublethink you acknowledge that actual wins are required at some day but it’s the day that never comes.

                The day will come. Toward the end of the term, with the FSA repeal and replacement underway, with whanau ora underway, those things can start to be judged. Another full term later will yield better information. Unemployment and such things matter too, but there are other factors in play there, and the party has very little control over those policy matters. More importantly, though, I’ll be judging the party on whether it has put itself in a position where both major parties are courting its votes and appealing to its constituency. That’s where the real wins will come from — a political consensus that the natives can’t just be treated like brown honkeys.

                By the same token, every time they do achieve anything, you write it off as irrelevant. You want them to fail, and see everything as an indication that they are.

                I guess we’ll see.


              • Bright Red

                “More importantly, though, I’ll be judging the party on whether it has put itself in a position where both major parties are courting its votes and appealing to its constituency. That’s where the real wins will come from — a political consensus that the natives can’t just be treated like brown honkeys.”

                and I’m afraid that’s the problem. The fact that substantive wins haven’t come and won’t come don’t seem to matter. The Maori Party being in power for power’s sake is what matters.

                And we see exactly the same thinking in the party. A couple of weeks ago, Hone was calling the F&S deal dumb. In a couple of months he’ll be voting for in essense the same deal and calling it a great victory. The victory is being able to say national needs them, not anything substantive.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.2

        BR “I guess it, like me, expects the Maori Party to be true to its values and its voters.”

        Thats the Maori parties problem. Not Labours. If the MP screw their own voters over, they will get the flick at the next election. However, its not Labours business to be worried about how the MP treats its own voting base. Sounds like typical nanny “Labour knows best” nonsense though.

        BR “The problem with people like you and Lew is you see politics as essentially valueless all about grabbing power for its own sake. You think quotes like “last cab off the rank’ matter because they are about inter-party relations but 26,000 unemployed Maori don’t because that’s not about politics as a power game.”

        Give me a break. You wouldn’t call the way Labour pandered to WP in its last term clinging on to power at all costs?

        • Bright Red

          I’m saying what matters is deeds not words.

          And the deeds of National supported by the Maori Party have seen 26,000 more Maori become unemployed.

          • tsmithfield

            Lets assume that theres been no recession, and National policies have been entirely responsible for job losses. It could be argued that the Maori Party has contributed to softening the blow. Therefore, Maori may still be better off with the MP in the Waka, considering they weren’t actually essential anyway.

            • Zaphod Beeblebrox

              If you believe that why not just vote Labour?

            • Bright Red

              “It could be argued that the Maori Party has contributed to softening the blow. ”

              how? By voting for Budget 2009 that didn’t include any jobs stimulus and gave big tax cuts to the rich?

  8. tc 8

    Agree Lew, there’s a new game in town, style over substance, symbolism over realism.

    The MP despise labour (well the stapled one at least) so there’s no value in continuing to berate them….build a bridge and move on.

    Goff out front doesn’t help as it’s the spectre of Clark and all that F&S baggage and their electorate will judge them….particularly those not affiliated with the rich iwi.

    • Lew 8.1

      tc, it’s not style over substance, symbolism over realism — it’s style and symbolism as a means to substance and realism.


      • Bright Red 8.1.1

        “it’s style and symbolism as a means to substance and realism.”

        when do we get to the substance? when do we get to realism?

        How long are you willing to wait and forgive all in the mean time?

        How many dead rats will you agree to the Maori Party swallowing while we wait?

        • Lew

          More than half a term, that’s for damned sure. Goodness knows Māori have waited plenty so far.

          As I say: anyone who wants them to enact better policy can make them an offer too good to refuse.


          • Bright Red

            “Goodness knows Māori have waited plenty so far. ”

            under Labour Maori had record low unemployment and record high wages.

            I would have thought that was an offer too good to refuse, if you cared about actual real world results.

            But, nah, the DRIP that’s the kind of stuff that really matters, eh Lew? that’s the important stuff.

            • Lew

              They had record low unemployment and low inflation, and they lost their rights to test their civil and legal rights in court, and any prospect of those rights being respected in the future. So yeah — not too good to refuse. Economic matters aren’t everything. A salutory lesson for Labour and the wider left.


              • Bright Red

                “Economic matters aren’t everything”

                and the one failing you can point to is an economic matter – legal rights over land.

              • Lew

                Well, no. The FSA was as much a matter of historical and cultural recognition as it was about economic exploitation rights, though they were important as well. Cultural things matter.

                But you make a nice argument against your own case — by this reasoning Labour traded away capital for employment. What was all that about the means of production again?


  9. Hamish Gray 9

    Neil is right – the whole premise of this article is that the Maori Party needs “saving”. If that is the Left establishment’s attitude (condescention), then what chances are there of a constructive relationship after the next election? It appears that what irks the Left more than anything is that the Maori Party has put aside ideology and is simply pursuing its core objective – representing its constituents. How dare they?!

    If anyone needs “saving”, it’s Labour’s Maori caucus.

  10. ak 10

    Marty and Lew are both right. While it’s entirely appropriate to point out the shortcomings of the MP’s wee chalk-ups, stridency and condescension is cancer.

    Labour needs to get over its guilt from pandering to the effect of the Orewa One poison (which is the sole reason for their initial stance on the current issue) and get back to its own heritage and values fast. On every issue, whether it concurs with NACT or not.

    Goffy’s “faint praise” tactic from yesterday is a good start: “We congratulate the Maori Party on securing this step in the right direction for race relations in NZ and welcome the change in heart from National from the dark divisive days of Don Brash.” would’ve sounded more like a PM-in-waiting. Let the slippery salesman do the wriggling and smiling – there’s a hunger out there for substance and leadership.

    And if Labour still hasn’t kicked off a behind-the-scenes korero with the MP (with bushels of olive branches), they need their arse kicked. Maori more than any other group know history, core motivations and which side the bread is buttered: it’s been a nice hikoi-kai, but by next year they could well be ready for home.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    Guys get over it- Orewa was two elections ago!
    Its easy to attack Labour as pandering to the masses, culturally insensitive etc. (which they do from time to time). but how does that help working class Maori? Though his actions of the past month or two, Key has signalled that knows ACT will not give him the numbers (their vote is collapsing) so the only viable coalition partner is the MP. Now that the National/MP coalition is firmly welded together (why else whanau ora and now this) Maori voters need to ask- who is going to protect your living standards? If you think Key/Turia/Sharples +/- Hide/Dunne is going to you can vote MP. Before you do though- you may want to see who gets the largest tax cuts this year.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    Can we save the Maori Party?

    Do we want to?

    A party based upon race is, by definition, racist and I, for one, see no reason to continue to support it. They can take their own path to hell.

    • marty mars 12.1

      did you vote for them or could you? – if not then your opinion is worthless, if yes – then very interesting point

    • Cnr Joe 12.2

      entirely unsure about the hell part there DtB
      but about a party based on race being unsupportable (by me)
      too right
      my Maori party activist mother and I have testing debates with this

  13. Blue 13

    I don’t think the Maori Party needs saving. True, they have sold out and rolled over every time the Nats have asked, have trumpeted their symbolic gains while getting screwed over on any real, concrete gains (such as Maori seats on the Supercity council), and spurned their traditional allies on the left for the dubious charms of National and Act.

    But none of that means that they aren’t a roaring success.

    They’ve got both Maori voters and the media singing their praises. They will almost certainly retain all their seats and possibly increase them at the next election. They will be in a kingmaker position in NZ politics for many years to come (assuming the Nats don’t abolish the Maori seats or go back to FPP).

    They’ve done very well for themselves out of their deal with the devil.

    • Bright Red 13.1

      “They’ve got both Maori voters and the media singing their praises. They will almost certainly retain all their seats and possibly increase them at the next election. They will be in a kingmaker position in NZ politics for many years to come (assuming the Nats don’t abolish the Maori seats or go back to FPP).”

      you’re measuring success in terms of the political party, as if it is an end in itself, not a means to better outcomes for their voters and New Zealand.

      That’s a sad picture of politics.

      • Lew 13.1.1

        If the party doesn’t meet its supporters’ needs, they’re free to vote for someone else. By achieving such a strong profile, they increase the likelihood of being able to enact good policy. If indeed they are failing, how would you explain the apparent lack of voter flight? Please try to do so without resorting to blame-shifting bollocks such as I enumerated above.

        That having been said, the test is the election — not opinion polls and other such abstractions. So we won’t really be able to judge until next year. But this hasn’t prevented a good half-dozen Standardistas and who knows how many chicken-little commentators from proclaiming their imminent demise from almost literally the day after the agreement was signed.


        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          The test is what you achieve. George W won the 2004 election- its not going to save his place in history

          • Lew

            Absolutely. So it’s crucial to have the cattle behind your hat. But how about Howard Dean? Who’ll remember him? He didn’t even get to try.


            • Zaphod Beeblebrox

              Actually, he’ll be well remembered. He started a whole new style of campaigning and pushed the Democrats back to the left. His mantle was taken over by guess who and he was a very successful DNC chair.

              Just because you win an election or two- does not mean you are any good.

              • Lew

                He’ll be well-remembered by a small band of Democrat partisans and political historians, then. Nice.


        • Bright Red

          The problem is that MP supporters like you don’t actually demand anything from them. In fact you get all shirty at the mere suggestion that they aren’t delivering and you put your fingers in your ears when the fact that Maori are worse off under the Nat/MP government.

          • Lew

            I’m not a māori party supporter inasmuch as I can’t vote for them in a meaningful way. Even if I could I’m not sure I would. But I do think they’re doing pretty well. I’ve put my criticism on record when I’ve had it. But I recognise that their agenda isn’t the same as the economic left’s — it’s to normalise Māori politics. They’re doing exactly that.


            • Cnr Joe

              Lew – ‘it’s to normalise Māori politics (their agenda)’
              crikey, is that what the seabed and foreshore and Tarianas spat with Labour comes too? this ‘desire’ to nomalise these extremes?

              • Lew

                BR, no, those things are an (unfortunate) consequence of this political dalliance. You take the options you’ve got. Labour couldn’t provide any in November 2008.

                CJ, which extremes? It’s not about normalising one polly’s personal spat with another — it’s about normalising a political practice based in tikanga. It’s yet young, arguable how much they’ve done it, and this kind of stuff is difficult to get right. It’s a long-term project. But bully to them for trying.


            • Bright Red

              “it’s to normalise Māori politics. They’re doing exactly that”

              So, in your world Maori politics is about higher unemployment for Maori, coping out over everything, and meaningless symbols?

              • pollywog

                Maori has always had higher unemployment than eurocentrists, have pretty much been made to become welfare dependent as an excuse for them to cop out and leave it to the clever eurocentrists to ‘save’ them cos they ‘know’ whats best for Maori and meaningless symbols are only meaningless to those who dont understand the power in them.

                …aint much as changed except now Maori are in a better position than ever to assert their sovereignty and self determination.

                and funnily enough no thanks to Labour. I’d be more worried about saving yourself and looking at what the Labour party needs to do to make it relevent to Maori and mainstream NZ again than what the other guys are doing.

      • Blue 13.1.2

        “you’re measuring success in terms of the political party, as if it is an end in itself, not a means to better outcomes for their voters and New Zealand.

        That’s a sad picture of politics.”

        I agree.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 13.1.3

        Key, the MP and ACT- they’ll all go down together when they go. Its inevitable as the sun coming up tomorrow. Too many contradictions.

        • Red Rosa

          Spot on.

          • pollywog

            By then the stage will have been set for Maori as a united people to cede from NZ and create an independent autonomous state. I reckon that scenario is as inevitable as NZ becoming a republic and losing the union jack on the flag.

        • tsmithfield

          Whether you like him or not, one of Keys strengths is his ability to keep the coalition together despite the diametrically opposing views.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            If you have no convictions or beliefs you can play anybody off against anybody. Doesn’t really make for good government though.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    I think the question of this article is the wrong way around.

    The real question is, can, and will the Maori Party save Labour.

  15. deemac 15

    many political parties dream about getting voters to support them despite never delivering anything concrete, purely on symbolic grounds. In the past some parties have survived decades like that but in the end it collapses because someone else offers voters a real gain. In today’s fast moving politics it seems a doomed strategy but I suppose all Key wants is for it to last another year.
    (Talk about being overly defensive; the idea that you have to be on the Maori roll to have a valid comment on this topic is beyond sad)

  16. gingercrush 16

    The problem is the premise of the post and the clear misunderstandings you have on various issues. In regards to Whanau Ora. The budget and final details will be worked out later. Both Tariana Turia and the Maori Party and the National Party have said there would be a considerable budget set aside for Whanau Ora. As there will be 20 Whanau Ora providers the thing will require money. Also it will be its own entity or body within the government. Therefore, there isn’t a need for a separate ministry. Additionally, it will have staff from Te Puna Kokiri, Social Welfare and Development and the Health ministry. Also you contradict yourself because in any earlier posts about Whanau Ora you call it privatisation by stealth etc and how it will be corrupt and require fixing by the next Labour government. As it has agreement by all four coalition parties one imagines that it will have a considerable budget and have considerable powers to make change.

    The Declaration of Indigineous Rights is important for Maori. You actually entirely disgrace yourself by saying its not a big win for Maori or for the Maori Party. Symbolism for indigenous people is actually a big thing. Also for some of them they do see it as furthering their cause to self-determination (the racists will call that separate sovereignty or two society bullshit). What may seem meaningless to you actually isn’t meaningless for others. And in this regard I think Idiot/Savant has an excellent post about it. http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2010/04/declaration-on-rights-of-indigenous.html

    As for you puerile points on the Seabed and Foreshore. Were you not listening to Chris Finlayson on “The Nation”? If you had actually watched it you’ll find that what National and the Maori Party are likely to sign up to will deliver much more meaningful things that the piece of utter shit that was the crap Labour legislated. Yes there are sticking points such as the “public domain”, when Maori want “Maori title” or the ability to have that fee simple. He talked about the ability for Maori to enter commercial development partnerships, he talked about veto rights on development on the foreshore and seabed. He discussed Maori having the possibility for rights to certain minerals (i.e. minerals outside of Gold, Silver, Oil and Uranium). He discussed the opportunity that rather than go to court (and remember Labour legislated so one could not get grievance via the court process) that they could have direct discussions with the crown. This would be a big deal for Maori because legal costs are always expensive. Maori under National and the Maori Party will have access to justice. Something Labour could never be arsed to do. So when you pointedly talk about this issue you’re completely wrong on it.

    As Maori I’m more disgusted by your attitude and that of the left who suggest they have the right to tell us what we should do. As if aligning with the left is Maori and the Maori Party’s only option. And when they do align with the left and in particular Labour we and they get pissed on. Its you and your party that is alienating Maori. I’m not sure you should put the Greens in your category because I suspect they’re just as frustrated as the Maori Party are with the bullshit the Labour Party deals with Maori and the Maori party. Good old Labour fucking politics. Its our way or nothing else. How the fuck is that self-determination? Treating the Maori Party as Labour is doing will not get Maori out and vote. They’d sooner sit at home in disgust because you Labour (and you pretty much recognise yourself as a Labour voter since whenever the Greens say something contary to Labour you piss on them as well).

    The Maori Party under National will achieve many things for Maori. Just as in the nineties we saw numerous treaty settlements being settled so too will this National Party deliver things for Maori. Including the Foreshore and Seabed and Whanau Ora and the ability to deliver services to Maori. There is going to be much more as well.


    And it fucking amazes me how so many people here that called Don Brash disgusting and all the rest now sit there and do the exact same racist shit as he did and you don’t even fucking recognise it.

    • Lew 16.1

      GC, thanks.

      Incidentally, and I know I said I was done, the reason symbolic recognition is so important for indigenous people is because historically they’ve gotten fuck-all else from their colonisers. And so it continues.


      • RedLogix 16.1.1

        Incidentally, and I know I said I was done, the reason symbolic recognition is so important for indigenous people is because historically they’ve gotten fuck-all else from their colonisers.

        Getting real tired of the sickly white liberal guilt trip there Lew. Colonisation was 150 years and generations ago. Maori were never an under-privileged race, were the first non-white peoples to ever get the franchise, had legal status, protection and citizenship from the outset of ‘colonisation’. The Land Wars weren’t fought by anyone alive today, nor can the consequences of them be undone. As equally as Maori cannot undo the consequences of their own genocide, that series of inter-tribal wars in which they murdered 40% of their own people in the 40 yrs from 1800. There is no moral high ground for anyone to be posturing from here.

        The Crown may well have failed to meet the Maori chief’s expectations aound the Treaty, but neither has it exactly met the legitimate expectations all sorts of people over the years. Ultimately I’m left wondering what exactly why Maori aspirations get to have a superior claim ahead of anyone else’s.

        • Lew

          All that looks nice on paper, RL, but the reality was pretty far from the rosy picture you paint. Yes; bygones should be bygones. But they can only be once the grievances have been dealt with. You can’t just wish them out of existence. Like it or not, the Crown signed a treaty and successive governments are bound by it. Other groups who’ve been failed by the Crown in similar ways have their own ways of recourse and I, for one, will not stand in their path.


          • RedLogix

            Rather than flipping between two threads Lew I’ll answer you here.

            But they can only be once the grievances have been dealt with.

            Well I guess it’s only fair then to ask exactly what will deal with the grievances. Because at the moment it’s looking more and more like a blank cheque we are being asked to sign here. On the other thread you suggest, there’s no prospect whatsoever of a TÅ«hoe nation.… but then 30 years ago if anyone had suggested that Kaingaroa Forest would now be in iwi ownership some young lad like me would have likely said much the same thing. (Well in fact I didn’t say it out loud at the time, it would have been unwise in the circumstances…)

            Like it or not, the Crown signed a treaty and successive governments are bound by it.

            Well if Maori are going to interpret that Treaty as an unalienable right to assert iwi self-determination and tribal sovereignty, repudiating the NZ State as we know it, negotiating position or not…. then I’m for ripping the damn thing up.

            Other groups who’ve been failed by the Crown in similar ways have their own ways of recourse and I, for one, will not stand in their path.

            Lacking of course a ‘Treaty’ to point to, most such groups face an entirely hopeless trek down such a path. By contrast once this UN Declaration is ratified as a Convention, then iwi aspirations and goals, such as ‘fee simple’ over the S&F, and full self-determination, will be a done deal.

            I’m cool if that is what you believe … but please don’t pretend there might not be real consequences to such separatism.

          • Lew

            Right around the country — indeed, the world — there are indigenous people who wish it were half as easy as you make it seem, RL. If it were, it would be over already.

            Ripping the Treaty up is fine — any party can withdraw if they choose. But there is a cost to doing so. The question is: is that cost is greater than the cost of simply continuing to negotiate in good faith?

            If you’re spoiling for a for a fight then I’m sure you’ll find a few who’ll bring it to you. But now there are far more uppity natives than there were in the 80s — or the 1880s — and they’re better-resourced, better-educated, better-organised, with a better understanding of and greater access to legal and civil society institutions both domestically and internationally, more strongly in touch with their tikanga and the rationales behind their struggle, and generally enjoying greater sympathy within society. I don’t think that’s a fight you want to start.


            • RedLogix

              Started? Seems it never really stopped Lew. And what makes you think I’m the one spoiling for a fight; it’s Maori who are the ones making all the headlines and claims here, Maori who are well on the path to gaining full native title to all of NZ… once this UN Declaration becomes ratified as a Convention .. then the wording of that document establishes all traditional lands (ie all of NZ) as belonging to Maori. At that point us whitey/poly/asian colonists either pay rent or go back to where we came from.

              You’ll tell me I’m scaremongering, but as long as I this remains the goal of iwi (and I hear no prominent Maori voices saying otherwise)… then I think it’s you whose in denial.

              The question is: is that cost is greater than the cost of simply continuing to negotiate in good faith?

              So Tuhoe demanding an independent nation, and been encouraged to do so by a Member of Parliament is ‘negotiating in good faith’?

              You accused me earlier of not answering your questions; well I believe I’ve done my best to do so; how about responding to a few of mine?

            • Lew

              RL, I said I was done with this debate yesterday, but you have addressed some of my questions, and so I’ll reply to a few of yours.

              exactly what will deal with the grievances

              Looking to history: in terms of equivalent land value, compensation for raupatu at a rate of between 0.1 and 1% is about the standard for historical Treaty claims including the Waikato, Ngāi Tahu and some of the Northland claims. There are a few instances where iwi have done better — a few per cent or more — of the equivalent compensation paid (for comparison) to Pākehā farmers whose land was expropriated (in some cases to enact a treaty settlement). I think that’s a rough indication in dollar-and-cent terms. This relatively low rate is why the intangibles are important as well. Those iwi who have negotiated settlements have, in general, not taken the piss.

              And what makes you think I’m the one spoiling for a fight; it’s Maori who are the ones making all the headlines and claims here

              Well, yes — using the legal and civic institutions of the country to press their claims, legitimately and via due legal process. If you seek to halt that process, then it’s you who’s (re)starting the fight which was brewing in the late 70s and early 80s before those institutions were put in place.

              I distinguish here between criticising the process (or arguing for its reform) and simply declaring it illegitimate and advocating a return to what existed beforehand, with little or no recognition of or recompense for the Crown’s wrongdoing and no recourse to due process. As I said in the other thread: resistance will flow around the barriers while genuine grievance and injustice remains.

              Maori who are well on the path to gaining full native title to all of NZ once this UN Declaration becomes ratified as a Convention .. then the wording of that document establishes all traditional lands (ie all of NZ) as belonging to Maori. At that point us whitey/poly/asian colonists either pay rent or go back to where we came from.

              You say this as if it’s a done deal. As I say: plenty of people who’ve spent their entire lives struggling for a tiny fraction of what you see as an inevitability wish it were so.

              And as for claiming the whole country, and tau iwi going home: nobody credible on the Māori side is laying claim to the whole country — only those parts of it which were illegitimately alienated by confiscation, war or so on. Every iwi is on record conceding that there are areas which were legitimately disposed of. Even given those areas which were illegally taken, in every single documented case bar none the group in question has been content to settle for a small fraction of the value or area in question. Also, every single credible Māori leader on this topic — including without exception the members of the māori party — have declared that they have no wish for foreigners to go home, that they are committed to continuing in a bicultural partnership. Just like they’ve been crystal clear at every point that nobody will be barred from the beaches. So it really is just scaremongering. The counter-evidence to your claims is there: you just don’t believe it; or don’t want to believe it.

              So Tuhoe demanding an independent nation, and been encouraged to do so by a Member of Parliament is ‘negotiating in good faith’?

              It’s an opening gambit, in the usual TÅ«hoe style. Bearing in mind that until recently they refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Treaty, surely even you can see that this represents progress? Another thing: it’s not a demand — they’re not really in a position to “demand”, and nor is any iwi group, because the demographic, legal and economic facts on the ground are that Māori don’t get anything except by leave of the Pākehā majority. The initial settlement of Aotearoa was by consent — the Treaty — and the restitution for breaches of that settlement agreement is also subject to consent. This is civil society working as intended.

              I really am done with the topic, now. I have other things to attend to. Thanks for the debate, even if — like BR, we disagree utterly on much of it, I do look forward to next time.


    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 16.2

      Good on you for saying al that GC, now can you ask Key to get up and let the National Party now all that. Maybe at a party conferene or perhaps when he’s meeting Fed Farmers or at the Northern Club. Lets see if Key can put his money where his mouth is or is it just lip service to tieup the next election?

    • Blue 16.4

      Oh spare us the outrage GC.

      Whanau Ora will mean something when it gets a sizeable chunk of new money. Not just existing money that was already paying for existing services still paying for those services, just shuffled around a bit.

      The Declaration and the Foreshore and Seabed deal are just National’s way of giving the Maori Party what it wants without actually giving it what it wants. The key words being, for the Declaration that ‘it won’t have any practical effect’ and for the F&S ‘the majority of NZers won’t notice any difference’.

      As for the Left ‘telling Maori what to do’ – that’s really the nub of the issue, isn’t it?

      Pride. The ‘mana-enhancement’ Pita’s so fond of. Pride matters so much to the Maori Party and their supporters that they’ll do anything, swallow any rat, turn a blind eye to any issue, as long as they feel like they’re the man.

      National flatters the Maori Party and they bat their eyelashes and giggle because all they ever wanted was someone to tell them they’re beautiful.

      You think the Left should just piss off and not say anything about the Emperor having no clothes. He’s your Emperor and if you say he has clothes, then he damn well has clothes and no one can tell you any different.

      But the Left will always tell you when they can see his willy, even if you don’t want to hear it.

  17. Ianmac 17

    As a lurker I find that the discussion from all sides is interesting and fruitful.
    I suspect however that what any family anywhere wants is a decent wage, a decent roof, decent friends, before getting tied up in the finer points. Which raises the point about whether the Maori Party represents the bulk of the families.

  18. Which raises the point about whether the Maori Party represents the bulk of the families.

    Thats what its setting itself up to do with Whanau Ora, while the iwi leadership group represents the wider iwi and hapu. I can see the odd clash but mostly i doubt they’ll want to hang their dirty laundry out to dry in public.

    I just cant wait to see the arse end of the treaty. FFS settle the damn thing and lets all move forward or sideways or wherever just not stuck in the rut of indecision.

  19. Anne 19

    As another lurker I find this debate interesting but largely a waste of time. There’s going to be no understanding between the Maori Party and Labour until Tariana Turia as left the political scene. She lives in a perpetual state of hatred and revenge (for past imagined slights she has never really been able to verify) and all her actions reflect it. No political party founded on such a premise is going to last for very long. Peter Sharples seems to have lost his way. Hone Harawira is eaten up with his own set of hatreds handed down to him from his mother. The other two seem to be blindly following their leaders regardless of where they take them.

    I’m with TVoR @ 1.14pm. Leave them to sink or swim in a hash of their own making. Nothing the Left tries to do for them is going to make one tot of difference.

  20. Kerry 20

    Good call Gingercrush. For far too long now Labour has taken the Maori vote for granted, that has now come to bite them in the arse. As for the predominantly middle class and white Labour Party valiantly trying to save those ungrateful maoris (who don’t even know when they are voting for the wrong people) from themselves, you are about as out of touch as brash or hyde.

  21. Chess Player 21

    A better question is “Should we save the Maori Party?”

  22. Anne 22

    During the past 12 months I have watched quite a lot of parliament but mainly question time. Several times I spotted Sharples et al laughing and jeering at Labour along with their political masters the Nats. I even had the impression on one occasion at least that they weren’t really sure why they were laughing. I found it funny at the time. I don’t find it funny anymore.

    They’re not worth saving Chess Player which I think is what you are really saying?

  23. Puddleglum 23

    If running prisons for private profit is good for Maori then presumably it’s good for everyone? If running welfare through private institutions is good for Maori then presumably it’s good for everyone? If making benefits harder to get and stay on is good for Maori (freeing them from ‘welfare dependency’ as Tariana Turia argued) then presumably it’s good for everyone? If tax cut packages that give large reductions in tax for high income earners is good for Maori then presumably it’s good for everyone? Etc., etc..

    To say ‘yes’ is to accept that the Right is, indeed, ‘right’ and therefore one should become right wing.
    To say that, ‘no’, it can be good for Maori but perhaps not good for anyone else is to assume that ‘cultural differences’ determine the beneficence of economic and social policies and that Maori are so constituted that ‘our’ poison will be ‘their’ ambrosia. I don’t believe that for a moment but, if true, it would still mean that much of the left should shut up shop.

    Alternatively – and this, I think, is the nub – if the way the Maori Party envisages such policies being implemented and worked through in Maori communities (e.g., via iwi, hapu or whanau based collective structures) will be substantially different from the way they will be implemented in non-Maori communities (e.g., through private corporations and businesses of one form or another) then why doesn’t the Maori Party point that out? Why doesn’t it make clear that the real ‘cultural difference’ here is actually a difference in how Maori do (or intend) to organise ‘their’ economy and society? [Of course, the ultimate tragedy would be if, even in Maori settings, the policies come to be implemented along individualist, capitalist lines and to hell with the whanau and hapu.]

    Now, that would be truly revolutionary for us all and would be true to the import of what a human culture actually is – ‘culture’, that is, is nothing other than the material social and economic organisation of a collective. [Sorry Lew, but putting these two notions – material/economic and cultural – in opposition, as you appear to do, is truly simplistic. And don’t be afraid of the term ‘material’ – as Chomsky once pointed out, there hasn’t been a mind-body problem since the demise of mechanistic philosophy and, hence, the demise of any viable theory of the ‘body’ (i.e., of materiality)!]

    My ‘beef’ with the Maori Party is that they are letting National impose socially destructive policies on the bulk of New Zealand (and New Zealanders), who are organised along the lines of individualistic capitalism, while believing they, as a people, will have a different outcome because they are organised (or at least they are organised in some vestigial forms) – materially and economically – radically differently from the rest of New Zealand. The ‘cultural difference’ is actually a different form of social and economic organisation. Make THAT the headline, Tariana, and encourage other groups to re-organise themselves socially and economically and then see how long the ‘agreement’ with National lasts.

    • Lew 23.1

      I’m not putting them in opposition, PG. The problem with the parts of the economic left is that they oppose the two in a “real”/”unreal” dichotomy. I’ve adopted that dichotomy strictly for the purposes of demonstrating how fallacious it is. — and how fallacious the argument is that there’s a substantial opportunity cost to doing one which precludes the other.


  24. gingercrush 24

    Oh bah. Anyway this whole thread is in one way completely stupid in that the only people who will decide the fate of the Maori Party are Maori voters themselves who in 2011 have a decision on what candidate they vote for in the Maori electorates.

    • lprent 24.1

      Probably more important is which party they vote for.

      • gingercrush 24.1.1

        For Labour perhaps and in regards to the hangover factor. But the Maori Party at this stage and in the future seems unlikely to reach the 5% threshold therefore they’re wholly reliant on the electorate vote. Of course most of those who vote the Maori Party split their party vote to Labour.

        • Pascal's bookie

          “those who vote the Maori Party split their party vote to Labour”

          That’s what Labour should be most worried about IMHO. Keeping that true.

          • marty mars

            As a maori party voter there is no way my party vote will go to labour – if labour think they are going to get a big party vote from maori then they are mistaken but of course, time will tell

  25. luva 25

    This faux concern isn’t for Maori at all.

    The Maori party and Maori as a group are intelligent enough to work out when they are getting screwed. And even if they couldn’t work it out what concern is to the left, other then the fact you need them to get back into power.

    Wasn’t it this ‘we know best’ crap that got the left thrown from government on ’08. When will you learn. People were happy with Labours policies, it was their leadership style that the swingers got sick of.

    Try worrying about your own leader and shambles of a party before pretending to be concerned for a group who appear to be perfectly happy dealing with the government.

  26. Anne 26

    ” gingercrush
    21 April 2010 at 11:48 pm
    Oh please Anne Labour is no slouch in the jeering department.”

    Never said they weren’t!
    Labour’s behaviour had no relevancy to the point I was making.

  27. Murray 27

    We can see Labours true attitudes towards Maori shining through in a lot of these posts.
    As long as Maori are subservient and accept that the white man and the Left knows whats best for them, they’ll allow them a few crumbs from the table.

    But once they start thinking for themselves and show some organization and skill in using MMP to their advantage then the great Labour Left Hate filled, Racist bashing machine descends on them.

    I have never been a Maori Party supporter but I admire the gains they have made in working with National. They have advanced the cause of Maori to the benefit of New Zealand more in their short alliance with National then all the long years of Labour giving only lip service to the Maori vote.

  28. Alexandra 28

    The DIR signing is a massive victory for the MP and good on them. Key can refer the signing as being merely sybolic given it is non binding, however over time the DIR will strengthen arguments in favour of Maori independance. It will be a bad look if the government over time continues to ignore its obligations and at some point will need to explain itself. Ive been very disappointed with the MP performance, but not on this issue. I hope others on the left can see this achievement for what it, is rather than what Key believes it to be. It will be interesting to see how the DIR unfolds here and how Labour will respond when next in government. Next year, I hope!

    • RedLogix 28.1

      however over time the DIR will strengthen arguments in favour of Maori independance.

      So exactly what do you mean by this? What do you think ‘independence’ will look like and how do you hope it will work in practice?

  29. gobsmacked 29

    So today, another chance for the Maori Party to make a real gain – one that goes beyond gestures and honeyed words.

    The Maori Party have got lucky in the ballot for private members’ bills. MP Rahui Katene’s bill has been drawn, namely:

    Goods and Services Tax (Exemption of Healthy Food) Amendment Bill

    This is a core Maori Party policy (in their 2008 election manifesto). So what will happen? We already know. National will vote it down. In response, the Maori Party will do … nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    Still, it’s only about the price of food. Some people are more excited about a UN declaration.

    I bet those people all have full stomachs.

    • marty mars 29.1

      are you saying that the maori party will vote against it’s own bill?

      or that the gnats will vote against it and you’d like the maori party to walk?

      Funny that you cannot even give credit for the bill in the first place – shows where you be at – still i bet you have a full stomach don’t ya?

      • gobsmacked 29.1.1

        “Funny that you cannot even give credit for the bill in the first place”

        No, I can’t. Because it’s meaningless.

        Private member’s bills are there to try and effect change. Usually they don’t, but sometimes they do. Keith Locke’s bill last night, for example, was worth a try – there was a chance that it could have gone to first reading. Ditto many others, and of course a few make it into law (Sue Bradford had several). MPs try and persuade other MPs from other parties.

        But if there is no chance of Katene’s bill making any progress because of her own party, then it is worse than a gesture. It is a fraud.

        Next month, all the Maori Party MPs will vote to increase GST to 15%. That’s action. This is words.

        • marty mars

          i don’t think all the maori party mp’s will vote to increase GST to 15%

          How many labour MP’s voted to increase GST from 10 to 12.5%?

          • gobsmacked

            It’s in the Budget. They have to vote for it. No choice.

            I’ve no idea what a bunch of Labour/ACT/United Future MPs did in the 1980’s. Bad shit, probably. Ask Roger Douglas.

            Look, I’m sure Rahui Katene genuinely wants to remove GST from healthy food. I accept that. But she’s out of her depth with the NACT sharks. It’s painful to watch.

            • marty mars

              I hope they take GST off healthy food and basic food and I hope the maori party vote no for the increase – I hope and hope and hope…

          • Bright Red

            ‘i don’t think all the maori party mp’s will vote to increase GST to 15% ”

            If they don’t the deal with national is over – it’s the budget vote = confidence and supply.

            I hope you’re right, mm.

  30. Alexandra 30

    Redlogix ‘So exactly what do you mean by this? What do you think ‘independence’ will look like and how do you hope it will work in practice? ‘
    Maori viewpoint on what independence is and how it will work in practice depends on whether opinion is sympathetic to Maori nationalism, maori sovereignty or simply a honouring of the treaty of waitangi (Maori version) which provides for self determination. Article 3 of the DIR gives the right to self determination. Another gives indigenous people the right to choose their political status and how to develop. I havent given much thought to how these rights will work in practice but understand that there are many within the MP that advocate for self determination in area’s such as health, education, and justice. These ambitions are well known and progress has been made in some respects. My point is, that the MP has secured the signing of the DIR which has been a bone of contention for maori and this will be seen as a significant achievement by Maori voters regardless of how it will work in practice.

    • RedLogix 30.1

      Well I appreciate the good faith attempt you’ve made to answer the question, but frankly it doesn’t give me much of a steer. Essentially it seems that ‘self-determination’ more or less means anything you want it to mean.

      On the other hand but understand that there are many within the MP that advocate for self determination in area’s such as health, education, and justice can in practise only mean separate systems.

      Different primary schools seems harmless enough, but at a tertiary level I’m struggling to imagine how “Maori quantum mechanics” would be usefully different to “white colonial quantum mechanics”.. but that might just be a quibble.

      Different health systems? I’m guessing that while Maori physiology is pretty much the same as white people’s, their spiritual needs must be quite different. Come to think of it so are mine; can I have my own health system too?

      As for different justice systems, well I guess that can be made to work too. After all the Islamic world has enjoyed numerous competing schools of jurisprudence for many centuries; opposing plainfiff’s either agreed on the judge of their mutual choosing, or settled the matter in the time honoured direct fashion man on man. In the NZ context I’m wondering if there would be different laws for different skin colours, and if those of us who have parents with both skin colours get to pick and choose which ones we will abide by? Lots of complications.

      Is this what you mean by self-determination? Because if so either someone hasn’t thought it through very well…. or they have, and they’re not telling.

      • Lew 30.1.1

        RL, in fairness, you’re asking random people on the internet to discuss something which doesn’t exist yet and of which they can have had no direct experience. There is no canonical answer to “how will it work in practice” because it’s never been implemented in practice. If you want real answers as to what self-determination is and how it might work, I suggest you refer to those who use the term and have sketched out its parameters — Durie (junior and senior); Kawharu (also junior and senior), Jackson, Walker, etc.

        But strangely enough, you’ve got close-ish to how I understand it in principle: self-determination is Māori figuring out how their own institutions work, and the extent to which those overlap with Pākehā institutions. In practice, much of the time there should be a very great deal of overlap. Whanau Ora, in its nascent form, is a pilot example of this. Implementation is the key, so we’ll see how it plays. Because the way I figure, it includes the right to experiment, make mistakes, fail, and retry. Not that that has prevented people around here from writing it off before it’s even underway.


        • RedLogix

          you’re asking random people on the internet to discuss something which doesn’t exist yet

          As ‘Maori independence’ seemed something they’re dead keen on, I was hoping they might have a more concrete idea of what it could entail than I do. I thought it a fair question.

          There is no canonical answer to “how will it work in practice’ because it’s never been implemented in practice.

          Yes I’ve read some of the above people although probably not in the depth you have…. and came away with more questions than answers. Maybe my experiences in the 80’s oversensitised me to the more extremist Maori intentions, but I’m sincere in saying that I believe the same racist sub-text remains.

          In simple terms I was told, face to face, that the long-term goal was to restore Aoteoroa to it’s pre-colonial state; the full restoration of ‘traditional native title’ to all their lands, and the the absolute rule of the chiefs. Of course it couldn’t be done all at once, they knew perfectly well that they were demographically, legally and economically incapable of achieving this at that time. It was to be the work of several more generations.

          When a man who is to this day still the publically respected chairman of a major iwi tells you face to face, “You whitey’s can either pay rent or fuck off back to where you came from”… it tends to be a memorable encounter. As was another when I was told that “You white boys should have finished us brown’s off when you had the chance, because one day we will make you regret your weakness”. Extreme for sure… but then again I guess I was just an impressionable youth back then.

          More than anything I dreamed of a future where both races might learn from each other’s strengths, might both escape the confines of the flawed legacies they both brought to these shores. But it was a useless hope in the face of such racist hatred… and while it may have morphed into a more sophisticated, ‘work within the system’ form in recent decades… I do wonder if much has really changed.

          • Lew

            RL, thanks. That comment that gives me more of an understanding of your position than anything else I’ve read.

            I’ve heard all sorts of that sort of talk, and I accept that there are some unsavoury, old-fashioned and downright outlandish ideas in play. I don’t know about your relationship to these people (how well you know them; the context of your meetings, etc.) but there’s a very great deal of suspicion toward random whitey; I think even you’d recognise that much of it is pretty understandable from people who remember being caned for speaking their language in school, etc.

            The real agenda (as I understand it — bearing in mind that I’m also an outsider, to a large extent) is a bit more nuanced and complex, more practical and less ambitious, and holds a great deal more room for flexibility. You might consider the position you describe as an initial, adversarial, “staunch” position to be negotiated with an opponent with a deep history of betrayal.

            “You white boys should have finished us brown’s off when you had the chance, because one day we will make you regret your weakness’.

            I’m not sure if you read it, but I remarked on this recently, and I’ve often made this very argument as a counterfactual. You can read the post on it here (it refers to you).

            Still looking for answers form Chris on that one, but I’m prepared to be patient — and I get how the framing is somewhat reminiscent of a pig-fucker argument, not necessarily conducive to civil discourse.

            Cheers for the discussion, anyway.


            • RedLogix

              I don’t know about your relationship to these people (how well you know them; the context of your meetings, etc.) but there’s a very great deal of suspicion toward random whitey;

              Well in one sense I was a ‘random whitey’, but in another… well let me put it this way, I’ve spent a lot more weekends on various marae than you would expect. You probably don’t think I learnt much from the experience, and it’s true that I’ve been expressing here the worst of it… but there was a hell of lot else I would not have missed for the world.

              But if there was one thing I did come through that period of my life with, was a secure sense of being Pakeha… this was my identity for better or worse. I came out not so much with an intimacy with the Maori world, but a solidity around my own whakapapa.

              It also left me with a clear sense of the deep and vital differences between the two ‘world-views’ and that neither had a monopoly on either vice or virtue. That while Maori for instance were naturally far more generously socialist folk than us Westerners, their society was also far more graduated into fine class distinctions than we are accustomed to. Lots of paradoxes and lessons, and one or two moments of great mystery and portent.

              It’s not lost on me that for generations Maori were relegated to second or third class people in this nation, and maybe they do need their own cultural space to emerge from that ghetto … but NZ is a smallish place and there has to be a practical limit on how far we can edge apart before one or other of us falls out of bed… as it were.

              I realise we tend to shout at each other across a gap of years, differing education and experiences… but the discussion has been worthwhile. Thanks.


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