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Class and the Maori Party

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, November 12th, 2008 - 71 comments
Categories: maori party, national/act government - Tags:

The New Zealand Herald has a telling story today about how the Maori Party’s decision over whether to prop up a right-wing National/ACT government “has exposed a schism between iwi elite views and ordinary Maori”.

Ordinary working class Maori who’ve felt the brunt of right-wing policies in the past are, unsurprisingly, not keen to sacrifice their whanau’s interests again, while those at the head of the new Maori business class who stand to gain from a National/ACT government are all for it.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, it merely exposes the fundamental contradiction in an identity-based party. Because while the Maori Party claims class isn’t an issue and that it can speak for all Maori, the simple fact is we live in a capitalist society where class is the defining political and economic divide.

There are times when the Maori Party will have to choose between backing the interests of the Maori working class or the interests of the Maori business elite. A common Maori identity is no use when one side wants a pay rise and the other wants to keep its profits; when one side wants a top-bracket tax cut and the other wants better public health and education.

We saw this contradiction when the Maori Party backed, then opposed, National’s 90 day fire at will bill. We saw it again when the Maori Party said it was for raising the minimum wage, then opposed an increase for workers on foreign fishing vessels. We will no doubt see a lot more of it in the weeks and months to come.

My concern is that in its pollyannish refusal to accept the reality of class the Maori Party will sell its people down the river on the false right-wing promise of ‘ambition’, and they won’t realise what they’ve done until it’s far too late.

Identity politics can be a dangerous thing.

71 comments on “Class and the Maori Party ”

  1. Tricked again by the white man perhaps?

  2. the sprout 2

    “Maori Party claims class isn’t an issue”

    Pfnarr pfnarr, just like Thatcher said “There’s no such thing as society”.
    I think that’s called Tactical Blindness.

    It was a mistake for Labour to abandon class politics in the 70s, it’d be an even bigger mistake for the Maori party.

  3. Tane 3

    leftrightout – I wouldn’t say that, I don’t think the Maori Party are dumb or have a colonial mindset. It’s just that by ignoring the central fault line in modern politics they’re leaving themselves open to right-wing intrigue, and it’s their working class supporters who will suffer.

  4. danielle 4

    NZ’s Birth as Third World Backwater

    Trinkets and blankets replaced by corporate contracts!!!!

    As soon as contracts are signed bulk funding will be cut which will cause a lot of strife and unrest from the those on the lower rungs who will be even further marginalised.

    The minute those contracts are signed the Maori Party are dogs dinners.

    The Maori Party will try to pull out when they see how things really are but it will be too late….they are gone, and so will John Key who will have done his job.

    Who then takes care of Maori welfare, Maori health, Maori education? You can imagine the crime stats.

    We will then be like every other third world country where the indigenous attack each other and the mainstream for survival while the corporates have walked away with briefcases packed with money.

    We are only two or three benefit payments away from civil war in this country.

  5. Daveski 5

    Tane – a fascinating topic and while I disagree with your views strongly you create a basis for robust discussion with your post.

    I have a number of responses.

    First, if you read the full article, you will get a completely difference context than what you portray. On balance, the Maori views represented are more in favour than against.

    Second, class as you would define is a European concept. I would have thought mana and tino rangatiratanga as being more valid. Further, class is economic and can and does change over time and generations. By inference, you could claim that to infer Maori are lower class citizens is inherently racist and overlooks the growing brown economy.

    Third, you overlook what Labour did to Maori and in particular the MP. Ditching closing the gaps, the foreshaw legislation, the last cab off the rank, all have some real significance.

    Fourth, you ignore what the Nats have done for Maori in the past. Treaty settlements and kohanga for a start.

    Fifth, there is a much strong link between Maori values and those of National. Property rights for one. The development of Maori schooling under National is no surprise given their support for independent and character schools compared to the one-size fits all model.

    Finally, the political leverage for Maori of NOT being tied to a party will enable them to get more for Maori.

    This has the potential to be a circuit-breaker for all NZ – to engage the right constructively in building a better NZ for all NZers

  6. Lampie 6

    If Maori is truely a collective society then class shouldn’t be an issue

  7. MikeE 7

    The Maori Party don’t want Maori to be dependent on government handouts. They want to see a strong and vibrant Maori and NZ economy.

    They appear to want to devolve welfare from the state, to local levels. Which I think is a good thing.

    Tane – what do you want?

    Why are these bad goals?

    Would you prefer Maori to be party of some class struggle, merely so they can be labour supporters? or would you prefer them to be wealthy?

    I’m glad you’ve come to the realisation though, that identity politics is a bad thing, and that not all Maori can be represented by one viewpoint. How very individualist of you 😉

  8. the sprout 8

    “class is economic and can and does change over time and generations”

    umm, those who belong to the different classes might change over time, but definitions like “owners of capital vs owners of labour” are entirely persistent over time. it’s neither culturally specific nor era-specific.

  9. Rob 9

    MikeE

    Totally agree with you Maori want a lot more than what Labour were delivering. Labour were very slow to work that out. Being shackled to Welfare dependency is not what they want. I believe they will work in well with National and Key and get some real gains for Maori

  10. Daveski 10

    Agreed spout so why claim that Maori be best represented by the owners of labour?

    As MikeE points out, if class politics is all that matters, there is no grounds for entrenching the Maori seats. Perhaps Tane is starting to adopt some of National’s policies in retaliation for National stealing Labour’s?

  11. the sprout 11

    nice try daveski, albeit clumsy.

    of course there is no simple bifurcation to be had, just as there isn’t for any ethnic group. it’s a matter of proportion. of course there are plenty of maori who own capital but there are many more who own none.

    and true the maori seats are irrelevant if you assume there is no causal relationship between effective representation and social justice. fortunately the sentient tend to think otherwise.

  12. Tripod 12

    I don’t really agree that class is a purely European concept, if you include stratified and hierarchical societies as having “classes”.

    Maori owned slaves at a time when slaves could not be held in England, and even after the slave trade was abolished by Wilberforce. Authority over others was based on birth and Maori society was also mysoginistic, the same as in England.

    Male Maori landowners also got the right to vote in 1867 and landless male Pakeha did not get the right to vote until 1879.

    I think working class Maori have more in common with working class Pakeha than Maori who sit in the Sealords boardroom.

  13. Ana 13

    when the majority of us Maori in the flax roots gets shafted, how will the Maori Party sell right wing crap to our communities? Here’s hoping that Key gets all the shit he deserves in Peru at the apec meeting.

    “With the growth of inequality and social polarisation within Maori
    communities it is increasingly difficult to sustain this notion that
    Maori communities are classless communities that share the same sets
    of experiences of inequality and the same political aspirations…
    Working class Maori have had to face the prospects of increased
    poverty, falling real incomes, unemployment, deteriorating employment
    conditions and job security, social welfare cuts and user-charges for
    education and health services. So, while those Maori representing
    tribal corporations and commercial interests have directly benefited
    from the economic policies of successive governments, the
    over-representation of Maori in the working class has meant that the
    vast majority of Maori families have borne the brunt of the economic
    restructuring.”

    “Tino Rangatiratanga should embrace a system in which our entire
    economy is geared up to satisfy the needs of human beings our tikanga,
    cultural values and aspirations not the profit margins of a tiny
    elite. (i.e. human need, not greed!) It would encapsulate our role as
    kaitiaki, guardians of the earth and the eco-system. It would be based
    on a vision of society free of racism, class exploitation, women’s
    oppression, homo-phobia and the oppression of indigenous peoples.

    This helps us to understand the nature of Maori corporations,
    corporate warriors, the brown table, tribal capitalists, who by
    cashing in the momentum created by Tino Rangatiratanga advocates, have
    managed cash up generations of Maori struggle for only a small
    fraction of what the land, fisheries and other resources were worth
    (and for some Maori assigning a $$ value to Papatuanuku or Tangaroa is
    obscene). Tino Rangatiratanga needs to be rescued from corporate
    warriors, tribal executives and Maori businesses along with the
    ideologues of the New Right to define Tino Rangatiratanga in a way
    that seriously threatens the living standards of the vast majority of
    working class Maori whanau.”

  14. Lew 14

    Tane, the problem is that you seem to believe class trumps Māoriness, and it doesn’t – Māori by and large don’t define themselves as being members of a given class, they predominantly identify first and foremost with a hapu, iwi, or generally as tangata whenua. Daveski is right in that it’s a European concept brought here by colonialism – not to say Māori didn’t have aspects of class, just that they’re not really like those you’re deploying. Also not to say that modern ideas of class are irrelevant – just that it’s not the central overarching factor for most that you think it is.

    It’s disingenuous to say the māori party represent the `Māori business elite’ – the only one of those MPs who can genuinely be called a capitalist is Hone Harawira, and his capitalism isn’t the sort which necessarily puts him at odds with the views and values of his community – in fact, one of the major purposes of his capitalism has been community development in Northland. It looks like you’re stretching to apply a `subaltern’ argument a la Ranginui Walker to the māori party – that they’re serving the needs of those who’ll best feather their own nest rather than those who’ll best serve their constituents. I think this argument can legitimately be applied to Māori MPs in Labour and National (though perhaps not exclusively), but I don’t think it can be credibly applied at all to the māori party or its MPs.

    The māori party’s mandate now isn’t as strong as it could have been, and that dints their already arguable claim to represent Māori in general on the basis of holding perspectives and policies based in tikanga. But they did grow their mandate from 2005, and regardless of that, all five MPs are well-respected and authoritative voices within Māoridom; they’ve been elected on that mana, and in their post-election hui they’ll be getting a very clear steer on how they should approach National. Constituents elect MPs for leadership and grant them mandate so they can exercise due judgement. I think they’ll exercise that judgement, and like Daveski says, if it begins a bidding war to fulfil the needs of Māori constituents in order to win their votes, so much the better for them.

    L

  15. Ana 15

    49 percent of Maori enrolled didn’t vote, 1 in 5 Maori live in Australia, that’s not a mandate for the Maori Party under the wing of the national/act govt to bring more pain into our communities.

  16. Lew 16

    Ana: Right. That’s (hopefully) what Pita, Tariana, et al. are thinking to themselves: if we sell our people out now, we’re ruined for ever, and so is Māori politics. There’s more at stake than just money or votes – their own personal standing, and the standing of their iwi, hapu and whakapapa both past and future are on the line here.

    L

  17. relic 17

    Excellent Tane,
    you have succinctly expressed what many struggle to explain as they lack or do not wish to employ a class analysis. Most parties claim and try to varying degrees to represent all New Zealanders. This acrobatic feat has not yet been achieved in the real world.

    Hence the ongoing ideological contest in all political parties. It is tempting for marxists (shock, horror, there are still a few of us around) to be impatient with “identity politics’. However “identity’ often meets the sharp end of oppression, the perceived personal point of contact if you like with capital and the state forces for colonised peoples in particular.

  18. danielle 18

    Thank-you Ana, you translated the “Trough Culture” beautifully. Maori businesses, corporate warriors, tribal executives are no different from any corporate predator currently contaminating NZ like rogue viruses.

    We, Pakeha and Maori, are both victims of corporate welfarism but in this instance Maori will get a double dose, via corporate contracts to divvy up health, welfare and education budgets between the elitist brown table, and a triple dose in terms of the seduction of the Maori Party and the slashing of the Resource Management Act.

    How easy will it be to sell off assets, land, food resources, foreshore, water, mineral and gas deposits to multinational predators, with no RMA and no strong Maori opposition?

    The Maori Party will sink us all.

  19. Lew 19

    Danielle: Have you actually read the māori party’s nine foundational kaupapa, the policies which derive from them, or listened to any of the (hundreds of) speeches and addresses and seminars they’ve given explicitly saying this isn’t what they’re about?

    Dismissing them as just another snout in the trough does them a disservice – these aren’t some opportunity Johnny-come-lately parasites we’re talking about, and the party isn’t a get rich quick scheme.

    L

  20. Chess Player 20

    danielle,

    “Pakeha”?

    Who are these ‘pakeha’ and where can I buy one?

  21. Carol 21

    I think this is a complicated issue. I don’t think Maori issues can be collapsed into class that easily, or vice versa. It’s more a class of separate cultural/social factors that sometimes overlap and/or intersect, and sometimes are in conflict. Honouring the Treaty has a lot to do with cultural practices and beliefs that cut across class.

    OTOH, within the context of international capitalism, a large proportion of Maori are struggling from a lower socio-economic position. This is a very complex thing for the Maori Party, Maori in general, Pakeha, and other communities to work through.

    Also, keep in mind the MP have the threat of National working towards abolishing the Maori seats. This is a threat to the very existence of the MP. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they acted to counter that through a deal with National. But it may also put them in a compromised position as regards the MP constituents.

  22. Daveski 22

    What a fascinating discussion.

    I accept that there must be distrust of *some* in National who will undoubtedly be uncomfortable for the direction that Key has taken.

    However, some of the criticisms of my support for the Nats working with MP (or is it vice versa) show how poorly Maori have done under BOTH parties. Moreover, Maori as beneficiaries would appear to me the equivalent of a left “Maori sux” campaign.

    It’s interesting to put this debate into a broader context of identity vs class ideology. The Soviet Union actively suppressed identity in favour of class. I’m not suggesting this is Labour’s strategy but Tane clearly believes class is more important than identity which raises a valid question of why would the Maori Party work with Labour?

    Pragmatically, the heat has gone out of this issue anyway as the MP aren’t in a kingmaker position.

  23. Quoth the Raven 23

    Lew, Daveski – Class is not a “european concept.” It is inherent element of the captialist system. Which in case you didn’t know Maori are part of.

    I have many misgivings about the Maori party. They came out with a lot of policies during the campaign that if enacted would bankrupt any government. They seemed to be totally uncosted and not thought through at all. I just can’t see where they’re coming from. Policies like the make-work scheme make absolutley no sense to me and did anyone take the christmas handout policy seriously?

  24. danielle 24

    Lew, You are in dreamland baby.

    If you read the Herald article and the article inserted by Tane it is plain as the nose on your face that all ordinary Maori people will have left after the trough swillers have had their fill from targeted education, health, welfare funding and arm-twisting alterations to the RMA is, one empty trough.

    Think feudal society, and a rangatira wearing the rich robes of office eating at a banquet. Surrounding him at dinner are his loyal family and a host of other devotees and supporters bonded by various feudal loyalties or simply grasping opportunists. Serving them all are the slaves, those who do all the work. The slaves will, as always, scrabble and fight for the crumbs under the table. Except now they will have to fight and scrabble much harder as even the crumbs are being swept up into greedy gobs, before they fall.

  25. Janet 25

    Pakeha tend to see Maori as one group and don’t realise how hierarchical and diverse Maori actually are as an ethnic group. It is significant that Georgina Te Heu Heu, Tau Henare, Hekia Parata and Donna Awatere (National/Act MPs) come from the ‘Maori aristocracy’ – powerful families in historically powerful iwi.

  26. Lew 26

    Well, I’m on record already as saying that National – māori party negotiations will probably break down with without coming to much. Audrey Young reckons it’s an Associate Minister of Māori Affairs position in exchange for abstention on confidence and supply. That initially strikes me as a good deal, because it doesn’t change the shape of government, but it does get either Pita or Tariana access to and influence over policy which affects their constituents. However, it could be a trojan horse, because such a position would mean the MP who held it would be whipped when it came to the Māori Affairs portfolio, which, if the person didn’t have any real influence over the policy direction, it’d be hollow. I expect in that case it’d break down (publicly) if either of those two were shut out or granted only token consultation – and that’d be worst-case scenario for the Nats.

    L

  27. helpful I hope for both maori and others in this debate would be to know the mindset of one supposedly practised in the art – nay this has never been a science which must operate as honestly as possible within its rules – of misleading..

    You may be aware of a term – contract debt obligations – aka CDOs. Twas a very long time indeed before the buyers of these banking ‘service industry’ products were to realise the full worth of ‘obligations’. Namely buyer obligations to perform within the limits of a seller-prescribed contract.

    Buyers had thought y’see – as you do – that sellers were so interested in their money as to grant a great bonus or discount in the price. And sellers allowed them their perception for in doing so without proper understanding very significant profits could be made. And, imagine, all signed up to! No fall-back, no legal remedy. Let alone regulation.

    Moves outside the terms of contract and voila! Profits. To the seller. aka added costs, maybe ruin, to the buyer..

    Of such (seller) persona there is need to be afraid.. very afraid.. as the above in service as a metaphor makes plain..

  28. Daveski 28

    [Janet:] Pakeha tend to see Maori as one group and don’t realise how hierarchical and diverse Maori actually are as an ethnic group

    How very true – and ironically one that Tane and others are representing by stating Maori should work with Labour.

    There is no Maori nation – there are hapu and iwi.

    Sandra Lee for one pointed out that the MP party had no mandate to be a “treaty partner” as the relationship is between the Crown and iwi.

    Surely any discussion or analysis should be on what policy concessions the MP gets, not whether they work with the NP?

  29. Lew 29

    QtR: The whole Marxist critique of capitalism which contains the concept of `class’ as you use it is a European concept. There are other concepts of class, but you picked that specific one. You’re right about Māori being part of capitalism, and I did accept that in my original comment. All I’m arguing is that it’s not the only issue in play here.

    Danielle: Mixing your class metaphors does nothing to help your case. Capitalism isn’t feudalism, and isn’t tribalism. I did read the article, but I dispute that tangata whenua capitalists are the same as tau iwi capitalists, because things which have historically been externalities to Pākehā – resource depletion, pollution, poverty among local people, etc – are not externalities in the same way to Māori. Read WAI 6 and WAI 8 (Motunui and Manukau Harbour) for an idea of what this means in practice: hint – it’s metaphysical, and transcends capital or pragmatism or politics.

    The most generic and simple meaning of tino rangatiratanga is `self-determination’ – the right and ability for a group to decide what it does with its resources. Essentially, what this requires in practice is that resources and assets alienated from iwi and hapÅ« be returned to them (even if it is only a few fractions of a per cent in most cases), with the caveat that there be sufficiently strong structures in place to prevent them being alienated again, and to allow them to be put to some suitable use (to be determined by their duly constituted representatives).
    The key is governance: the role of wider society is to ensure that governance is transparent and reflects the will of the people it represents. Resources aren’t being vested back into individual hands – they’re being vested back in social groups, a form of collective ownership, and because of this the purpose to which the resources are put should be determined by the group in question, not by some bunch of do-gooders.

    I have no interest in trying to control what Māori do with the resources they’ve waited a century and a half or more to have returned, and if you do, I’d argue you’re no better than the colonialists who took it in the first place, on the grounds that it was `going to waste’ or other equally spurious reasons.

    L

  30. Phil 30

    Lew,

    The maori affairs portfolio is a dead-end street, politically speaking. I suspect Pita/Tariana will go after, and get, an associate role in something more central – perhaps Health (Tony Ryall will be pleased…)

    More broadly, people like danielle and Ana are unrealistically fear-mongering the implication to Maori, of a National-led government. This isn’t 1984, or even 1990, and the NZ economy is still holding together remarkably well in the face of international downturn. Sure, there will be an increase in unemployment, and sure, we’ll probably have some more negative GDP out-turns, but by and large we’re doing OK.

    The outcome of the economic ideology battles have largely been decided, and there is no mood (and, more importantly, no need ) for the radical reforms we had to painfully move through previously.

  31. bobo 31

    If the Maori Party does take a cabinet position that surely must be the same as NZfirst going with National then losing all the Maori seats. Would be better for them to sit outside government if just for survival and put forward policy from a distance, they couldn’t even manage what NZfirst achieved by winning all the Maori seats. If they do go with National they would have to get some tangible big policy through and I don’t think just entrenching the Maori seats is a big enough trade off. Labour will be wanting them to go with National so they can win a few of the seats back.

  32. Chris G 32

    Prediction:

    Turias drive to be part of the Key government will cause the Maori Party to implode as the bulk of Maori who Never vote National will feel ripped off they ever gave their electorate vote to a Maori Party that become further disjunct from their populous. Maori Party loses seats in the next election or if not, definately the next next.

    as Tane described it the Elite vs non elite Maori divide.

    For Maori to go with the Nats they would be mad:
    http://2008.electionresults.govt.nz/electorateindex.html
    Go look at how the maori electorates allocated their party votes.

    The highest number national got was 1866 in Te Tai Tonga and the lowest: A stunning 844 in Ikaroa-Rawhiti

    How could they possibly justify working with the Nats?

  33. Lew 33

    Bobo: yes, I agree. Being subject to collective ministerial responsibility would sink them. it won’t happen.

    Chris G: You might be misunderstanding what `work with’ could mean. I don’t believe they’ll be supporting on confidence, and I don’t believe they’d accept being whipped. See above comments to bobo. But a consultative position which doesn’t change the size or shape of government but sends a signal – hey, we’ll take what we can get from whoever, without sacrificing our principles – could begin a bidding war between the parties for their support, and the support of Māori.

    Phil: I agree, but it seems the most likely they’ll get offered.

    Need I remind anyone that I don’t think it’ll come to this in any case?

    L

  34. gobsmacked 34

    Lew/Bobo

    The nuances of the deal are for politics saddoes like us. The public see one thing only: the minor party goes with the government, or it doesn’t.

    Each MMP election has produced a different major-minor party arrangement, across the spectrum from tight to loose. It makes no difference. Every time, the minor party is linked to the government, and suffers at the polls.

    The TV pictures will be of Turia and Sharples and Key smiling and shaking hands. The details cannot counter that. The Maori Party will “go with” National. Their fates will be intertwined.

  35. xy 35

    If there’s one thing that turns off a lot of your student population, it’s class rhetoric.

    There’s a lot of people who’ve gone away from Labour this year due to NZ First, and are hoping for a revitalised, fresh and clean centre-left Labour to vote for in 2011. If, instead, you swing right back to the hard left and are full on class war, you’re going to lose us permanently.

    Just fair warning.

  36. Daveski 36

    You’ve got to say that Key and the Nats aren’t wasting time.

    Maori party happy with talks – NZH

    I accept the issues raised and understand the sensitivities.

    Being a pollyanna, I genuinely hope that this will be better for Maori and NZ.

  37. Lampie 37

    “it’s class rhetoric.”

    No class in general you saying there xy?

  38. gobsmacked 38

    From that Herald report: “The hui were expected to be complete by Sunday”.

    That’s pretty fast. Anyone else get the feeling that these hui won’t make the slightest difference to the outcome?

  39. bobo 39

    Winston Peters once said in a pre-election interview that when the Maori Party first got into parliament Pita Sharples rang him to ask his advice on who they should go with, maybe its time to give him another call. I somehow don’t think Winston was making this up then again Winston’s advice aint worth alot these days..

  40. rave 40

    Ana’s point is correct.
    The MP does not represent the majority of Maori let alone Maori workers.

    Any sellout deal with NACT will alienate those Maori workers who did vote for them.

    Key is presenting himself as ‘centrist’ and a natural ally to Maori.

    But as Key’s real agenda begins to bite then the realities of class will make themselves felt.

    Maori, Pakeha, Pacifica and Asian workers will have to overcome any ethnic barriers to unite as a working class to bring down this government.

    Happy class struggle everyone.

  41. Lampie 41

    Seems to me there are two seperate debates here and we are merging them together. Define class and how YOU measure it

    There is no middle class Maori? Class system in Maori?????? In Asian society???? If I’m marketing 42 inch Plasma TVS??????

  42. Lew 42

    gobsmacked: The public see one thing only: the minor party goes with the government, or it doesn’t.

    This is a good point – perception does equal electoral reality. However it’s a bit simplistic. If the MP manage to extract some good policy concessions when otherwise they might have been shut down, it might work out in their favour.

    L

  43. Carol 43

    Well Scoop reckons that the entrenchment of Moari seats and the Forsehore and Seabed Act are on the table plus more than one ministerial position. As I said earlier, I thought the Maori seats would be a crucial consideration because there was the threat of National abolishing them. IMO this would be part of an offer the MP couldn’t refuse. It would win them some kudos with Maori generally. Ditto revisiting the Foreshore & Seabed Act. But still other compromises eg on class issues, could split Maori – that’s the danger.

  44. jason rika 44

    Just a side issue. I don’t need a pay rise, I’ve just stopped buying the nanny herald. Saved myself at least $400 bucks and a lot of grief to boot. I don’t know why I supported that sorry saga for so long.

    Another thing, has anyone noticed the good news on tv1 and 3 now? NZ best place to live, people coming back from Australia. We have lower tax’s, crime. Great weather. Interest rates down. More affordable housing all of a sudden. Canterbury farmers optimistic. Petrol coming down. NZ banking system robust. Great summer weather. Overseas financial crises impacting on NZ, suddenly due to overseas forces, not this government. Where’s the NZ sucks campaign now? Big money, don’t anyone be fooled; is still influential. Especially to all the dummy voters who are coerced, badgered, bribed and fooled. We need to get educating, both ourselves and others.

  45. Chris G 45

    gobsmacked: “That’s pretty fast. Anyone else get the feeling that these hui won’t make the slightest difference to the outcome?”

    Absolutely agree. Fast tracked is the way itll go, just like new developments under a ‘more streamlined’ RMA.

    The iwi elite will give the MP the go ahead to sign themselves away. Id feel very disenfranchised with that bunch if I were Maori.

  46. Amor 46

    Word on the street has it that Tariana personally believes the only good that has ever come about for Maoridom is from National governments. It’s a very interesting take on history, probably formed after her bust up with Clark. It seems she’s looking back to the days of Doug Graham and the good things he did from within National – but she has to realise he was one person, and he’s gone. She could also smarten up and realise that the party that eliminates poverty has the biggest impact on Maori – it’s not about starting a kohanga or ramming a treaty deal through.

  47. gobsmacked 47

    I don’t want to be a prophet of doom. It’s not about short-term party politics, it is in the interests of ALL of us (except right wing nutjobs) if the National party sees Maori as people to work with, not bash for cheap votes.

    But I cannot see this working out. It’s not about the deal, on paper, as of now. That’s the easy part. It’s about making it stick.

    The basic question for all minor parties doing a deal with the governing major party is:

    What will you do when the government does something that you really dislike?

    There is no point saying “it won’t happen”. It always has. It killed the Alliance (troops to Aghanistan), it almost killed NZ First with National (Wellington airport was just a pretext, the coalition was doomed after Shipley rolled Bolger). By the third go at MMP (2002), Clark had worked out that minor parties need to be able to vent. She was also lucky that she had malleable newbies in United Future who didn’t put up much resistance – but of course they had no ministerial roles either. Then after 2005 she gave Dunne & Peters so much latitude that the Foreign Minister even opposed a major foreign policy (China FTA). Will Key’s patience stretch that far? Will his supporters’?

    The Maori Party may well get policy gains and portfolios. Good on ’em for turning five seats into influence. But it’s not the positives, the bits they want to claim credit for, that make or break the MMP relationships – it’s the negatives. And unless John Key has completely neutered National (never mind ACT) there are going to be serious disagreements ahead.

    You can only walk out once.

  48. Lew 48

    Chris G/Gobsmacked: Have you ever been to a hui with māori party MPs in attendance? I have. It’s not just about the elites, as you say – those discussions can take place behind closed doors. The hui is about talking to the ordinary folks who turn up to a marae on the day. Everyone with standing gets to talk. The māori party gets to listen, and then make decisions on the basis of the mandate they’ve been goven (which is partial, and they know it).

    So while I’m more positive about the hui process and the māori party’s consultation, Gobsmacked is possibly right – there’s trouble ahead if they end up bound by collective responsibility and unable to criticise the government, or if they otherwise allow their hands to be tied. The coming years will be complicated and although John Key has proven himself a strong leader, I don’t think he’s strong enough to tell the redneck base (National’s own word for them) that they’re no longer wanted.

    But rumours are that the deal is Foreshore and Seabed repealed, Māori seats guaranteed (I’m not sure if this means entrenched), two ministerial positions and genuine policy influence. That’s a big slice o’ pie.

    L

  49. gomango 49

    northpaw – you’re so misinformed and grammatically challenged its funny. CDO = collateralised debt obligation. In legal terms absolutely nothing different about a CDO versus any other financial instrument or indeed any other contract. And aside from NZ and Australia CDO’s weren’t sold directly to retail investors anywhere globally – they were an institutional investor only product, particularly in the US. And the biggest individual holders of these securities were insurance companies and investment banks. Thats why investment banks no longer exist. But this is off topic so sorry everyone else, but just to help you with your education I’ll email the site administrator a humourus presentation which will explain all. Hopefully he/she can post it for all to see.

  50. gomango 50

    Winston Peters was never bound by any form of collective responsibility – not even with respect to his Foreign Affairs portfolio (judging by some of the comments he made at various times).

    And given there seems to be almost universal agreement from both left and right that :

    a) MP collectively is way smarter than Winston , and

    b) MP has collectively (and individually) way more integrity than Winston

    I’m prepared to believe this is a good thing for wider NZ society that is being proposed. Engagement is always a better place to start than antagonism for the sake of it. They will always have the right to withdraw if they ever feel they are being used as a trojan horse by the business roundtable/ACT secret agenda. And the burden of proof to their constituents will always be high for the Maori Party when dealing with National.

  51. Carol 51

    It looks to me like a deal that will ne good for Maori in the long run, especially if it is a fairly low level confidence and supply aggreement, rather than one involving ministerial involvement.

    It’s a pity tho it will be National that gets the credit fior it, when it is the result if a chain of events set in motion by racist dog-whistling within the National party. However, if Labour had tried to make deals on the Maori seats & the Forsehore & Seabed, there would have been a major right wing backlash against it. But, ultimately, I approve these gains for Maori, and realistically, it needed the right on-board for them to pass.

    OTOH, the deal seems to be to protect, not entrench the Maori seats. Maori need to be protected against National abolishing the seats, but it falls short of entrenchment that Labour would have proposed.

  52. Alexandra 52

    Daveski just a few point to your first thread
    Firstly National opposed the F & S Act because it did not go far enough. They wanted any reference to customary rights removed. National did achieve some major settlements with Maori, however it was labour which amended the act to allow historical claims…allowing such settlements, which were prohibited under the National legistlation. Kohanga Reo was and remains a great Maori achievement which neither major party should take credit for. Closing the gaps wasnt scrapped it was repackaged partly due to a Maori backlash!
    The Maori Party is about to be tied to National and worse be associated with a range of detrimental policy about to be unleashed.

    Mike E
    Im not sure what a devolution of welfare to local level means. If that means that Iwi trusts administer say the dole or sickness benefits? I would be very very unhappy about having to front up, cap in hand to members of my whanaunga. Like most people, id prefer to maintain my privacy and anonymity in such circumstances and have the choice of who a share my personal circumstances with.

  53. Carol 53

    I think the MP has no choice but to do a deal with National over the Maori seats, otherwise they risk losing them totally. Revisiting the Foreshore and Seabed Act, underlies the whole reason for existance of the MP, so is understandable. But the changes that National wanted are strongly opposed to the changes the MP want. So any compromise needs to be scrutinised carefully.

    I think the devolution of welfare to local areas should be considered. I understand it involves more than benefits, and people have pointed to Hone Harawira’s initiatives in Northland. It seems to involve provisions, eg health or education, being managed and delivered at a local level. The pros and cons need to be weighed up. It could provide a new model that has advantages, but I am not knowledgeable about the details.

    The ministerial positions seem to me to be a step too far, and could cost the MP amongst it’s lower socio-economic supporters. But, if Key manages it well, maybe it will bring him a lot of Maori support? But how will this impact on the more conservative elements on the right? Or will they just shift their support to ACT?

    There are some possibilities of gain from the deal for both Maori, and those who want the government to remain near the centre. But there are also some dangers for the least powerful Maori people and New Zealanders in general.

  54. Lew 54

    Carol: The Foreshore and Seabed is an interesting case, because it’s a gamble. The māori party just want the right to test claims in court – due process of law. You’re right in saying the Nats objected to the act because it didn’t go far enough, so if the Nats will repeal the F&SA in order to allow them to test those claims, they must be quite confident those claims will fail – because once a claim is upheld there’ll be no legislating it down. For their side, the māori party must be quite confident the claims will prevail – as Derek Fox said when debating Parekura, `if we lose, we lose, that’s how the courts work.

    The danger is if the claims are not upheld, and then National pass their own version of F&SA which is even more draconian.

    L

  55. Lampie 55

    “But rumours are that the deal is Foreshore and Seabed repealed, Māori seats guaranteed (I’m not sure if this means entrenched), two ministerial positions and genuine policy influence. That’s a big slice o’ pie.”

    Big slice alright, possible to upset Act you think?

  56. Lampie 56

    “But rumours are that the deal is Foreshore and Seabed repealed, Māori seats guaranteed (I’m not sure if this means entrenched), two ministerial positions and genuine policy influence. That’s a big slice o’ pie.”

    Big slice alright, possible to upset Act you think?

  57. Lew 57

    No, ACT support both the repeal of the F&SA and the entrenchment of the Māori seats.

    ACT believes the F&SA was unjust because it denied claimants their day in court – it opposed the idea of the government nationalising the F&S and would therefore support the repeal to allow the claimants to have their claim heard. (What happens if the claim is not upheld is the complicated bit).

    In one of the leaders’ debates (I forget which) Rodney Hide said he supported the entrenchment of the Māori seats for the same reason – they should have the same protection in law as other electorate seats. (what happens if they are entrenched and NZ is stuck with them is the complicated bit.)

    I wonder how many conservative right-wingers who vote ACT because they think of them as `like National only righter’ realise this.

    L

  58. gomango – 13/11 — 8.05a.m.

    another note left by jo was “gomango – don’t know if short for ‘go-man-go’ or go mango. Do know lacks patience, displays know-all and prefers insult to inquiry..”

    You wrote: northpaw – you’re so misinformed and grammatically challenged its funny. CDO = collateralised debt obligation. In legal terms absolutely nothing different about a CDO versus any other financial instrument or indeed any other contract.

    Which pretty much fits jo’s take…

    I respond: you’ve gotten your CDO and I’ve gotten mine — how long has yours been going on..? Serious question.

    Helpful hint: what was yours known as before your definition..? In what forms was it formulated and trialed..? To whom..?

    Retail..? In your language I’d have to say that either you did not read my full comment above, else did not comprehend. Retail—first mention was yours.

    But yes, my metaphor was aimed at minds capable of taking it up and on.. plainly this does not apply to you.

  59. Lew 59

    … it occurs to me I’ve left out the bit about it being not as simple as that.

    ACT would probably support the repeal of the F&SA, but would lobby hard for alternative legislation giving anyone the right to challenge for ownership of the coast – not just in the Māori Land Court as before the F&SA.

    So it’s still a matter of being careful what one wishes for.

    L

  60. Pascal's bookie 60

    As an officially designated hater and wrecker, I’ll be glad to see, but nervous about, the F and S issue up before the courts.

    Will it go straight to the supremes or will it start out in say, Nelson District court? Or will it’s historical nature mean it goes to the privvy in Pommyland. Anyone know? And will repealing the FandS Act make it like it was never passed, or will that be something the court would be looking at as evidence one way or t’other?

    How ever it plays out, it’ll be tense.

  61. Lew 61

    PB: As I understand, it starts in the MLC because that’s the lowest court Sian Elias (in the Court of Appeal) ruled had jurisdiction (the High Court also seems to have jurisdiction which is circumscribed by the F&SA too). Absent the act, if a case failed in the MLC it could in principle be appealed through the usual channels. So yeah, it could end up in the SCONZ but I don’t expect that’d be the first stop on that particular magical mystery tour.

    L

  62. Tigger 62

    Lew – forgive my ignorance but how does one get ‘standing’ to speak at a hui? Can anyone speak?

  63. Lew 63

    Tigger: Well, anyone can physically talk, but to address the meeting you need to observe the protocols of the hui, which vary from marae to marae and from hui to hui. By saying the hui are open to their supporters, the māori party are sending a fairly strong signal.

    L

  64. Lampie 64

    The hui is about talking to the ordinary folks who turn up to a marae on the day.

    Correct the media if they are wrong but I heard these huis are for MP supporters NOT the Maori people just to turn up!!!

    That seems to be the story anyway, anyone been?

  65. Lew 65

    Lampie: By which I meant it’s not just a forum for the so-called Māori Business Elite to rubberstamp the `Hori Tory’ plan, as it’s being called.

    L

  66. Lampie 66

    Lampie: By which I meant it’s not just a forum for the so-called Māori Business Elite to rubberstamp the `Hori Tory’ plan, as it’s being called.

    Appreciate that Lew, seems one or two media are reporting that these huis are attended by MP people rather than say all Maori representation as you suggest it should be. Perhaps this is not truely representing all Maori interests???

  67. gingercrush 67

    Surely there is a problem even in quantifying Maori views when sadly Maori turnout at elections is low with the Maori seat turnout barely over 50%.

  68. Lew 68

    Lampie/GC: Representation and mandate are complicated and they don’t always seem fair. John Key represents NZ, although only 45% of electors voted for his party. Yes, the mandate the māori party claim isn’t rock-solid – their result was not as decisive as they’d have liked, and low turnout is also a problem. But people who don’t vote get the sort of representation they deserve – that is, the sort of representation everyone else wants. Ultimately the meaning of winning an electorate is that you represent its electors in parliament, and that’s what they’ll do over the coming years.

    L

  69. Lampie 69

    Yeah, bite you in the arse hmmmm interesting

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