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Don’t dream it’s over

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, February 1st, 2012 - 76 comments
Categories: labour, maori party, national, privatisation - Tags:

The Maori Party is threatening to leave the government over the asset sales legislation removing the companies’ Treaty obligations under the SOE Act. Key knows their threat is hollow. He just got away for 3 years of insulting Maori and worsening Maori statistics – only one Maori Party MP walked away. Why would this term be any different? Why would Sharples and Turia take a pay cut and lose their limos for their last few months working before retirement?

Knowing that the Maori Party isn’t going to leave the government, now consider Key’s strategic imperatives. He knows the Maori Party is dying and their votes will head left in 2014, so he won’t waste political capital on Maori this term. The votes National needs for another term are Pakeha conservatives/reactionaries. What better way to get some of them onside and less angry about asset sales than make it into a Treaty issue?

Expect more sound and fury amounting to nothing from the Maori Party. And expect Key to be very ‘relaxed’ about that.

Meanwhile, if Labour wants to actually get in the game some time this year (rather than staying awkwardly silent on major issues and following the news with 5-hour late press releases) it should be having a look at the SOE Act itself. In particular, section 4(1)

Principal objective to be successful business
  • (1) The principal objective of every State enterprise shall be to operate as a successful business and, to this end, to be—

    • (a) as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown; and

    • (b) a good employer; and

    • (c) an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.

Private companies aren’t required to consider their communities or be good employers. So, what are the consequences for New Zealand and New Zealand workers if our power companies and the owner of our biggest coal reserves no longer have to take into account the impacts of their actions on New Zealand as a whole.

Our land, our energy reserves, and our power systems will stay in New Zealand ownership, managed in the interest of New Zealanders with Labour. National is happy to see them flogged off and serving only to fill the pockets of foreign owners. Quite a line, I would have thought.

76 comments on “Don’t dream it’s over”

  1. Richard 1

    Key says he will find an “elegant” way through this. His hubris is amazing. Wonder if those words will come back to haunt him.

  2. Andrew Geddis has a good analysis of the legal issues here.
     
    Essentially there is no possibility of an “elegant solution”.  Section 9 of the SOE Act says that nothing in the act permits the Crown to act in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.  For instance when the claims for water and rivers are considered what will happen?  It is clear that they are taonga which were to be retained by Maori.  They may be able to be used for power generation but then compensation could be expected to be paid.
     
    If the SOEs have to pay to use water then their earning potential and value will be diminished.  The only way around this is for the Crown to indemnify the SOEs against any such potential claim. 
     
    You then have to question the whole sale process.  Because it could mean that all the Government (us) will be doing is subsidising foreign shareholders so that they do not meet the full cost of power generation.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Key has been saying that the treaty only applies to the crown and has never applied to private companies. Therefore the private investors in the SOEs can’t realistically be bound by the treaty either.

      He’s saying they should be able to come up with a technical way by which the crown is bound by the treaty and not the private investors.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        The Crown will own 51% of the power generators after the sale, will it not? And the Crown is still bound by the Treaty of Waitangi. Is it not? Can the Crown really legislate away Treaty of Waitangi obligations from what could be called “Crown Controlled Enterprises”???

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.1.2

        What a bunch of nonsense Section 9 is anyway though. Is anyone seriously suggesting that, without it, the government could magically breach the Treaty?

        “Nothing in the SOE Act permits the Crown to murder small children in their beds”

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1

          Well, its probably there for the purposes of avoiding doubt…

        • Lanthanide 2.1.2.2

          The point Andrew Geddis makes is that section 9 allows maori to prevent the crown from doing things that are against the treaty. Every time the crown has been challenged under section 9, they have folded and negotiated with maori, under threat that the Waitangi tribunal will make decisions that the crown may not like.

          So the point of section 9 is that it lets maori specifically stop the crown from doing things they may not like. If you remove it, then maori would have much less authority to stop actions they didn’t like.

      • Rich 2.1.3

        The treaty “guarantees” Maori the possession of their taonga. That doesn’t just say that the Crown isn’t entitled to steal, it has to prevent private individuals/corporations from stealing.

      • Fortran 2.1.4

        Could a solution be for Iwi to buy enough private shares, as they have indicated that they wish to invest in the partial SOE’s for sale. This would allow them a serious say in the treaty matters, as a Shareholder.

        • McFlock 2.1.4.1

          So treaty obligations are only obligations if Iwi can afford to enforce them? I’m not sure that’s a smart precedent to be set.
           
          Although my guess is that the “elegant” solution key will come up with will be along the lines of some weakening of the Treaty obligations in exchange for Iwi getting a cut of the companies, the only haggling will be as to how preferential their eventual purchase price is.

          • Augustus 2.1.4.1.1

            Nah, the elegant solution will be to leave s9 as it is, but give a crown (taxpayer) profit guarantee, should any private investors be inconvenienced by treaty claims.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.4.1.1.1

              In otherwords have the private sector take all the profit, and the Crown take all the resulting risks and costs.

              National would be all for that.

            • insider 2.1.4.1.1.2

              or it will retain the obligation for meeting and resolving issues that are the result of the new entity’s actions or creation with the crown, not load it onto the new entity. It seems more a political than a practical issue as when you look at how Contact work with Maori, it’s not much different to MRP. It might even be better as they don’t have the safety net of the govt and its resources and relationships to fall back on.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.4.2

          Certainly that is one outcome that the MP could be angling for: Iwi being given preferential, potentially discounted, access to shares ahead of all others.

    • foreign waka 2.2

      Exactly mickysavage, plus the trade agreement the government signed being able to be sued if these SOE’s are not as profitable as claimed. How deep does the hole need to be before Mr Key stops digging?

  3. King Kong 3

    “Our land, our energy reserves, and our power systems will stay in New Zealand ownership, managed in the interest of New Zealanders with Labour. National is happy to see them flogged off and serving only to fill the pockets of foreign owners”

    I thought Labour pushed this message pretty hard during the election and the voters said……..

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      The electorate proved that there are a lot of irrational voters.

      Numerous polls taken on the issue of asset sales showed that 75-80% opposed them. We can only conclude that quite a lot of people who opposed asset sales voted National anyway, perhaps under the mistaken belief that Key would “listen to them” because “he’s such a good guy”.

      • Blighty 3.1.1

        I think we can also conclude that the negative of asset sales was outweighed by the negatives of voting Labour in many voters’ minds. And, a lot of voters don’t believe that Key would really go through with asset sales if they don’t make sense.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          And, a lot of voters don’t believe that Key would really go through with asset sales if they don’t make sense.

          But they do make sense – to John Keys owners and so the sale will go through because those people want to be able to directly tax the people of NZ so that they become wealthier. They (and I include John Key in that) don’t give a shit about NZers. They only care how much they can screw our of us.

      • Blue 3.1.2

        I disagree, more voters voted for National as opposed to voting for Labour. They couldn’t bring themselves to swallow the dead rat LP over one policy.

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    Expect more sound and fury amounting to nothing from the Maori Party.

    If the play their cards smartly, they should get more than nothing. Perhaps a “Maori board seat” on each company – which is surely no more or less racist, or patronising, than having Maori electorate seats.

    Private companies aren’t required to consider their communities or be good employers.

    True, but successful companies strive to do so. Just look at the Best Workplaces annual survey – almost all the best companies to work for are private companies. And notably, although 3 of the 4 SOE power companies are registered with the survey, none of them make the cut in any category in the past decade.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      “…successful companies strive…”

      Oh, yes, right. Tranzrail, for example.

      Your assurances, if that is what they are meant to be, are no more certain than a lottery.

    • muzza 4.2

      Your assertion sales might in fact be positive my claiming “but successful companies strive to do so. Just look at the Best Workplaces annual survey – almost all the best companies to work for are private companies. And notably, although 3 of the 4 SOE power companies are registered with the survey, none of them make the cut in any category in the past decade”

      Didn’t notice many utility companies in the list, and not sure where the incentive would come from for utility companies to strive to be on the list!

      So your statement looks as though it is an argument against yourself!

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        Don’t quite follow that, muzza.

        As I said, 3 out of the 4 SOEs are in the survey but failed to make the cut as best workplaces (top 10) in any year (based on the public info). These are companies that presently have a statutory obligation to be a “good employer”. Whereas most companies in the top 10 each year do not have a statutory obligation to be a “good employer” (whatever that might mean in practice).

        So that is a pretty good indicator – not conclusive, but the best evidence here at present – that private companies outperform SOEs in terms of being good employers. The point being, that the removal of the statutory requirements is unlikely to have any detrimental effect, and may actually improve employee conditions. Which I trust most people would be in favour of.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          (1) The principal objective of every State enterprise shall be to operate as a successful business and, to this end, to be—
          (a) as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown; and
          (b) a good employer; and
          (c) an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.

          So QstF, what’s your point? two out of three ain’t bad?

          The third clause is the one that counts where the vast majority who are not SOE employees are concerned.

          And now the idea is to absolve private shareholders of this obligation, loading all the costs onto the taxpayer: socialising costs and privatising profits. Leeches.

          • queenstfarmer 4.2.1.1.1

            And now the idea is to absolve private shareholders of this obligation, loading all the costs onto the taxpayer: socialising costs and privatising profits. Leeches.

            Huh? Private shareholders don’t have this obligation – so what are they being “absolved” of? And what “costs” are being loaded on to the taxpayer?

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1.1

              qstf – the Crown will have a 51% share of the new enterprise. And the Crown has an obligation to push for the enterprise to meet all Treaty obligations using its much vaunted “controlling” share of the power generators.

              Does it not.

              • insider

                I don’t think it does. The Crown has an obligation meet treaty obligations, that doesn’t mean it has to push an SOE to meet ALL Treaty obligations – some may be completely irrelevant to its operation or outside its power to address.

                • queenstfarmer

                  That’s right. And “treaty obligations” do not trump law (as recently seen with Seabed & Foreshore), just that they have to be “taken into account” in certain circumstances. It’s all very vague, but it keeps a few 1%ers (Treaty gravy train lawyers) VERY happy. For little or no tangible gain for non-elite Maori.

                  And also it’s a matter of who has the obligation. If the obligation is on the company (the SOE) then the company has those obligations, not necessarily the Crown.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    If the obligation is on the company (the SOE) then the company has those obligations, not necessarily the Crown.

                    But the Crown has control of the company, does it not?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      Yes, but a shareholder isn’t liable for a company’s obligations.

                      But I think we are getting into a separate topic. Getting back to the Maori Party, the point is that the Govt is proposing rewriting the law for the minority floats. The Maori Party is applying strategic pressure – and why shouldn’t they? – to have the law impose/retain certain things.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes, but a shareholder isn’t liable for a company’s obligations.

                      The shareholder, the Crown, is liable for its OWN obligations, and it is the Crown which is responsible for meeting Treaty stipulations.

                      Put another way. The Crown is not going to get away with shrugging its shoulders when it selects a majority of the directors on the Board of the power generator.

                  • Hateatea

                    The State Owned Enterprises ACT 1987 <b>IS</b> law, therefore must be adhered to. While it says that’it must take into account’ the Treaty principles etc, it has very real implications vis a vis treaty settlements and, in some cases, the SOE’s concerned already have some impending settlement obligations.

                    As for the obligations, the treaty relationship is quite clearly Iwi = Crown (the government and citizenry of NZ)

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1.1.2

              Try harder. If 49% of the shareholders do not have to consider 49% of the responsibility, that loads 100% of the responsibility onto 51% of the shareholders.

              Come on, one little baby step thought at a time…

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                …so in court, the minority shareholder’s lawyer demands that the company either maximise returns, or they be compensated by the 51% shareholder…

                Little tiny baby steps…

                • queenstfarmer

                  Oh dear, not this again. Shareholder A cannot sue shareholder B for failing to “maximise returns”.

                  • McFlock

                    Agreed, shareholder A would need to sue  the directors who were working in the interests of shareholder B rather than suing shareholder B. 
                      
                    Point being, someone is open to civil action.   
                      

                    • queenstfarmer

                      Yay. A partially correct statement. Progress at last.

                      But not there yet. Go and read the passage you have linked to. Read part (2). Then read the list in part (3).

                      As you will see, Shareholder A can’t sue a director merely for “working in the interests of shareholder B”.

                      They could sue if, by working in the interests of shareholder B, they breached one of the other requirements – eg failed to act in what they believe to be in the interests of the company (note important words in bold), or recklessly traded, etc.

                      You will also see from your list, that nor is there any grounds to sue for “failing to maximise profits” – which I can only assume is a common misconception by those who have never run or generally have no understanding of business. As always I am happy to give lots of examples to help with this educational process.

                    • shorts

                      this might be a bit of a stretch but if NZ signs the TPPA then we could open ourselves or our partly owned SOE’s or Govt to law suits if shareholders offshore thought they were being disadvantaged by govt legislation -I know companies can file suits like this allegedly from what people have commented on this very public treaty process – note I may be very wrong assuming shareholders could do similar

                      similar to how Australia is being sued by various tobacco companies for the ‘plain’ package initiative

                    • RedLogix

                      What so Director A can do anything they damn well please; and Director B’s hand’s are tied? Of course not.

                      The Courts issue injunctions around this sort of thing all the time. As you well know…but for the purposes of your spin you are choosing to minimise.

                      Minority shareholders are NOT powerless peon’s with no ability whatsoever to influence the Board. Certainly if the majority owner decided to run the company at zero profit and declare zero dividend thus rendering the company shares worthless… that would be ripe grounds for legal recourse.

                      This sort of disagreement between Directors happens all the time. As it did to my partner some years ago.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      What so Director A can do anything they damn well please; and Director B’s hand’s are tied? Of course not.

                      As I have said, the law sets out what they can and can’t do. Within those parameters, directors can pretty much do what they want. It is not uncommon to have disfunctional / warring boards, or “dissident” directors. Bad situation for a company, but it happens.

                      The Courts issue injunctions around this sort of thing all the time

                      Rarely yes, but only in situations like when a specific law is being breached (or about to be). Courts don’t step in to mediate commercial differences, or be the casting vote.

                      Minority shareholders are NOT powerless peon’s with no ability whatsoever to influence the Board

                      Often they are. In fact most public companies are run this way, which is why big instutions can often have their wicked way with a company and vote themselves (their directors) big pay rises, etc. The Shareholders Association has done good work to try to give minority shareholders a proper voice.

                      Certainly if the majority owner decided to run the company at zero profit and declare zero dividend thus rendering the company shares worthless… that would be ripe grounds for legal recourse

                      Actually it is not uncommon. Eg during start-up, expansion or restructuring phases, companies often have several years of zero profit / zero dividend, instead of taking revenue out. Companies often decide to implement a new accounting policy that wipes out profit for a year or two. Do you think they should be sued?

                      If you are talking about directors deliberately holding back the company or acting improperly, then that is already well covered by the law.

                    • McFlock

                      So we’re back to you’re line that yes the directors can be sued, but they’d probably get away with it.
                        
                      Oh, and s126 (1)b defines “director” as including
                      “i) a person in accordance with whose directions or instructions a person referred to in paragraph (a) may be required or is accustomed to act; and”
                       
                      So basically you’re arguing that a large investment fund will not take a say $100mil for a court case to determine that “best interests of the company” could well include maximising profits to the point of gouging billions. And that directors and other shareholders (who might be a government that the directors are accustomed to follow, instruction-wise) might not be intimidated by that, even if it’s likely that they’d win.
                         
                      What reasons did the govt give for not suing IBM over INCIS again? Something about IBM being bigger than NZ GDP?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      So we’re back to you’re line that yes the directors can be sued, but they’d probably get away with it.

                      And that is wrong how? Anyone can be sued at any time (unless you’re the Queen?). Unless you did something wrong, they would lose.

                      So basically you’re arguing that a large investment fund will not take a say $100mil for a court case to determine that “best interests of the company” could well include maximising profits to the point of gouging billions

                      Correct. Large investment funds understand business and company law, and know that there is no obligation to “maximise profits to the point of gouging billions”. The requirement is that directors act in what they believe to be the best interests of the company. I am aware that some people are probably surprised and taken aback by this, but it is basic stuff for investors.

                      And even if you were right (now talking hypothetically), then don’t you think that large investment funds would not already have done so?

                    • McFlock

                      Well, can you name me a partial SOE that controls an unhealthy chunk of the nz market?
                        
                      Telecom spring to mind, and they haven’t missed a trick. And nobody’s mentioned having a”kiwishare” this time around.

              • queenstfarmer

                What “responsibility” are you talking about?

                • foreign waka

                  queenstfarmer, I belief you try to defend the indefensible. There are issues to be considered, not only for Maori but all NZlanders. Firstly, the ASSETS BELONG TO NZlanders or have you forgotten this little fact? Secondly, any sale should be approved by the owners/shareholders and as far as I am concerned Mr Kay must think that he has the majority vote by getting Maori to build a Government. If NZlanders would have a direct vote we would not even discuss this. But since the Government has taken this right of people and beliefs it owns all proxy votes everybody will loose in the long run. But I think that for those who are just interested of having their own nest feathered it will be a bonanza. Just don’t forget to explain this to the next generation.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    I’m not defending anything, waka. I am simply stating facts. Here’s another: the election was last November.

                    If you are saying that we should introduce binding citizens referenda (which you seem to be), I am in favour of that. We could hold a referendum on the minority floats, as well as a range of other things such as the Maori seats, anti-smacking laws, and prison sentences.

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      If the play their cards smartly, they should get more than nothing. Perhaps a “Maori board seat” on each company

      This would be an hilarious outcome, qstf.

      Corporate or tribal iwi ‘winning’ a board seat at a power generating company which is legislatively excused from meeting Treaty obligations and observing Maori traditional values and viewpoints. The irony of your proposal.

    • framu 4.4

      “Private companies aren’t required to consider their communities or be good employers. True, but successful companies strive to do so”

      ok extreme example – but do you remember Bhopal?

      pretty sure that companies doing just grand at the mo.

      So while many companies strive to do right by their communities many dont. It seems fairly relative to size and distance of head office from the community in question

  5. Another anonymous dude 5

    If the Maori Party were principled and didn’t just lie down and roll over like the have done in the past, they could prove to the electorate that they have their best interests in mind, and perhaps actually increase their support. I don’t believe they’ll win any concessions on this from National, but they should do the honourable thing and walk away regardless. By threatening to do this, and then not following through, they will lose any semblance of credibility that they might have had left and will surely be dead men walking.

    Keeping the rambling Pita away from interviews on Radio NZ would be a good idea too (National has the good sense to do this with Key.)

  6. fender 6

    “Keeping the rambling Pita away from interviews on Radio NZ would be a good idea too (National has the good sense to do this with Key.)”

    I’m not so sure it makes sense to be chickenshit scared to front for the media. Do the Nats not realise that every time they avoid being crucified by the vicious and brilliant Mary Wilson they deprive us of comedy and insights not available elsewhere. It just highlights how spineless they are by avoiding someone who wont be a conduit for their senseless ideas.

  7. Shouldn’t we be looking at extending the extra requirements on SOEs to all businesses?

    • insider 7.1

      Imagine if your local plumber had to work consistently with the principles of the ToW.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Imagine if your local plumber had to work with some of NZ’s largest lakes, waterways, native forests and bush land.

        • insider 7.1.1.1

          So a plumber is not included in ‘all businesses’?

          • felix 7.1.1.1.1

            Oh dear.

            I used to think you were trolling with your “me no understand” question style.

            But you really do struggle with this stuff, don’t you?

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I used to think you were trolling with your “me no understand” question style.
              But you really do struggle with this stuff, don’t you?

              Insider must have been exasperating on their honeymoon. 🙂

  8. Salsy 8

    Why have the Maori Party only now taken a stand – surely they’ve been aware of this all along? While not a single policy party, they filter every policy through a Maori perspective, so its either incompetence that they have discovered the SOE sale treaty clause changes now – or has the Crafar farms suddenly awoken the slow boiling frog? My guess is they too have wind of John Key’s sneaking gutless plans to gut the Ministry of Maori development, and the pot just keeps getting lighter…

    • tc 8.1

      It’s called feigned indignation, looks good but they don’t really mean it. They serve their backers like the nats do, in their case elite rich iwi.

      As long as that elite iwi get as much of the SOE cake as they can gobble everything will be sweet in coalitionville…..posturing and politics.

      Their principles have a value and the nats just need to negotiate that value and onwards the great selloff will roll with such lines as ‘being at the table’ and ‘Iwi are comfortable with the outcomes’

      • Hateatea 8.1.1

        Do you have proof that elite rich iwi (whoever they are) have funded the Maori Party? 

        Also, as with any organisation, there are individuals, even supposedly high ranking ones, who may support assets sales. That doesn’t mean that the flaxroots do. 

  9. randal 9

    even the swiss government would not let swissair have more than 30% private investment but john w. key thinks he’s smarter than them.

  10. feijoa 10

    Yes I believe the Swiss government does not allow foreign takeovers of its companies -which is why Nestle have never been taken over and never can be (read this recently in a book called The Chocolate Wars- v good)

  11. Hateatea 11

    My sister, who is sometimes even more cynical than I can be, thinks that NAct are taking this stand to deliberately force the Maori Party out so that they can be blamed for everything right through to the next election. If that is true, we can only hope that one or other of JBanks or PDunne has to resign (or become legally incompetent) very soon, thus depriving JKey of his single seat majority. I can only dream of a circumstance where they both disappeared at once, sigh

  12. Blue 12

    The last time Key used the phrase ‘elegant solution’ he was talking about his Foreshore and Seabed replacement legislation.

    I remember back in late 2008 when Phil Goff warned the Maori Party that they were going to get screwed if they went with National, and he was roundly condemned as a patronising git because Maori were finally going to get some respect and sit at the top table with the big boys.

    Sounds like that’s not turning out quite the way they hoped…

  13. Populuxe1 13

    So, less “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and more “Don’t Hold Your Breath”

  14. JamesGeorge 14

    Yeah well whatever happen we know the labour party pols will run a million miles from this discussion just as they have stayed schtum on the destruction of whafies’ jobs.
    This what happens when ordinary kiwis take their eyes off the ball and allow over educated bourgois careerists to speak for them.
    It didn’t even work well when most over-educated bourgois careerists voted Labour – see Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble & David Lange et al and the havoc they wrought on ordinary kiwis.. It works even less well now most of the O.B.C. have moved back behind the silver tails.

    We now have a political party that claims to be interested in the welfare of the kiwi battler yet they refuse to speak up on major issues concerning Tangata Whenua or trade unionists, two big chunks of the battler core.

    Those who hoped for some relief in 2014 will be packing their bags for Oz.
    Ordinary families can’t withstand the presure of being screwed by both johnkey & pseudo-labour.
    There is no point in trying to attract the ‘floaters’ when the core is deserting the party to go overseas.
    It is only possible to hang on if there is a sniff of relief around the corner, but there is no chance of that since labour’s great white hope has shown himself to be just another middle class main-chancer too scared to speak out lest he offend fellow bourgois voters who haven’t voted labour in at least 3 general elections.

    Especially true when you consider that a big chunk of so called floating voters are just good time charlies whose vote is given regardless of policy or personality, they just like to vote for the party they believe (or been told) will win. The only way to get those fleas is by rebuilding the core so the waste of spaces detect there is a resurgence in labour support. Only then can the pols go after ’em.

    Labour should be speaking out about this deliberate rorting of Maori by the 1%, but they won’t because they are too busy playing facile wellington pollie games, hoping the Maori Party will embarass themselves.
    Lest we forget it was crass stupidity and racism of the worst kind hidden behind facile wellington political infighting by Clark that lost maori support for labour.

    Clark didn’t gain any votes by burning Tangata Whenua but she sure lost a big mob. For a party of political scientists Labour doesn’t handle inelastic issues well.

    Those are the issues where doing the wrong thing will cost you votes but doing the right thing won’t get you any more. Back when labour was the default party for Maori, most Maori issues were inelastic. Do the wrong thing and yet more Maori voters will jump outta the waka. Do the right thing and not much happens. This is because Pakeha labour voters accepted that Maori were an integral part of the party and needed to be kept on board. Even those slugs who had a problem with maori making a claim for the few tiny pieces of the foreshore the court decision would support, weren’t about to change their vote over it.

    Interestingly johnkey is in exactly the same possie now. The only diference is that while shitting on indigenous citizens will cost him votes and won’t gain him any others, there is a win for Key backers who get an edge over any SOEs that remain 100% in the hands of the citizens. That bonus as well as being able to do as they like with their ill gotten ‘purchases’, without ‘interference’ from greenies or Maori.
    So those backers will tip another bucket of cash into Key’s kick in 2014, more than enough to brainwash another few hunnerd thousand ‘sheep’. Dairy conversions don’t seem to effect kiwi voters.

    You’d think these over educated Labour turkeys would be capable of learning, but they aren’t.
    If they really wanna fix Clark’s mess, Labour needs to make a big apology to Tangata Whenua and go in and bat for them regardless of party politics.

    That sort of move has a sense of righteousness about it that is far more attractive to potential Labour voters of all ilks including working class Maori-phobic north shore suburbanites, than any sharp little trick ever has.

    Fix the base THEN grow the support. Trying to do it arse about face, that is, attempting to grow support & hoping the base will fix itself, never works.

    But you go for it Shearer. Sit on yer hands ‘develop strategies’ while NZ goes down the gurgler. By 2014 most of us mob will be watching with half-interest, safe from the next onslaught of 1% whitefella greed, ensconced in Belmont, Mermaid Beach, or Wulagi.
    John Key gets this which is why he is trying to pressure Oz pols into restoring medicare and benefits to kiwis; making Oz more available for kiwi battlers. If they won’t vote for you exile em worked for Muldoon & will prolly work for johnkey.

  15. Maui 15

    True, James, too true.

    Key’s backers probably see ‘the Maori Party’ as a spent force and do not care
    if they burn them off. Without them they can seize the moment and swing further to the right.

    ACT is leaderless, and has been exposed by the Teapot Tapes as a political proxy controlled by Key (eg. his recorded instructions to Banks to restructure ACT). What’s not to like ?

    .. perhaps looming global depression and a rising tide of outrage.

    The swift of foot are trying to get in while they can.

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