Harawira right to call by-election

Written By: - Date published: 9:03 am, May 2nd, 2011 - 21 comments
Categories: accountability, by-election, hone harawira, mana-party - Tags:

Hone Harawira is to trigger a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau by resigning his seat. This is the right thing politically – more attention for the Mana Party – and in principle. Harawira should test his mandate as leader of a new party – as Winston Peters and Tariana Turia did.

Of course, it’s completely in Labour, National, and the Maori Party’s political interest to act all faint over the $500,000 cost. Labour is right to not waste money standing a candidate. And the Maori Party has its self-interest right in choosing to fight Hone now and challenge his legitimacy as the voice of the Maori Left lest they be swept away by the Mana Party in November.

But let’s be serious here. It’s $500,000 for a legitimate and well-precedented action. If the public purse can’t afford $500,000 let National’s MPs give back this year’s tax cut (also about $500,000 in total) before complaining about the price of democracy.

But Harawira might like to consider why Paddy Gower’s piece on TV3 that sparked all the attention on the cost of the by-election was so hostile. It’s because Harawira twice told TV3 outright there would be no by-election. Journos punish you if you lie to them. Harawira could have left the question open – ‘you better come along to the party launch’ – without answering either way.

(btw. the only way to block the by-election is for the PM to table a document in Parliament pledging that there will be a general election within 6 months and 75% of Parliament agreeing to leave the seat vacant. Early election, Mr Key?)

21 comments on “Harawira right to call by-election”

  1. lprent 1

    Early election, Mr Key?

    It is unlikely.. but.

    • ianmac 1.1

      It would look very strange if Key shortened the Election date just to stop Harawira from having a by-election given that the 6 month rule was within the rules. “Key Blocks Democracy!”

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Key can make enough hay out of Hone wasting $500,000. I’m sure if the RWC wasn’t an issue, he very well would consider an early election. But as it is, it doesn’t really work.

  2. Now that we are having the by-election, parties and candidates will be assessing what they can actually gain from such an undertaking.

    For all of his shennagins, Hone is a loveable rogue in Te Tai Tokerau, and with the narrative clearly focused on him, there is almost no chance that he will lose. The Mana Party will also be keen to strut it’s stuff out on the campaign trail, a sort of warm-up for November – a chance to build up networks, enlist personnel, etc.’

    For all of the other parliamentary parties, they are on a hiding to nothing. They would all be better off not standing any candidate at all, in the hope that Hone is declared the sole candidate and that the election itself is not actually required.

    However, non-parliamentary parties with an issue to push, for example the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party for one, will likely use this as an opportunity to get exposure, and you can’t rule out other individuals for whom swelled heads dictates a certain personal infallibility.

    So the by-election will happen. I personally predict that there will be 2 or 3 independents, ALCP, Maori Party, Mana Party and maybe another non-parliamentary party candidates.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    I asked on an earlier thread what would be a mandate for Hone if there are no candidates from the other major parties standing. If it’s just Hone and a smattering of single issue parties or independants contesting the seat, the turnout is likely to be low. So what constitutes a mandate then? Obviously Hone would ‘win’, but if less than half of the electors bother to vote, is that a success or a failure?

    I’m picking that none of Labour, the Greens, Maori Party or National will stand, because it’s a meaningless result so close to the real election and a waste of their time and money. If one or more do stand, they also risk legitimising Hone if the turnout is close to normal general election levels. On my estimation, the likeliest response from the other parties would be taiho till November and paint Hone as the bloke that blew half a million bucks in the meantime.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      If people don’t stand against a candidate, they don’t get to complain about mandate. Not opposing them is tacit endorsement.

      • The Voice of Reason 3.1.1

        Really? That’ll come as a surprise to Aung San Su Kyi, Ghandi, the liberation movements of South America, the ANC, the Zimbabwean opposition or any party anywhere that has chosen the tactic of non participation in elections at any time for any reason.

        I’m not trying to be precious about this PB, but I really do think that most parties won’t bother and that will all most certainly leave Hone winning an expensive by-election he alone has forced and nobody else wants. If his victory margin is less than half of the eleigible voters, or, even worse, less than his current vote as a Maori Party MP, then he will problems claiming a mandate.

        • Blighty 3.1.1.1

          those are examples of rejection of a whole corrupt system. It was the apartheid system’s lack of moral mandate that the ANC was seeking to highlight, not the particular parties that participated in it.

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2

          I think those analogies are a bit off, to be honest.

          Other parties will do what they do for their own reasons. If they really want to claim that Hone wouldn’t have a mandate though, then they need to stand against him.

          The election process is fair, Hone isn’t a tyrant, and they aren’t engaging in passive resistence by not standing; passive aggression perhaps, but not resistence.

    • ‘Mandates’ are strange things – what counts as a mandate is largely determined by the structure of an electoral process rather than some moral principle (e.g., single party minority government under FPP was considered a legitimate ‘mandate’ by many people at the time.). Similarly, Labour winning the Maori seats with incredibly low turnouts was considered a ‘mandate’ by Labour under FPP.

      So, the mandate issue is a red herring.

      The cost question is also a red (or blue) herring. The idea that a politician should shoot themselves – and the principles they are in politics to fight for – in the foot by not doing something to their advantage that is fully allowed, on the basis that it is a ‘waste of money’ and a ‘stunt’ beggars belief (that would mean putting a restraint order on John Key because, let’s face it, most of his public appearances are principally taxpayer funded electioneering – as is the case for many of our politicians).

      And, in terms of principle, Hone not going for a by-election would be entirely unprincipled. Every speech he made between now and the election; every trip around his electorate; every hand he shook (all funded on the back of his MP’s salary), would be informed by the vision and policies of a party that no-one had voted for. Why isn’t that seen as scandalous, that we would have a representative in Parliament for over 1/6th of this Parliament’s term who, so far as we can say, represents nobody – except, presumably, himself? [Please resist the temptation to provide the obvious response to that comment.] What if he had resigned one month after the 2008 election? Would everyone be happy with him continuing as a member of parliament and as a member of a party no-one voted for? The same amount of money would be saved, after all. It would send out interesting signals to aspiring politicians – find a vehicle, then dump it once elected, set up your own party and reap the publicity for three whole years.

      If it costs $500,000 to run a by-election then that just happens to be the cost of having the form of democracy we have. If we don’t like spending that amount (what amount, btw, would be ‘ok’?) let’s change the electoral laws so that no by-elections get held (perfectly possible to devise, I imagine).

      Finally, the notion that it is ‘wrong’ for him to do this because it is being done for his (and his party’s) political advantage is also a red herring. Many of those critical of it point out that it could be to his political advantage to have foregone the by-election, claiming how ‘fiscally responsible’ he was being. So, it’s political advantage either way.

      Hone (and all politicians) no doubt have to live, at a personal level, with the consequences of their ‘real’ motives. For the rest of us, it is far better to focus on what we want out of the political process, as we can never answer the question “Has X really done Y out of principle?”

      In a sense, Adam Smith’s eulogy to the bakers and brewers of the world is apposite: We don’t look to their (politician’s) generosity but to their self-interest to provide us with good governance. (I have my criticisms of Smith’s view but, in the present competitive political system, it at least stops us endlessly debating the ‘integrity’ of people we don’t know. The latter just invites deception and evasion on the part of those whose morality and ethics we are trying to judge (and that’s never a pretty sight).It would, of course, be far better to be represented by people we know or, better, ‘represent’ ourselves in a much deeper form of democracy.)

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      Let’s have Hone vs Winston Peters with no other contenders.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.3.1

        Wot, no Brash?

        • Lanthanide 3.3.1.1

          Brash doesn’t think Maori seats should exist, so I’m sure Act won’t be standing in them. But yes, it would be nice if he dipped in too.

          • Rich 3.3.1.1.1

            Peter Tashkoff was the candidate last election (yup, he’s tangata whenua despite sounding like Vlad the Impaler’s cuzzie).

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    And the Maori Party has its self-interest right in choosing to fight Hone now and challenge his legitimacy as the voice of the Maori Left lest they be swept away by the Mana Party in November.

    It’s an interesting situation though.

    If the mP was to sit his one out, they would have the high ground over the ‘truce agreement’. Fighting this one muddies it and leaves Hone with a free reign to run candidates in the general.

    But even if the mP does fight the by-election, Hone could go passively agressive in the general election.

    Take the high ground and not stand against the mP;
    paint the mP as both dishonourable and in the back pocket of National,
    pick up the NZLP’s list vote
    and see if the NZLP can unseat any mP MP’s.

  5. Posted this on Kiwiblog – in reply to the following point made by David Farrar:

    “If it was about a new mandate, then Hone could have called a by-election in February when he was pushed out of the Maori Party.”

    ________________________________________________________________________________

    errr……….. small technical point David.

    In February – there was no ‘Mana Party’ for which Hone could seek a mandate.

    You just can’t flick your fingers and immediately form a new party.

    Much easier of course – to do it the BRA$H ‘Dictator Don’ way – by taking over the leadership of an existing party within two hours of joining it?

    Bit of a hard ACT to follow – THAT one!

    If we’re talking about the costs of by-elections – let’s see a bit of consistency here – shall we?

    Please be reminded of how much tax-payer (and ratepayer) money, has been spent on ‘democracy’ following the resignation of ex-National MP Pansy Wong, over arguably corrupt practices involving the ‘misuse of public office for private gain’?

    How much did the Botany by-election cost?
    How much is the Howick by-election costing (as a result of Jami-Lee Ross choosing to stand and win the Botany by-election)?
    How much would another by-election to fill a local board vacancy if Dick Quax wins the Howick Ward by-election?

    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Hone could have called a by-election with himself standing as Independent in February, with the explicit statement that he was looking at setting up a new party and that a vote for him now would be a vote for that party.

      • ianmac 5.1.1

        Why should he do that rather than what he has done? Still the cost is the same assuming that the cost is not a red herring? (What is a red herring?)

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          (What is a red herring?)

          The fact that you’re asking should give you the answer.

  6. ianmac 6

    Just watched Native Affairs on Maori TV. Julian did well in his interview with Hone and Peta Sharples.
    They seem to have a rebroadcast but I don’t how to access the particular item @ http://www.maoritelevision.com/default.aspx?tabid=636&pid=212
    Peta looked unwell and unassertive. Hone seemed relaxed and fluent. His philosophy is pretty clear in spite of spinning from some commentators. They discussed Brash/Act. The part for workers/unions. The gap in the understanding about standing by Maori Party in Tai Tokerau. Clearing up the understanding about Hone Heke Tax.
    A fascinating program.
    Repeats on MT on Sunday evening 5:30pm.

  7. As soon as Hone’s new party is up there is talk about Gandhi and passive resistance and all sorts. NZ politics is getting a lot more interesting…

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  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism, Huawei, racism and imperial anxiety
    by Tony Norfield US political opinion against China has two solid bases. The first is the longstanding racist and protectionist sentiment in the white working class; the second is a more recent anxiety about China’s economic prowess in America’s ruling elite. This article notes some historical aspects of anti-Chinese racism ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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