Hide would go for principles, Sharples would stay for baubles

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, August 21st, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: act, auckland supercity, maori party - Tags: ,

Rodney Hide has said that having Maori seats on the Auckland Supercity council would go completely against his party’s principles. So, he would refuse to be the Minister of Local Government taking a Bill through the House that includes Maori seats on the Supercity. He would resign from his portfolios and vote against the legislation. I don’t agree with them but I can respect Hide for being willing to sacrifice his personal power for his principles (as reactionary as they are).

Of course, the other point of view is that Hide is just being a bully like always. He’s bullied the Supercity though against the will of the people of Auckland, he’s blocked any real public input into the Supercity they’re having foisted on them, and now he’s trying to hold the Nats to ransom to ensure he gets exactly what he wants.

But what of Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia? Are they willing to put their jobs on the line for their principles? If the Bill does not have Maori seats, will Sharples say ‘I cannot as Minister of Maori Affairs, be part of a government that would not give Maori a voice on the Supercity’? Would he resign on principle too?

Nah. Once again, Sharples and Turia will be happy to be part of a government that works against their people’s interests. That way they get to keep their baubles.

Actually, that’s a little unfair, Sharples is delivering on one thing. He can say ‘sure, the government I’m a member of has taken away Maori workers’ rights, it has taken contrary views to my party’s policy on education, ACC, health, Matariki, cigarettes, the SAS, and the environment but I’m staying on so I can get the flag I choose to flutter in the breeze on a bridge for one day a year’.

Whose mana is enhanced by this episode thus far?

22 comments on “Hide would go for principles, Sharples would stay for baubles”

  1. StephenR 1

    …and now he’s trying to hold the Nats to ransom to ensure he gets exactly what he wants.

    “Ransom”? The government doesn’t *look* good/stable if he resigns from the role of LG Minister, but they don’t lose a whole lot else IMHO.

  2. Tim Ellis 2

    Interesting post, Eddie.

    This looks to me like Mr Key’s first test as a coalition manager. I think Mr Hide is probably just posturing a little bit, but part of the art of managing coalitions is not to let individual parties or members die in a ditch when they don’t get their own way on an issue.

    That is much harder to achieve when the coaltion consists of parties with quite divergent points of view on some issues. Mr Key will come across as a very effective government manager if he can get through this issue without having parties spit the dummy.

    Mrs Shipley didn’t manage to do this when Mr Peters spat the dummy. On the other hand, Ms Clark went overboard to assuage Mr Peters’ sensitivities to the point of defending him to the hilt for quite outrageous behaviour during the last government and ended up paying the price for that.

    Yet again, Eddie, I think you are displaying the Labour Party’s flawed strategy of attacking the Maori Party at all costs, at the risk of denying Labour the opportunity form a government with them in the near future. I don’t think Labour can govern in the next ten years without the Maori Party. Unless they can boot them out of parliament altogether, attacking them on every point will be very damaging to the Labour Party.

    I think Mr Key will succeed in cooling some hot heads over this issue, including Mr Henare whose leaked email appears to have ignited the matter. If he succeeds it will prove to be another important evolution of MMP in my view. There isn’t a New Zealand precedent for this, since Ms Clark refused to engage parties in government other than the ones she absolutely needed to form a simple majority so she didn’t have to deal with disparate views in government.

  3. Well tariana certainly has principles which is why she ditched the (expletive deleted by writer) of labour and started the maori party. She certainly enhanced her mana there.

  4. snoozer 4

    is that why she voted for a parliament that cut education spending? why she’s sold out on workers’ right and the whenua?

    So principled, so very very principled

    • If we start to go through the voting records there would be all sorts of finger pointing. the maori party are playing the long game… longer than 3 or 4 generations thats for sure… and they are doing well, IMO

  5. BLiP 5

    Since when did the ACT Party start caring about principles and the “fundamental rights” of New Zealanders?

  6. Pat 6

    My money is on 2 Maori seats and Hide saying “I have had a meeting with the PM who expressed his wishes that I stay on as Minister to carry on the good work I have been doing, and after much soul-searching and speaking to my ACT colleagues the over-whelming consensus is that I should stay on as Minister blah blah…”

  7. Mike Collins 7

    To be fair to Sharples he is not the one being asked to sponsor the legislation in Parliament. I imagine you would get a similar response (to Hide’s), were Sharples asked, for example, to introduce legislation to repeal Maori seats, in his capacity as Maori Affairs Minister.

    It is actually the right thing to do if you disagree with a position as a minister to offer to resign rather than support what you disagree with. Rather be principled than a hypocrite, that’s for sure.

    And to be fair to Hide as well, he did not leak this or talk to the media until it came into the public domain. He went to Key in June and advised him in private of his position. That’s not tubthumping, that’s respect for a working relationship. Contrast this to Winston Peters and his negotiation by media.

    • Tim Ellis 7.1

      Yes those are valid points Mr Collins.

      As I say I don’t think there will be a lot of fallout. If Mr Henare leaked the email to TV3 then I expect Mr Key won’t be happy with him.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        Key may also be happy it’s come out Tim. Why would you say otherwise?

        Hide was refusing to listen to argument, making a mockery of the consultation process. That was Tau’s point. That if National wants to leave the race baiting tactics of Brash behind, then now is the time to do so.

        Why do you think Key would be unhappy about that?

        • Tim Ellis

          That’s an interesting perspective PB, and I hadn’t thought of it like that.

          I’m not defending Mr Hide, but it does appear that Mr Henare’s leaked email is what stirred the current squabble. There will always be disputes and differences of opinion among ministers even from the same party let alone from othe rdifferent parties. It doesn’t look like Mr Hide was responsible for escalating this issue to become a public spat.

          If it is a serious threat by Mr Hide, I don’t imagine Mr Key will be very worried. Mr Hide is really only in Parliament by grace of the National Party just as Mr Anderton only exists by grace of the Labour Party for some time. It’s a fine line between presenting a unique party brand as a small party in government and be seen to be wagging the tail.

          • The Voice of Reason

            Anti-spam: Assumption

            And you’re making a big one there, Tim. Jim Anderton has one of the biggest majorities in Parliament even with Labour always putting up good candidates. It’s not like Anderton would get in on the list, as was the case with Worth in Epsom. He either wins the seat or he’s gone. No comparison at all to Rodders v. Worth.

  8. bobo 8

    I think your flattering Hide as this posturing is nothing to do with his “principles”, he is just scared two Maori seats on the supercity might be able to veto any future asset privatization plans. It also shows clearly Rodney has no real interest in changing the council structure for the sake of representation and reducing rates, how would having two Maori seats have any effect on that.

  9. Ron 9

    Would Key really CARE if Rod quit? RH has said they would continue to support the guvmint and getting them off the Cabinet benches would take a bit of the taint of the loont right away from the Tories. If I was Key i’d be saying “Go on then, see if I care”

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    ” If I was Key i’d be saying “Go on then, see if I care'”

    So would I Ron. I’d be tempted to have his little powerplay exposed in the press.

    • Maynard J 10.1

      Of course the reason we would like to see it happen is for the exact reasons Key would not!

      • Ron 10.1.1

        I don’t know, Maynard, why would Jonkey worry? He’s still got a government and he’s got that nutter out of his hair.

  11. burt 11


    So two last cabs off the rank now eh, I can understand a Labour supporter having a fear of principles but denigrating pragmatism… You have nowhere left to go now Eddie?

  12. Spectator 12

    If Hide wants to throw his toys out of the cot, let him. It would be good for Auckland, good for the National Party and most probably good for the country as a whole.

  13. Bryan 13

    Sacrifice? Principle? This is scripted!

  14. deemac 14

    to be fair, Turia and Sharples don’t just get a flag on a bridge – they get nice official cars too. People have clung on to office for less.

  15. Frank Macskasy 15

    If Key wants to be seen as weak and kowtowing to a coalition partner (who won only 3.6% of the Party Vote) – that will be his undoing.

    Just as Labour was punished for their dealings with NZ First…

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