The other day Dancer made some good points about the campaign “It’s Not Okay” and the role that organisations like the Families Commission play, as we strive for a caring and compassionate society. And Russell Brown who participated in the ads shared his view through the comments, that it had “helped focus minds” and dedicated his blog to it today.
So the Maori Party now finds itself in a tricky predicament, following Truth’s front page revelations today about Derek Fox having “a well-known history of violence towards women”. For the Maori Party, Fox is a good candidate, with appeal stretching further than the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate seat he wants to contest against Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia. Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, himself by no means sparkling clean on this front, was said to have known about the rumours. To be honest it wasn’t that hard, on both counts they were pretty established rumours in some Maori circles.
The predicament for the Maori Party though having been strong on the anti-violence message is when and how will they remove Fox as candidate. Tariana Turia is on record as having said “violence is unacceptable in any form”. Hone Harawira has similarly claimed that “[b]ashing the missus and the kids is a serious problem all over the country, and every step we take to reduce the devastating effects of that violence has to be commended”. These kinds of statements make it difficult to see how they can both keep Fox as a candidate and maintain Party unity while also upholding the principles that they purport to follow.
For the Maori Party this week comes on the back of previous revelations back in May that a former 2005 Maori Party candidate was arrested, accused of grooming young teenage girls on the internet and meeting them for sex. In the past Tariana Turia has issued her own challenge – “The challenge for this Government now is to extend its gaze to every institution and to ensure that we say ‘no’ to violence at all levels.” It’s a challenge that she, and the Maori Party she created, must now answer. So, does the Maori Party agree “It’s not OK”?
So far their attempt to quash the story hasn’t worked. It’s no secret that the Maori Party are looking to work with the Nats – maybe John Key would be willing to lend them Crosby Textor for a bit…