Mana Maori?

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, July 1st, 2013 - 39 comments
Categories: mana-party, maori party - Tags: ,

There’s a lot of talk about a reunification of the Mana and Maori Parties after the Ikaroa-Rawhiti result. The claim that, because the Mana and Maori candidates’ joint total was higher than Labour’s, they could have won the seat if they were united is, of course, moronic – you can’t assume the absence of one of those candidates would have seen all his votes go to the other. Nevertheless, a united Mana Maori would be more powerful than the two divided. So. what are the chances?


Let’s look at the two options: full reunion or a truce whereby the parties divide up the Maori seats and don’t run against each other.

Tariana Turia has said that she would support the two parties reuniting. It would bring back the activists that they lost to Mana and reboot her discredited political movement. But she’s retiring any way and, she’s the female co-leader so her job isn’t on the line here. Pita Sharples and Te Ururoa Flavell are much less welcoming of a reunion.

There can be only one male co-leader (if they don’t want to be a laughingstock) and that person would be Hone as part of any Mana Maori union. Sharples is likely to retire soon, so it’s really a question of whether Flavell would support a union. Flavell has said that people are welcome to talk about a union but it’s just talk. So, that’s a big fat ‘no’ from him. He wants to be co-leader and he’s not going to give that up easy.

Of course, there’s a chance that the Maori Party would go ahead with a union with Mana without getting Flavell on board,but he would probably throw in the towel at that point. And that would mean that all 3 sitting Maori Party MPs would be gone… so in what sense would that be a union? It would be more like Mana taking over a shell of a party.

There’s also a timing issue with any union. Hone won’t work with National. Turia and Sharples won’t give up the ministerial limos. So, any formal union could only come into effect at the next election. Key might find it prudent to strip the Maori Party of its portfolios and dissolve the C&S agreement before that whenever an agreement to unify is agreed.

What about the two parties dividing up the Maori seats between them? Well, three of them are in Labour’s hands and they’re not going to lose them to either of Maori or Mana (or, I suspect, a united Mana Maori). That leaves Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauāuru, Te Tai Tokerau, and Waiariki. Mana isn’t going to settle for just one of those seats, not when it can potentially take more.

So, in a truce, the Maori Party would have to give over at least one more seat to Mana. The obvious one is Waiariki. Mana’s number 2, Annette Sykes ran there and came a credible second last time, reducing Flavell’s majority by two thirds. She could win it next time regardless of any deal). Waiariki is the only one where the Maori Party stepping aside would assure a Mana victory –
Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauāuru wou.d likely go Labour without a Maori Party candidate.

So, you can see what the barrier is to any truce deal, eh? The same as the barrier to any union of Mana and Maori. Flavell. He’s not going to agree to giving up his seat for the sake of a truce any more than he will agree to giving up the co-leadership to Hone for a union.

So, it comes down to this: is the Maori Party prepared to jettison Flavell for a union or truce with Hone?

I don’t see it happening.

Instead, I see the Maori Party dying off – down to 1 seat in 2014 with the loss of Tāmaki Makaurau and Waiariki to Labour and Mana respectively. And the lone survivor – Turia’s replacement in Te Tai Hauāuru – going over to Mana when the Maori Party goes below 500 members some time in the next term.

And that’s no more than the Maori Party deserves for deserting its principles in favour of trinkets from National.

39 comments on “Mana Maori?”

  1. Yes eddie the chances of unification are in my view slim indeed. It is interesting to note that when Hone left them they were all about describing the divisive nature of him and now that divisive nature is still there which shows that it wasn’t Hone at all that was divisive.

    • saarbo 1.1

      Yes good point MM. Divisiveness seems to be all part of the territory when it comes to politics though, where personal ego’s are more important than the Party that these people represent. Labour are in the same boat. If Mana and Maori were to merge, who would lead Waiariki, Sykes or Flavell? and so on. It is probably easier to let the two party’s fight to the death than deal with the mighty scrap that will ensue when dealing with these issues.

  2. BLiP 2

    ManaGreens seems more likely to me.

    • Lightly 2.1

      isn’t Mana more useful as its own force? I don’t see what the Greens would gain from that, except taking on branding that they don’t want.

      • BLiP 2.1.1

        I guess, but from a strategic point of view, Mana could suggest its voters hand their party vote to the Greens, thus ensuring, if nothing else, a stronger oppsition should the worse come to the worst. Doesn’t mean the Greens won’t be campaigning for the party vote in the Maori seats, but working together could help with campaign costs and generate focus on real issues – which unite the two parties – instead of manufactured media pulp.

        • marty mars

          Both Mana and the Greens are going for different constituents – there is advantage in working together for them both I think but they must remain separate and unique to really bring the votes home. Two ticks for Mana is the best way to keep the Mana Movement momentum going imo, the Greens will get their ticks from labour and hopefully the gnats.

          • weka

            But isn’t it technically possible that Mana and the GP splitting votes could cost the left the next election? (am thinking it’s something to do with Mana getting more seats than its share from the list vote. Haven’t done the maths though)

            • marty mars

              I just don’t subscribe to that worldview – ‘cost the left the next election’. People vote for who they want and the politicians get in because of that. There is no costing the left – there are just voters and their choices. If the left can’t get the votes, they don’t get the treasury benches – that is it. So the focus for me is on helping the left get the votes not worrying if this or that combination will make a difference. I understand others have different views and see the ‘tactical’ or ‘strategic’ voting as important, I just don’t or maybe less important is more accurate – even if it ‘costs the election’.

              • Pascal's bookie


                There’s way too much of citizens thinking and acting like politicians. They shouldn’t.

                • weka

                  So you are both ok if NACT get another term because Mana and the GP split the vote somewhere? Really? Why is that better than Mana and the GP working together and the left forming govt?

                  “There’s way too much of citizens thinking and acting like politicians. They shouldn’t.”

                  Maybe, but for me I don’t really have any useful choices to conscience vote or ethically vote, so I vote tactically (which is a form of ethics).

                  • McFlock

                    The thing is that as far as I can tell that eventuality occurs only if the vote is very close.

                    But with 7-9% spreads between the polls, it’s really undetectable whether the voter will be better off voting for their own party, or their competition. Because if they vote for the party they don’t fully support, then they’re actually reducing the leverage that their own party has in either government or opposition.

                    • For me the journey is more important than the destination especially if to reach the destination sacrifices have to be made, and they often do. A classic example is The Maori Party – they got to their destination and lost everything along the way. Labour are another example where the treasury benches are everything and everything can be pragmatically sacrificed to get them. I hope The Greens understand this because the evidence so far for me is that they are becoming fixated on getting into power and they, like labour, will do whatever it takes to get there – but I hope I’m wrong about the Greens. The Mana Movement can grow and build and concentrate on integrity along the way, concentrate on the journey – because when they do get to power they will have a difficult job not to be seduced by the trappings like every other party in history. I believe in the kaupapa of Mana and that kaupapa is the best protection against ‘pragmatically’ making decisions and the folly of getting to the destination and losing everything you believed in and hoped for.

                    • McFlock

                      Treasure of the Sierra Madre syndrome 🙂

                    • weka

                      I hope The Greens understand this because the evidence so far for me is that they are becoming fixated on getting into power and they, like labour, will do whatever it takes to get there – but I hope I’m wrong about the Greens. The Mana Movement can grow and build and concentrate on integrity along the way, concentrate on the journey – because when they do get to power they will have a difficult job not to be seduced by the trappings like every other party in history. I believe in the kaupapa of Mana and that kaupapa is the best protection against ‘pragmatically’ making decisions and the folly of getting to the destination and losing everything you believed in and hoped for.

                      I hope you are right marty. Unfortunately for me I’ve seen the GP do exactly what you are talking about and stay out of govt and not achieve their goals. They stuck to their kaupapa, preserved their integrity, and Labour fucked them over repeatedly, to the detriment of the country (imagine where we would be now if Labour had chose them over Peters). After a handful of election cycles of that, they made some changes. It’s true there was still a choice to hold their integrity and honour the journey, but IMO they’ve made the right one by surrendering some of that (but not all). I don’t want to sit and watch Labour and NACT spoil the country further, and possibly beyond repair (and I appreciate that Maori have a different perspective on this, esp re time, but for me it comes down to the approach of PO/AGW and us needing a certain level of democracy and economic integrity to manage transition well).

                      I know bugger all about the people involved in Mana other than those that make it into the news. Of those, Harawira and Sykes impress me, and I’d be happy to see them and Bradford and Minto as MPs. But they don’t strike me as being any better than the GP was a decade ago (or possibly even now) in terms of integrity and a vision on how to make political headway and effect real, meaningful change within NZ. My main hope for Mana is that they are building something at the grassroots level that is currently out of the mainstream eye. Otherwise I can’t see how their fate is any different than that of the GP.

                    • weka

                      “The thing is that as far as I can tell that eventuality occurs only if the vote is very close.

                      But with 7-9% spreads between the polls, it’s really undetectable whether the voter will be better off voting for their own party, or their competition. Because if they vote for the party they don’t fully support, then they’re actually reducing the leverage that their own party has in either government or opposition.”

                      How many people fully support the party they vote for? I think that is naive in the extreme. I could easily vote Mana or Greens. I’d be hard pressed to vote Labour give I have some other choices, but if it were only Labour and NACT, I would vote Labour. The alternative is to not vote at all, and look where that got us.

                    • Politics is dirty in more ways than the obvious. Look at labour – a group want them to stick to the values that created the party even though the party has been hijacked and doesn’t hardly resemble the original anymore, sadly the Greens are likely to suffer the same fate – when large numbers join and want their voice heard and the values begin slipping to be pragmatic and retain the ‘power’. All parties are susceptible to it even Mana. But if the kaupapa is always front of mind the slippage can be held off long enough to get through that phase. The Greens with their big middle will struggle to do that imo. The Mana Movement if it builds from the bottom up may be able to do better in the long run especially if desperate times create desperate alternatives – that’s revolution not evolution. As for peak oil and global warming and mitigating those effects – I am of the view that community is the answer to that and getting ready for the inevitable is the only solution – that’s why I like JMG the Archdruid, because he talks about actual solutions as in preparations and that is the way it will go imo.

                      And to bring it all the way back – that is why two ticks for Mana is the best option rather than trying to do deals, or stitch up ‘tactical’ or ‘strategic’ voting.

                    • McFlock

                      How many people fully support the party they vote for?

                      True, but some some voters certainly seem to attach emotionally to some particular party over all the others, even if they are not entirely supportive of the entire policy platform.

                      There will always be a difference between what the individual would like to see being done, versus what the party policy or leadership actually is, because parties involve working with other people. The difference between the individual’s goals and those of the party would basically indicate how much the voter is for that party, or simply supports some shopping basket of generally acceptable parties they could vote for.

                      I mean, if a voter doesn’t particularly care about the distinction between Mana and the Greens anyway, fair enough. I guess it comes down to finding a balance between how much one supports a particular party over the others, and how likely one thinks a compromise vote would be the difference between a “left” government and a “tory” government.

                    • karol

                      I’d like to see Mana and the Greens work together more. I like Mana’s flax roots, focus on working with those on low income and their down-to-earth style.

                      I am a little wary of the fact that, the excellent Sykes and Bradford not withstanding, Mana seems to be a fairly male-dominated outfit so far.

                      I am really keen on the way Metiria Turei has been working with Marama Davidson. I’m less excited about Russel Norman, but there’s some other solid Green MPs.

                      More collaboration between Mana and the Greens would be ideal for me. And it may help counter any attempts to pull the Greens more to the centre.

                    • The Fan Club

                      “Labour had chose them over Peters” — when? When did Labour have this choice? I mean, this is the problem with the narrative you’ve got here: it presumes facts that are very much not in evidence.

                      In reality, the Greens were never able to bring enough votes to the table to allow Labour to snub Peters/Dunne. That’s a big part of the reason for the shift, and it has nothing to do with choices Labour did or didn’t make.

  3. Te Reo Putake 3

    “And the lone survivor – Turia’s replacement in Te Tai Hauāuru – ”

    I would think that this seat is going Labour at the next election, particularly if the 2011 candidate, Soraya Peke-Mason can be convinced to stand again. Soraya did an excellent job of shoring up both the candidate and party votes, despite the overall dismal showing of Labour under Goff. She has the all the skills, and the enthusiasm needed, and she is widely respected in Ratana and the wider electorate.

    The MP are going to have to find a remarkably good candidate to win the seat. And their stocks are running pretty low at the moment.

  4. Wont work, two different ideologies.

    Mana is extreme left, even too left wing for the greens.

    While the Maori party is what they say they’re, a party working
    for Maori.

    Maori and Mana dont mix

    Green and Maori dont mix.

    Green and Mana, dont mix.

    Socialist Aotearoa and Mana, maybe?

    • fender 4.1

      Maori Party are a right-wing crutch, a party working for their retirement nest-egg.

      fixed another one of your errors Brett.

      • Brett Dale 4.1.1

        A right wing crutch for a party with 48-49% support, hate to see what a party that supports a party with 30% is.

        • fender

          National got 47%

          Without the MP, Act, UF crutch to hold them up there would be no majority.

          • Brett Dale


            And what type of crutch would labour need at 30%

            Has asny political part every become government with only getting 30% of the vote?

            • McFlock

              And even the Nats in ’96 if you go to 33.9%.

            • felix

              “And what type of crutch would labour need at 30%”

              At 30% they won’t get away with a couple of crutches like National have now.

              At 30% they’ll need a partner, a proper one with a discernible, measurable level of support. In my humble opinion that would be a much healthier state of affairs than the shambles of disgraced one-man/woman-bands propping up the current lot.

    • weka 4.2

      Who is talking about mixing Mana and the GP?

      And wasn’t the whole point of Eddie’s post to show how Mana and the MP don’t mix?

      I expect that when the MP eventually dies, many of the workers within the party will migrate to Mana.

      “Mana… even too left wing for the greens.”

      Nah, I think you will find they’re pretty comfortable next to each other.

      • weka 4.2.1

        On second thoughts, I suspect that Brett didn’t read the post, only the headline.

    • BLiP 4.3

      You don’t know what “extreme left” looks like.

      • Brett Dale 4.3.1

        Yep they’re the people that throw eggs at Israeli tennis players, they’re the people that celebrated when 9/11 happen, (just like annette skyes did) they’re the ones that march down the street at the age of 17, telling people what life is all about, but they dont own a passport.

  5. DS 5

    I wouldn’t describe Mana as far-left (its focus is on “Maori”, rather than economics), but it certainly has a far-left component, mostly those people who think that since Hone is brown, that somehow means he can’t be racist.

  6. Delia 6

    No, the Maori Party would totally undo Hone’s work. Avoid at all cost, grow support with people who do not sell out Maori, Hone.

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