Maori Party meltdown

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, November 26th, 2009 - 11 comments
Categories: maori party - Tags:

maori-party-john-keyHow long can the Maori Party survive before it collapses under the weight of its own contradictions?

The idea of a single party to represent all Maori has always been a fallacy. When the Maori Party first appeared, I wished it well as a left-wing fellow traveller but since then, because of its impossible goal of representing all Maori and Tariana Turia’s insatible aim to suck up to National to spite Labour, it has lost everything it claimed to stand for.

Over the last few days we have seen, exposed in disgusting and dismaying detail, the contradictions inherent in a party that claims to represent an ethnic group that now transcends class boundaries. On the ETS, the Maori Party could either choose to support the Maori elite who, like their Pakeha capitalist brethren, are more concerned with lining their own pockets in the short-term than anything, or the majority of working Maori who, like their Pakeha brothers and sisters, are the ones who will bear the burden of the ETS under National’s scheme, and who will suffer and whose children will suffer if we do not take action on climate change now.

The Maori Party, excepting Hone Harawira, sided with the rich when push came to shove. They screwed over Maori and Pakeha New Zealanders in favour of treats for the wealthy polluters.

Clearly there is extreme dissent within the Maori Party over this. How could there not be? The party was founded on the ideal of enfranchising the dispossessed, but at Turia’s insistence it has come to stand for the interests of the elite. Pita Sharples is obviously unhappy but too weak to challenge Turia. Flavell, too, is a weak character and totally unable to stand up for his ideals. Katene seems to have a bizarre doublethink going on inside herself.

It was telling that when the story of ructions within the governing council of the party over the ETS sell-out emerged it was one of the co-vice presidents that came out denying it, alone and not backed by the president or the other co-vice president. Clearly, the divisions between the sell-outs and the principled extend through the party from the bottom to the top.

Can the Maori Party survive from here? Turia has exposed herself as a lackey of the Right and the bulk of the MPs have fallen into line like cowards. How can the activist base support this? They can’t. The contradictions in the party have split it open over an issue that isn’t even central to its raison d’être. How will the party hold itself together when Turia inevitably tries to sell out over the foreshore and seabed? It won’t.

If there is a future for a Maori-based political movement, it is in a genuine Left party that does not arrogantly purport to represent all Maori, perhaps led by Hone Harawira if he can redeem himself. The future does not lie with Turia and sell-outs like her.

11 comments on “Maori Party meltdown”

  1. Jono 1

    When diehards in the rank and file like Hori Parata up in Tai Tokerau are venting to the media, its not a good sign. Hori is definitely of the activitist wing (particularly on environmental issues), ex military and a well-known figure at the coalface of iwi resource management.

    Readers might like to contrast him with Buddy Mikaere and while not wanting to tout Chris Trotters conspiracy theory, a look over Mikaere’s resume shows him in pretty deep with the rapers and pillagers.

    Captcha: Distribute

  2. The Maori Party has now definitively demonstrated it’s own class contradictions as predicted by many of us lefties. In a parliamentary sense they will stagger on for the duration of this National led government, but the future is writ. In contrast Hone’s success in Te Tai Tokerau has always been about basic political organisation of numbers of previously ignored people on the ground.

  3. “The idea of a single party to represent all Maori has always been a fallacy”

    Yes, just like like idea of having specific seats in parliament or in a city council to represent Maori.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      clearly not the same thing

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Actually, it is.

        • Craig Glen Eden

          No its not the same thing at all.

          Having Maori seats in parliament insures Maori have a seat at the table and thats all. Who that person is, is chosen by Maori, they can choose a politician who is left, right pacifist, activist, Labour, National, Maori Party.

          The Maori Party put up a brand (Brand Maori) and said come vote for us if you are Maori and because we are Maori we will take care of your issues.

          The fact is when it comes to a class system Maori are no different to any other group of people, that is there are rich and poor, privileged and non privileged.
          Tariana and Hone are politically quite different animals and its only after getting in the same boat that Hone is now realising hey these others don’t paddle in the same direction as him. Clearly having the seat and who ends up in the seat are two entirely different things.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The fact is when it comes to a class system Maori are no different to any other group of people, that is there are rich and poor, privileged and non privileged.

            Exactly. Voting for a person because of race doesn’t get proper representation which is the problem with the MP.

  4. roger nome 4


  5. outofbed 5

    So we all have been sold out by the MP for 25mil what that? 10$ per adult ?
    And how much is it going to cost us per adult, ten of thousands of dollars? It will make us a laughing stock internationally, makes a mockery of the “clean and green” image and does nothing to address climate change.
    I would have gladly given the Maori elite their 10$ to keep them quiet, it would have been a great investment.
    I mean if you are going to sell out FFS ,sell out big time not for a measly 25mil
    Smith has done them over

  6. JonL 6

    I’m really disappointed in Pita and co. I thought they would be a fresh strong counterpoint to the two main parties – instead, they’ve sold out for a piece of silver!
    After 2 elections, they aren’t getting my vote again – they’ve had their chance and screwed it!

  7. Ron 7

    I’m disappointed too. And also annoyed because I’m running out of parties to vote for.

    I was so proud to be a New Zealander when the Maori Party entered parliament. I had enormous respect for Pita because he’d done the yards and although I wasn’t a Turia fan I had to respect the fact that a: she walked and b: she came back on her own terms.
    The moment they went with the Tories they lost my vote but it now seems they ARE actually a brown Tory party.
    It’s very sad.

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