We’ve been talking for a long time about how the Maori Party keeps getting screwed over by National and meekly accepting it. But maybe that’s too simple an analysis. Look at the instances where the Maori Party got shafted: seats on the supercity, 3 strikes, tertiary cuts, the Declaration on Indigenous Rights, national standards, RWC TV, ETS, foreshore and seabed (soon enough). But on the other hand, there’s carte blanche for Whanau Ora (whatever it is) that will be given a billion dollars and operated out of TPK, rather than MSD which has the necessary size and experience.
What’s the difference? Turia and Sharples.
It’s not so much the Maori Party but Sharples that keeps getting done over. It’s he who keeps getting the promises that are then broken or left out of the loop on portfolios for which he is associate minister (3 strikes, tertiary cuts). Turia, in contrast, gets what she wants because she’s playing National’s game.
Tariana Turia is in it for herself. She wants power and she wants to be able to go to sleep every night saying ‘screw you, Helen, I won’. Vehemently anti-Labour, she’s effectively a National loyalist and has sacrificed all her Left credentials in pursuit of her vendetta. Her one big idea Whanau Ora, is privatisation by stealth. No wonder the Nats love her.
Pita Sharples is a decent guy who has said time and again that the Maori Party’s principles are aligned with Labour and the Greens’, that the Maori Party is inherently a Leftwing party. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of an old duffer and a weakling. Turia and National walk over him time and again whenever he stands up for the Maori Party’s leftwing principles.
The divide goes deeper than the two leaders to the leftwing activists against the increasingly rightwing corporatised iwi leadership.
How long before the contradictions come to a head, and we can welcome the true Maori Party, the leftwing Maori Party, back into the fold?