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Not a good look

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, February 4th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: corruption, maori party - Tags:

So, John Key and Pita Sharples put Hone Harawira in charge of deciding which flag will fly to represent Maori on government buildings on Waitangi Day.

Only four options are put up: the New Zealand flag, the New Zealand ensign, the 1835 United Tribes flag, and Tino Rangatiratanga. It was always pretty obvious what the result must be.

Now, it has emerged that Harawira’s family had a neat little way to make some money off this process. Choosing Tino Rangatiratanga as the ‘official Maori flag’ was obviously going to increase demand for it. So, Harawira’s wife, Hilda, with his knowledge and cooperation was going to copyright the flag then ring-in the royalties for a trust.

Now that they’ve been sprung, Harawira has canned the idea but we have to ask: was this planned all along? Is this why only one plausible option was put up?

We already know that many Maori, particularly the Northern Iwi, are displeased that the Government has thrust Tino Rangatiratanga on them as ‘their flag’. Now, the whole process must be considered a sham and tainted by Harawira’s conflict of interest.

22 comments on “Not a good look ”

  1. Ron 1

    The MaoriTory Party has no credibility now. It breaks my heart really because i had a lot of respect for Pita and hoped the MP would make a difference.

  2. The word “corruption” springs to mind.

    I presume Key is relaxed about it?

    • Morgan 2.1

      “The MaoriTory Party has no credibility now”. Oh i suppose they can be called a true political party now.

  3. TightyRighty 3

    Maybe Len Brown is part of the conspiracy?

    • Marty G 3.1

      why?

      the Harawira’s have admitted they had this money-making plan. They cancelled it after TVOne discovered it.

      Do you think this doesn’t cast doubt on the whole process?

    • Sam 3.2

      Yes. Just like how global warming isn’t happening, the EFA was an attack on democracy, and the world will end in 2012.

      I too like to make outrageously unrelated comments to draw attention to myself because I have nothing constructive to say.

    • I am sure more people think shonky process, people getting decision making power that they use to their own financial advantage = Hone Banks

  4. if they were going to copyright it you’d think they would have done it way before pushing it as teh maori flag.

    what with all the bullshit and selling out i can see fickle maori roll voters getting pissed off with maori party antics and swinging back to labour. Goff though will always be tainted by the Clark years and the ForeShore/Seabed issue.

    isnt repealing the FSS the cornerstone of maori party policy and the deal clincher for keys coalition govt ? seems all quiet on that front. what’s Goff’s position on the FSS ?

    i wonder if he can offer some sort of pre nuptial deal before elections and let the maori party run unopposed for maori seats in exchange for guaranteed support, tweaking the FSS act if it doesnt come up to scratch and maybe an agreement to not partner up with the nats ?

    • Lew 4.1

      PW,

      isnt repealing the FSS the cornerstone of maori party policy and the deal clincher for keys coalition govt ? seems all quiet on that front. what’s Goff’s position on the FSS ?

      Yeah. Not quiet so much as on hold for the holidays. In response to the FSA Review Panel report released last year Key and Finlayson more or less said it would be repealed, and consultation about what will replace it is currently underway.

      As for Goff, his (and Labour’s) position has been somewhat equivocal. Cullen retreated from the FSA before he left, and Goff toed that line for a while (expressing regret, etc. and pledging support for a bipartisan replacement) but then recanted on the recanting in the leadup to the Nationhood speech. So there hasn’t yet been a firm and coherent policy position established as yet. This is sort of undertandable, since while recognising the FSA was broken, they will be understandably suspicious of getting drawn into National’s game.

      Frankly, I don’t see Labour has that much leverage with the māori party. They’re comfortable winners in four out of seven Māori electorates anyhow, and within striking distance of two more if the polls are to be believed. In any case, Labour trying to pen them into a deal where they’re prohibited from working with the Nats will play into National’s narrative line that Labour just wants to control Māori, rather than work with them; and will undermine Labour’s position that Māori are better off with them and worse off with National, even if they don’t realise it. The only way Labour comes out looking good is by winning Māori support back with humility and goodwill; at present the dial still seems stuck on arrogance and hectoring.

      L

      • pollywog 4.1.1

        for such an important clincher on forming a coalition you’d think the FSA issue would be resolved a hell of a lot faster. elections are next year and aint nuthin been done .

        maybe labour doesnt have to do anything and let the maori party implode by its own device of being too close to Key while they drag their feet on the issue and the country goes down the shitter .

        once the FSA gets sorted the fundamental point of contention between clark and turia will be moot and the parties could come together for a pre election deal…yeah ?

        the greens, labour and the maori party seem like a natural coalition.

        • Lew 4.1.1.1

          PW,

          for such an important clincher on forming a coalition you’d think the FSA issue would be resolved a hell of a lot faster.

          Couldn’t agree less. It was done quick and dirty last time, and look how that worked out. For something so important and complicated — and symbolic of the wider bicultural project — it’s utterly critical that this be done right, that everyone has their say and that nobody feels like their wishes have been discarded out of hand. (No to say that everyne must be 100% happy with the outcome, but that they at least have some faith in the process). Māori have incredible political patience. The rest of the country tends to forget this, except when they’re taking advantage of it.

          maybe labour doesnt have to do anything and let the maori party implode by its own device of being too close to Key while they drag their feet on the issue and the country goes down the shitter .

          This appears to be their current strategy. It’s similar to the 2003 rugby world cup final, where England played negatively and took pot shots where they could. The trouble with this strategy, for Labour, is that they don’t have anyone even remotely resembling Jonny Wilkinson.

          once the FSA gets sorted the fundamental point of contention between clark and turia will be moot and the parties could come together for a pre election deal yeah ?
          the greens, labour and the maori party seem like a natural coalition.

          Yeah, I agree. Some egos need to be managed for this to happen, and I think some senior people in the Labour party need to sling their hooks. Turia’s retirement will also aid the process, although it will be a greater loss to the māori party than (say) Phil Goff leaving Labour.

          L

          • pollywog 4.1.1.1.1

            yeah i understand the need for patience in the general sense, but politically it’s been 2 years since the agreement between the maori party and the national and not so much as a peep from either side.

            i thought this gov’t was all about urgency. like didn’t national already have an alternate scheme in the pipeline when labour legislated the act or did they toe the line as well ?

            just seems like whatever happens is also gonna get rushed out quick and dirty and leave the maori party with their arses hanging out for the elections leaving Cunliffe and Jones for the win ?

            • Lew 4.1.1.1.1.1

              not so much as a peep from either side

              What? The government appointed a panel of two eminent Māori academics and a land scholar to review the act, and upon receiving the review accepted its recommendations in principle and stated publicly that they would “probably” repeal the act, once a working concept of what should replace it had been decided upon. The topic is due for discussion between the Prime Minister and Māori this very weekend on our national holiday at Waitangi.

              I don’t see how much more could have been done to progress the issue without rushing it. There are plenty of grounds to criticise this government, but their handling of the FSA isn’t one (unless you subscribe to the blue collar red neck line of “separatists are taking our beaches!!!!1”. It’s a textbook example of how government-stakeholder engagement and negotiation ought to work.

              L

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      isnt repealing the FSS the cornerstone of maori party policy and the deal clincher for keys coalition govt ?

      And?

      The MP doesn’t actually represent Maori. It’s doubtful it even represents a plurality of Maori.

      • Lew 4.2.1

        Depends what you take as “representing”. In strict electoral terms, you’re probably right. But the māori party’s claim is to represent a kaupapa Māori political philosophy, and inasmuch as they do (and they do pretty strongly) they do in a less strict way represent those who share that worldview, whether they voted for the māori party or not.

        For allegory’s sake, it’s like the Workers Party. They don’t actually represent anyone, because they don’t have a voice in parliament. But being the (fairly) orthodox socialist party in NZ, they do in a way represent the socialists, even those who vote for Labour or the Greens.

        The māori party’s means of access to parliament (via the Māori seats) also muddies the direct votes = representation issue, since many people who voted for (or would vote for) a māori party candidate realise that there’s no point in casting their party vote for them as well. And then there’s the topic of people on the general roll (because they live in marginal electorates, for instance), who are in a similar situation. That they cast their votes in this was isn’t to say that the party doesn’t represent them.

        Representation is complicated.

        L

  5. felix 5

    What did Key know and when did he know it?

  6. Lew 6

    Yeah, this is just the sort of bad look Māori ought to be running a mile from — it confirms all the racist pronouncements about brown corruption. Also if they genuinely want the flag to become a national or nationally-recognised symbol, it needs to be part of the public domain, the cultural heritage of the whole country. Selling the flags is not so bad. Claiming royalties on the design is another thing altogether.

    Tough, though — having so little in the way of capital (cultural or otherwise), it’s very tempting to try to exploit it as much as possible.

    L

  7. Well someone has to produce and sell the flags, but ownership of the design is indeed problematic. Flags are such powerful devices. The 1835 is still popular here in the Far North regardless of the Harawira view. In broader terms I have to say this issue contains an element of Hone bashing, conflict of interest handed to critics on a plate notwithstanding. He is still genuinely popular in the North.

    Thousands of ‘squigglebytes’ were expended on Hones merits on this blog in late 09, and it remains obvious he comes from a different perspective than Turia and Prof. Winiata. I have some but not total sympathy with Lews view “Tough, though — having so little in the way of capital (cultural or otherwise), it’s very tempting to try to exploit it as much as possible.’ having seen majorly under resourced muriwhenua iwi trying to work with a hostile council, DoC and developers.

    • Lew 7.1

      TM, yeah — even given Linda Munn’s retraction, Hone (and Hilda) is still the story.

      And I agree — it’s a tricky thing to generalise about, how those resources should be used, since each case is so different. Whether it’s done, and how, and with what caveats, I see as a manifestation of tino rangatiratanga, and I’m very reluctant to judge. You might be interested in a discussion a while ago on Kiwipolitico regarding the vesting of putative “intellectual property rights” to the haka Ka Mate in Ngāti Toa Rangatira. A couple of different objections — one (from Richard Stallman) that it shouldn’t be exploited at all as such exploitation was universally wrong regardless; and aniother from a researcher who argued that it wasn’t theirs to exploit anyhow. Some parallels in this, I reckon.

      L

  8. Tigger 8

    Producing and selling flags is one thing – but copyright over the actual design? Surely once something is adopted as a ‘national flag’ it is governed by the rules ordinarily pertaining to such flags.

    Methinks some rushed legislation will be drafted over this issue…

    • Lew 8.1

      For what it’s worth, Linda Munn has sicne come out and said it was never about profiting from the design, but about preventing it from being expropriated.

      I don’t think it’ll be legislated away. I think the weight of public opinion will prevent its exploitation, in NZ at least.

      L

  9. actually i think metiria has got the point of this

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2010/02/04/john-key-stop-your-attacks-on-whanau/

    how many MP’s have potential conflicts of interest and when identified what do they do about it?
    when did it become okay to attack an MP’s family and whanau?

    labours hate and envy of the maori party are colouring the commentary

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