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Why Labour’s Maori MPs opted out of the list

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, May 5th, 2017 - 65 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour, Maori Issues, Maori seats, Politics - Tags:

From Meka Whaitiri’s Facebook page:

Labour’s 6 Maori MPs opted off this year’s party list to enable other Maori candidates to come through. On current polling of 30% and if every Labour Maori MP retains their seat, election 2017 will produce 12 Labour Maori MPs – a political first!

Don’t get distracted by party list rankings or humbug comments about Labour not valuing its Maori members. The party list is not how we are ranked in caucus. The caucus list is what matters.

Current caucus rankings have Davis 7, Mahuta 11, Whaitiri 13, Henare 18, Rurawhe 22 – all 5 in Labour’s shadow cabinet which positions Maori MPs well for cabinet positions.

I have no doubt these rankings will go up when we turn out the votes. Party vote Labour, candidate vote your local Labour Maori MP and see 12 Maori MPs come to parliament and the highest number of Maori MPs in cabinet.

We have done our bit within Labour the rest is up to you!

All strength to them.  The next Labour Caucus should have significant high placed Maori representation.

65 comments on “Why Labour’s Maori MPs opted out of the list”

  1. Mr Tank 1

    Typo in the third par! 🙂

    [Ta now fixed – MS]

  2. Ad 2

    Well and truly the main reason Labour list is refreshed is due to their politically brave collective move. Big ups to them.

  3. So it didn’t work and was a wasted effort apart from letting other Māori within labour know where they stand.

    Bet these MP’s are standing proud with labour and clark as the foreshore and seabed rears its head again – great mana not.

    • Karen 3.1

      They wanted more Māori in winnable positions on the list – they achieved that. I agree it is a gamble, and there is a chance that it won’t pay off, but if it works then there will be 12 Māori MPs in the Labour Party caucus and several will be cabinet ministers. That will mean the Labour Māori caucus will be able to have a major influence on Labour policy. Also the Green Party will also have several Māori MPs – Metiria Turei is likely to be Deputy PM.

      The Foreshore and Seabed legislation was a shameful episode in Labour’s history and I personally know many Māori who will never trust Labour again. It was a betrayal they cannot forgive and I was very disappointed this morning to hear that Helen Clark is still defending it.

      However, in 2009 Andrew Little used his first speech as Labour Party president to voice his strong opposition to that legislation and he has repeated that since. Also, it should be remembered what Bill English was saying in 2003:
      And let’s not forget Don Brash.

      The Māori Party may get the occasional concession from National in regards to policy but that is all. If Hone wins he is very unlikely to do more that introduce private member’s bill. Meanwhile National will continue their destructive policies and Māori will continue to suffer the worst statistics when it comes to health, income, education and justice.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        I don’t think they achieved that at all. They will have the same influence they’ve always had – not much – unless it aligns with the labour agenda – if it doesn’t then they will be pushed to the shadows and told to stfu – as happened with the foreshore and seabed – nothing has changed at all – just a prettier (read pretendier) wrapping.

        • Karen

          You obviously have never met Kiri Allan.

          • marty mars


            found this interesting though

            “During her second year of studies she had an internship with then Prime Minister Helen Clark.

            “You got to see how decisions were really made – they are a balancing act.”

            Allan then took some time out from her studies to spend time in the United States working with non-government organisations and doing advocacy work with the United Nations.

            Labour was still in power when she returned home.

            After being back for a week or two, the police came to her parents’ home.

            The police had arrived to question her friends, like Tame Iti, went through her stuff and her computer. It was the aftermath of the infamous Urewera raids.

            She says she laughed, almost hysterically, when the police suggested there was a group in cahoots to take down New Zealand.

            “I had been out of the country for a few years and had only been back for a short time – maybe a week or two – so I found that quite egregious.

            “I don’t want to take away from my friends whose lives were being impacted, whereas I got a polite call to my house and they went through my stuff. In my head I was like, ‘I’m being raided’.””


            classic – raided by the terror squads approved by helen who she used to intern with – I’d laugh almost hysterically too with that one I spose. Pity everyone affected weren’t treated as nicely as Kiri or her parents.

            • Anne

              … raided by the terror squads approved by helen…

              Wrong marty mars. The raids were part of an investigation by the police and as such there was no ministerial input. As an act of courtesy, it is usual practice for the police to give their minister a heads up on a major event of that nature. Therefore Annette King was informed about 24 hrs in advance of the raid. Even if she and Helen Clark had misgivings about what was about to happen, they were not allowed to interfere in ongoing police operations.

              • okay approved may be too strong.

                “Government ministers, including Police Minister Annette King, asked MPs to remain calm about the issue as a police matter, and wait until details were exposed in the courts.[70] Prime Minister Helen Clark, who was also the minister in charge of the Security Intelligence Service, at first distanced herself from the raids,[71] and refused to comment on SIS involvement.[18] Later, while the case was before the courts, she told media that those arrested “at the very least” had been training with firearms and napalm.[72] National Party leader John Key told media he was briefed by SIS staff days before the raids occurred.”


                “Ms. Clark has avoided blame that she didn’t sign any order to invade but failed to mention briefings from Police before the invasion, that would have taken some political willpower on her behalf to proceed . Although the Police have constabulary independence from government, the fact the New Zealand Police conducted military operations and lay siege to a New Zealand township armed with high-powered assault rifles and didn’t consult the Prime Minister of the day seems far-fetched.

                The 5th Labour government introduced the Terrorism suppression Act 2002 and Prime Minister Helen Clark could have requested Police commissioner Howard Broad use discretion and prosecute under the Arms Act 1983. Instead, Ms. Clark stood by while Police conducted a paranoid anti-terrorism raid that lead New Zealanders to suspect their fellow countrymen of being terrorists.

                Ms. Clark was also the minister of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS ) that would have provided the Prime Minister with intelligence reports on any domestic terrorist threats to national security.”


                • Karen

                  Annette King apologised to Tūhoe for her role in signing off on the raids.

                  Joe Trinder’s analysis of the role of Helen Clark should be seen for what it is – an opinion from someone without any inside knowledge or understanding of parliamentary process.

                  However, I would have liked Helen to also apologise on behalf of her government. Unfortunately it seems to be against her nature to admit mistakes.

                  • yes it seems to be a character flaw – probably helpful though when battling against the patriarchy and gender and sexuality politics she had to battle with to even get to the top.

                  • Anne

                    In Helen’s defence, it appears to be protocol for the appropriate minister to make the apology when a muck-up has occurred. That is why Annette King – police minister at the time – fronted up after the police “mucked up” in the Tuhoi raids.

                    In due course, we can expect the defence minister to apologise to NZers when the International Court of Justice rules against the NZDF for the SAS muck-up – and the killing of innocent Afghan citizens.

                    I don’t recall John Key apologising for anything, but I do have a vague recollection that one or two of his ministers apologised but can’t remember what for…

                    Here’s a relevant piece of info:

                    The Minister of Police at the time of the Urewera raids says she did not know they would be carried out in the manner they were.

                    Labour’s Annette King says the police briefed her as Police Minister, the then Prime Minister Helen Clark and other senior ministers in the days before the raids took place.

                    But she says they were told only that the raids would take place, not how they would happen.

                    Mrs King says she’s sorry illegal actions were taken against the Tuhoe people, especially children.


                    • ropata

                      Key’s “apologies”
                      * Cam Slater for something or other
                      * built a sheep farm in the desert to appease a Saudi businessman,
                      * muttered something to China after the Synlait poisoned milk scandal
                      * a bottle of wine after assaulting a female barista

      • swordfish 3.1.2



        The Foreshore and Seabed legislation was a shameful episode in Labour’s history and I personally know many Māori who will never trust Labour again. It was a betrayal they cannot forgive and I was very disappointed this morning to hear that Helen Clark is still defending it.


        it does seem strange that Māori vote Labour so strongly considering the foreshore and seabed wasn’t all that long ago.


        Perhaps they’ve learnt to forgive and forget maui. After-all it was a different government under different circumstances.

        The Clark government seemed to have been captured by the Public Service establishment of the day, who convinced them all hell would break loose if coastal land were handed back to Maori. It can be seen now for what it was… a very unfortunate over-reaction.


        I hope they haven’t forgotten, Anne, because that legislation needs to be reversed. I (pakeha) stopped voting Labour after the foreshore and seabed fiasco, but realise at this stage that if anything is to done about it it will be done by a Labour/Green government with meaningful Maori representation.

        marty mars

        funny how clark is still crowing about how the decision was the correct one at the time – she must still be captured i spose.



        Lets just be clear about public opinion (incl Māori opinion) at the time …

        UMR Research Poll (December 2004)

        FORESHORE AND SEABED LEGISLATION “Thinking about the Government’s new law on the ownership of the New Zealand foreshore and seabed, which of the following is closest to your view ?”

        (1) It gives Mâori special rights they should not have … 26% … (Mâori 13% … Non-Mâori 27%)

        (2) It deprives Mâori of rights they should have … 9% … (Mâori 34% … Non-Mâori 7%)

        (3) It strikes a balance between the two … 56% … (Mâori 45% … Non-Mâori 57%)

        (4) Unsure … 10% … (Mâori 8% … Non-Mâori 9%)

        Marae-DigiPoll (1002 Maori voters – August 2003))

        (1) Support Government foreshore policy … 49%

        (2) Oppose … 38%

        (3) Unsure … 11%

        (Although 61% unsatisfied with the way the Government had handled the debate)

        One News Colmar Brunton Poll (Maori voters – August 2003)

        Support the public domain concept … 50%

        Support Crown ownership … 30%

        • Karen

          That is interesting Swordfish.

          Is there a breakdown into Māori on the Māori roll and Māori on the General roll? Colmar Brunton doesn’t seem to do this but maybe other polls do? Labour lost 4 of the 7 Māori seats in the 2005 election so there was some strong opposition but obviously it wasn’t universal.

          Most of the Māori I know are on the left so that may make a difference to the feedback I have had.

    • Sel Clarke 3.2

      Marty what planet do you live on? anyone with half a brain can see a renewal of M.Ps going on. Just because the Nats have become tired and devoid of ideas dosent mean the other parties have…..

  4. Wainwright 4

    That’s not how the list works. If they all win their seats it doesn’t matter where their placed on the list, no one else gets displaced. Its like Willie Jackson throwing his toys over getting ranked 21 – if Labour wins all its current seats, he’s really the 4th list MP to get in.

    Hope Meka’s right abbout those caucus rankings. Maori MPs haven’t done very well under Little so far, look at Nanaia getting dropped from 4 to 12 despite all her hard work winning back a lot of those Maori seats. Despite the fact most of Labour’s party vote comes from seats held by Maori and Pasifika MPs.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      So true. This obsession with hierarchy.
      I see it as a team , but the Electoral Commission rules for party lists make it a ladder

      • DoublePlusGood 4.1.1

        Yeah, I wonder if you end up with quite a different dynamic in places with multiseat STV constituencies, like in Ireland.

    • swordfish 4.2


      Despite the fact most of Labour’s party vote comes from seats held by Maori and Pasifika MPs.

      2014 Labour Party Vote

      (1) Total = 604535

      (2) In Maori Seats = 61523 10. 2%

      (3) In Pasifika Seats = 62575 10. 4%
      (Mana 12601 Māngere 18470 Manukau East 16925 Manurewa 14579)

      (4) Maori + Pasifika Seats ((2) + (3)) = 124098 20. 6%

      So …… No

      And I’m not too sure what Pasifika support for Labour has to do with Maori representation or Nanaia’s demotion ?

      • Wainwright 4.2.1

        The Labour Maori and Pasifika caucuses are well-known for working together on campaigns. Look at South Auckland. And you’re right, I shouldn’t have said “most”, it’s imprecise. But you can;t use only one metric. Sute, if you only look at number of party votes, 20.8% of Labour’s PV comes from seats held by Maori/Pasifika Labour MPs, 28.8% from other.

        But … there are more seats held by white MPs – 16 to 11. The average number of party votes for Labour in Maori/Pasifika seats (11.5k) is higher than white MPs’ seats (10.9k). Turnout is way lower in Maori seats, yet when you look at the % of party vote Labour is getting off the Maori role vs general seats it’s 42% to 35%. If you take seats held by Maori/Pasifika MPs vs seats held by Pakeha MPs, it’s 45 to 30%.

        TLDR: Maori and Pasifika MPs pull in a massive proportion of Labour’s party vote and never seem to get much reward for it.Meanwhile MPs like Stuart Nash (26% party vote in Napier) and Damien O’Connor (23.5% party vote in West Coast) get the safety net of the list but Maori MPs just ‘decide’ en masse to go it alone? Nah.

  5. mauī 5

    I don’t know the ins and outs of Māori politics. But it does seem strange that Māori vote Labour so strongly considering the foreshore and seabed wasn’t all that long ago.

    • Anne 5.1

      Perhaps they’ve learnt to forgive and forget maui. After-all it was a different government under different circumstances.

      The Clark government seemed to have been captured by the Public Service establishment of the day, who convinced them all hell would break loose if coastal land were handed back to Maori. It can be seen now for what it was… a very unfortunate over-reaction. I sometimes wonder how much of it might have been an attempt to drive a political (and social) wedge between Maori and Pakeha or Maori and Labour. In politics anything is plausible.

      • JanM 5.1.1

        I hope they haven’t forgotten, Anne, because that legislation needs to be reversed. I (pakeha) stopped voting Labour after the foreshore and seabed fiasco, but realise at this stage that if anything is to done about it it will be done by a Labour/Green government with meaningful Maori representation. I’m back on board, and I have great hope when I look at the high standard of candidates

      • marty mars 5.1.2

        funny how clark is still crowing about how the decision was the correct one at the time – she must still be captured i spose

  6. Jenny Kirk 6

    Kelvin Davis told us recently (at a meeting in Whangarei) that each Maori MP came to their collective decision individually and met to discuss how they were feeling about being both List and Electorate MPs. It was their decision, and was at first met by reluctance from the rest of the Labour Caucus and HO who did not want to accept it . As he said, the Maori MPs want to represent their electorates and their own people – and they feel more comfortable just standing in their own seat, rather than being counted into a List position with one or another being higher or lower than others.
    Kel said he, and the other MPs, are comfortable with their decision, and they hope by doing so – they’ll retain their seats, and other Maori MPs will come in off the List.

    • “rather than being counted into a List position with one or another being higher or lower than others.”

      oh so they don’t like hierarchy?

      This is quoted in the beginning of this post

      “The party list is not how we are ranked in caucus. The caucus list is what matters.

      Current caucus rankings have Davis 7, Mahuta 11, Whaitiri 13, Henare 18, Rurawhe 22 – all 5 in Labour’s shadow cabinet which positions Maori MPs well for cabinet positions.”

      what’s that all about then? because it looks like ranking and hierarchy to me

      maybe kel should check with his teammates eh just to get the story straighter

    • Heather Tanguay 6.2

      Thanks for this concise account Jenny Kirk. The important fact being ‘it was their collective choice’
      All the trouble makers looking for other reasons why this has happened.
      Stop trying to make trouble, put your energy into supporting all candidates to win this thing.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    Although the list does not reflect how the MP’s will be ranked in government, it gives a pretty clear indication of where they will be placed after the election and who is likely to be in the cabinet.

    On the assumption that the new cabinet will have around 10-11 Labour ministers, places will be tight.

    What isn’t clear from the list is where the Maori candidates will be placed. Certainly Willy Jackson can only expect to be on the bank bench at 21, but where will the others be?

    • Karen 7.1

      You seem confused about Cabinet numbers. Currently the Nats have 25 cabinet ministers plus 2 outside cabinet positions for Dunne and Flavell. A Labour/Green coalition will have similar numbers. The list is more about bringing into caucus new talented people and ensuring diversity than indicating future position in the cabinet.

      • Antoine 7.1.1

        The National cabinet is of 20 people (see https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/ministers/ministerial-list). The remaining 5 are outside cabinet.

        I presume EiE was thinking of 10-11 Labour ministers in Cabinet, about 5 from Greens and about 5 from NZ 1st for a total of about 20. Actual outcomes could of course be different.

        Still, it seems hard to believe that caucus rankings 18 and 21 would be in the coalition Cabinet let alone have any significant influence.


      • Enough is Enough 7.1.2

        No Karen – you seem confused about Cabinet numbers. A cabinet is whatever you want it to be but its currently 20. There isn’t really a need for it to be any bigger

        On current polling numbers Labour will probably expect a majority in the cabinet, so that is where 11 came from. The balance will come from NZ First and the Greens.

        As a general rule the cabinet ranking corresponds with the list ranking. That is not set in stone, but if any of the top 11 miss out to someone well below them, there will be some questions asked.

        • Karen

          “As a general rule the cabinet ranking corresponds with the list ranking.”

          This is where you are going wrong. The list serves a different purpose. Currently Kelvin Davis is no.7 and Nanaia Mahuta is no.11. They are not on the list but they will be on Labour’s front bench. As I have explained the list is designed to bring some new faces in who are standing in electorate seats that they cannot possibly win. It is not an indication of the position in any future government.

          Coalition partners are unknown at the moment and they will get ministerial positions – Julie Ann Genter is a shoe in for Transport Minister for example. However not all of those who get Ministerial positions will be in cabinet – Peter Dunne and Te Uroroa Flavell are not in cabinet.

          • Enough is Enough

            Karen – Did you stop reading my first comment after the first word or something?

            So lets start again and try to keep reading this time Dear

            “What isn’t clear from the list is where the Maori candidates will be placed. Certainly Willy Jackson can only expect to be on the bank bench at 21, but where will the others be?”

            That is Kelvin Davis and Nanaia Mahuta I am referring to. tick tick tick

            I am hoping now you are slowly catching on but I won’t hold my breath

            • Karen

              Don’t call me “dear” – you ignorant, sexist, patronising dick.

              I read (past tense) everything you wrote and very patiently questioned some of your assumptions. I certainly won’t be reading anything else you write.

              • Enough is Enough

                The answers to your moronic questions were in my very first comment.

            • Anne

              Certainly Willy Jackson can only expect to be on the bank bench at 21,…

              An MP’s place in the Debating Chamber has no bearing on where they might have been placed on the list. Most new MPs start on the back bench until they have found their feet, but everyone else will be placed courtesy of the party leader who will decide where they will sit.

              • Enough is Enough

                Has “no” bearing

                Are you sure about that?

                I think it has a lot of bearing to be honest.

  8. Antoine 8

    “All 5 in Labour’s shadow cabinet”- What shadow cabinet is that??

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Do you actually not know what the term “shadow cabinet” means?

      • Antoine 8.1.1

        I do. Just didn’t know they had one. I see it now at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Cabinet_of_Andrew_Little.

        It doesn’t seem right though, it has far too many people (31, c.f. National’s cabinet of 20) and no Greens/NZ First representation.


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The current government has well over thirty ministers. Are you ignorant of everything else too?

          • Antoine

            32, but only 20 are in Cabinet.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Do you have some sort of point to make? Something about Labour “doesn’t seem right” to you? I’m sure your concern is really really important to someone.

              Your mother, perhaps.

              • Antoine

                I thought it was fairly clear. When someone says their party has a ‘shadow cabinet’, I expect they have actually published a list saying who they propose to put in each Cabinet position if they get into Government. I thought for a minute that Labour had actually done this (see the list above) which would have been nice, but on second glance I don’t think they have. The so-called ‘shadow cabinet’ I linked to, is more a list of Labour Opposition spokesperson responsibilities.


                • McFlock

                  See, that’s you’re problem right there. You expected Labour to know the outcome of the election well beforehand.

                  What will happen is that the majority party will have its ideal cabinet list, and if it gets well about 50% it will implement that list pretty much as is.

                  But if a coalition is required, there will be haggling for how many and which cabinet positions go to which party. Talk about having to explain the bleeding obvious.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yep, it beggars belief that anyone could be so stupid and ignorant as Antoine. I expect he thinks it’s clever to pretend.

                  • Antoine

                    Right, that’s all fine, but then it’s not a ‘shadow cabinet’. Whaitiri would have been better to use a different term.

                    Here ends the nitpick!

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No, dickhead, the meaning of words doesn’t change just because you don’t understand them.

                    • McFlock

                      Don’t be a moron. Of course it’s a shadow cabinet. At least you could have looked at wikipedia before being a doofus:

                      The Shadow Cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It consists of a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mirror the positions of each individual member of the Cabinet.[1] Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government. It is the Shadow Cabinet’s responsibility to criticise the policies and actions of the government, as well to offer an alternative program.

                    • Antoine

                      [scratches head] You’re right, a shadow cabinet isn’t what I thought it was. Sorry.

                      (But I stand by my view that caucus rankings of 18 and 22 are not, in fact, ‘well positioned for cabinet positions’!)


                    • Antoine

                      Reflecting further, the highest ranked Maori in cabinet may end up being Winston Peters and Metiria Turei

                    • McFlock


                      Are you expecting Labour to have only ten at the Cabinet table?

                    • Bill

                      Just noting that Antoine’s comments read as a genuine attempt to understand something and that the childish school-yard “nyah, nyah, nayh-nayh, nyah” name-calling bullshit from you pair isn’t going down too well.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Funny how Antoine’s frequent little misunderstandings and areas of ignorance demonstrate such clear bias against the Left. Almost as though they’re posted in relentless bad faith or something.

                      That’s my reading of them, anyway 🙄

                    • Antoine

                      @Bill – I don’t mind, they usually give me some good information among the way 😀

                  • Antoine

                    Relatedly, this at Kiwiblog: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/05/nationals_new_candidates.html. I wonder if anyone here will post on the quality of these new candidates? (Hint: not worldshaking)

                    • McFlock

                      lol I don’t need to soil myself with kb to know their list will be full of dropkicks and fuckwits.

        • Akldnut

          Thats an old shadow Cabinet you’re linking to.

        • red-blooded

          Antoine, you seem to believe that the shadow cabinet is shared between various opposition parties. That’s not the case – it’s made up of the relevant spokespeople from the main opposition party (in this case, Labour). This is an established political concept, and operates throughout the parliamentary term. If you’re interested in who’ll be in the next cabinet, you’ll need to wait to see how the votes fall and what arrangements are made between the parties that form the next government.

  9. Btw, there’s a grammar error in the short description on the main page for this article, implying that the Māori MPs aren’t going to stand down from the list. You need to remove the “not” before “standing down” to fix it. 🙂

  10. Karen 10

    A series of tweets from Morgan Godfrey, one of the best Māori commentators as well as being one of the best left wing commentators around.

    Morgan Godfery‏ @MorganGodfery 5m5 minutes ago

    “on @TheHuiNZ this morning i defended labour’s list. why? if labour wins 29% of the party vote, māori will make up nearly 1/3 of the caucus

    “that’s an enormous step forward, both in representation and parliamentary power.

    why aren’t we talking about that?

    whether, say, willow-jean prime is 6 or 16, it doesn’t change the fact this is one of the best contingents of māori to ever enter parliament

    i mentioned kiri allan on the show, but i should’ve given a s/o to meka whaitiri for her tremendous work on the te ture whenua bill as well

    this, as in the list, is one thing labour has right.

    why are we criticising them for optics? that does māori a disservice”

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