- Date published:
9:40 am, August 23rd, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: act, auckland supercity, maori party, Maori seats, national/act government - Tags: Rodney Hide
The issue of Maori seats on the supercity council has inevitably exposed the contradictions inherent in this government. The Maori party wants ’em. ACT won’t agree.
Which way will Key go?
With Hide. Why? Because Hide’s the only willing to hurt the government to get what he wants.
Hide says he’ll resign as minister. It’s unclear if that’s all his portfolios or just local government, either way it would add to the developing shakiness of this government that can’t seem to go a week without someone resigning, under pressure to resign, or under investigation.
What are Sharples and Turia threatening? To have a cry and then get back to giving Maori a government-approved flag for one day a year? I bet Key is shaking in his boots.
Politics is the exercise of power. In this case, the Maori Party have shown themselves unwilling to exercise their power. They can’t because they have thrown in their lot with proving the relationship with National can work. If it fails the Left will be saying ‘we told you so’ and the Maori Party will look like dorks. So, they must make it work no matter the cost. Hide has shown he is willing and able to use his power. So, Hide will get what he wants.
Key’ll probably create the Maori advisory board to the supercouncil, which the Maori Party rejected months ago, as a sop. The Maori Party will not only accept it, they’ll claim it as a great win.
A simple decision for Key. No Maori seats. A win for Hide. Easier with National’s base and the racists in caucus too. No negative consequences for Key. No lost votes – it’s just lefties who want the seats. No punishment from the Maori Party.
On the other hand, ACT have somewhere around 1.5% support and nowhere else to go – can you see them voting with Labour, the Progressives & the Greens because they didn’t get their own way?
I think Key would love to be rid of Hide and his constant egotistical posturing – and as Olwyn said his support base is tiny – bigmouths on the internet don’t count.
Here’s hoping he calls Hide’s bluff.
With ACT at 1%, I think you will find this wont be the only time they throw the rattle out of the play pen. Hide has been sidelined by the Key-English-Joyce troika and ACT s corporate backers want them to get to 5% by next election so they have the balance of power
Rodney Hide is a smart operator. He would not put his credibility and job on the line unless he already knew the answer! Like cleverly “knowing” the correct Lotto numbers, but only on the day after the draw!
Key will look good for managing the caucus, Hide will look good for having principles, and the National constituency will look good because their core belief is confirmed. No Maori seats!
I think it a bit more a conumdrum than you make out for that nice man Mr. Key. Ask yourself why Rodney would have publicly (he must have known his threat would be leaked) threatened to throw his toys over something he would have got anyway by other means?
He is playing an unsubtle power game. It seems clear to me that National put the brakes on Hide when they detected signifcant disquiet in Auckland over his ACToid ambush of the SuperCity. I see the radical reform of the RMA ACT wants has been significantly watered down as well. Hide is feeling his agenda is slipping away from him and he wants to show Key HE is the boss when it comes to his agenda for local government. By making this threat on an issue that National was likely to cave on anyway Hide will come out looking like the winner and looking like when push comes to shove, he will win. As a useful bonus, by “standing up to the Maori'” Hide has sent a clear signal that ACT is a useful home for social and racist looney tunes like Larry Baldock, Bob McCroskie, Michael Lhaws, people Key can currently thumb his nose at because they have no choice but to vote National.
And that is Key’s problem. If he folds, the media meme that Key is a nice guy who everyone can project whatever they wish onto and the left portrayal as ACT being the tail wagging the dog will converge to create a theme of Key being a weak leader. If he fold to Hide, it will play to fears that what we are seeing on the supercity is a naked power grab for the ACT funding base. But if he stands up to Hide, the racist, anti-treaty base of the National Party will not be happy. And if Hide goes one step further down the road and threatens to withdraw supply, then national will be left relying on the Maori Party.
Which brings us to the long term nub of Key’s problem. Will he let Hide set his government agenda or will he take the plunge with the MP? Personally, I would give Hide the boot. Hide is a fool, but he is a dangerous fool. The Maori party, on the other hand, are just fools. Tariana Turia is already pyschologically disinterested in the future of the party she created. She is interested cheifly in feathering her post-parliamentary bed. Sharples is a naive blow hard who seems to be easily persuaded by emotional appeals. Hone is an idiotic political jester. Better these ineffective and easily manipulated Kaupapa than the dangerous ideological warriors of ACT.
Spot on, Tom. Now watch this week for the mother of all obscurantist compromises – announced by Hide and Turia – along with some scraps for the kid-belter chooks (to the tune of “political masterkey” headlines from the headless chooks, of course).
This “racist, anti-Treaty base” of the National Party… where was this supposedly influential majority viewpoint when Doug Graham, for one, was doing his excellent work?
The kind of meathead that can be bothered calling up Lhaws and agreeing with his latest recycled piece of self-aggrandising racism isn’t generally the sort of person who can then be bothered to get off the couch and go to a party meeting, let alone put up signs etc come election time. So they’re not the membership base.
If you mean the voting base, well possibly. But as you say they have Act as a home and until recently NZ First.
I doubt racism will play a role in influencing Key’s decision. Sadly, it will be entirely down to expediency.
Sadly? Yes, because at least racism is a principle, albeit a bad one. If someone has principles then they can potentially be reasoned with. If they simply go with the easy choices then — as Hide has cleverly figured — they’ll always go in the direction in which they’re pushed.
Would National lose votes to ACT if it goes with Maori seats? Yes
Would it lose votes to the Maori Party or the Left if it doesn’t? No
Who really cares anyway? At the end of the day National is still going to be polling at 50+%
I don’t think Key will care either way. The object of the exercise will be to get 50%+ of the vote next election and to do that the Nats will need to stay mainstream.
If Hide spits the dummy, he rids himself of a lot of dead wood, if the Maori Party spits the dummy- so what- he just paints them as unreasonable, but he doesn’t alienate many voters.
I think the problem for Key with the mP spitting the dummy, would be the fact that it would mean Key had kowtowed in the face of Rodney’s little tanty.
That might not play so well in the eyes of the centrists that swung to Nat from Lab, irrespective of what any of them think about the mP or mana whenua seats. Key’s job for 2011 is to hold those votes. If he loses some to ACT from his right flank, that’s less of a worry.
If ACT gets the cold shoulder, and Hide walks from the LGovt spot, and picks up enough votes to look like he’ll easily get himself over the 5% barrier, then Labour’s job is to try and get Key to forswear any potential 2011 coalition with ACT.
Use ACT as a wedge to try and bring back those centrists, make Key publicly choose between ACT and the centre, just like he has to do now over the mana whenua seats.
Labour needs to get him making those choices as often as possible. The more he moves to the centre,and the stronger ACT gets, the more Lab need to make him choose between between scorning ACT and sending those centrists back to Labour.
I doubt the average, disinterested swing voter really cares that much about the Maori seats. If they are employed they probably don’t have a lot of sympathy for single mums either.
They are more likely to be worried about the standard of teachers at their local school and if they can get into hospital when they get sick. That’s where Labour really need to apply the blowtorch.