You can’t mix oil and water

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, February 8th, 2011 - 45 comments
Categories: maori party, national - Tags: ,

I noted with interest National Party pollster David Farrar’s post yesterday that said, in essence: “Key would give the Maori Party leaders a ministerial bauble, a seat in the limo. What would a Labour government offer?” To which the obvious response is that Labour would lift Maori living standards. It illustrates a fundamental divide between the Nats and Labour: the Nats see governing as an end in itself, Labour sees it as a vehicle for change in the real world.

That same divide is what we’re seeing between the Maori Party leadership, who are happy to hongi with Key and sit their arses in the limo, and the Hone-faction, who don’t see being in government and compromising with a right-wing government as worthwhile unless its going to deliver real gains for Maori.

How has the Maori Party got itself in this position?

It’s first mistake was going into government with a party (National) with whom it shares little in common. During the 2005-2008 term, the two parties voted together just 25% of the time (the MP voted with Labour 51% of the time and the Greens 75% – ie. the Maori Party predominately voted to the left of Labour). Even this term, the Maori Party votes with National less than half the time, 45%, and with Labour more, 71%.

Yet, they are voting confidence and supply for the National-led government, which means they support National’s budgets, including things like the GST hike and spending cuts for early childhood education.

As I wrote last year, oil and water don’t mix. The Maori Party and National Party’s ideologies can’t be successfully blended, even if it looked like Key had invented alchemy for a while. Voting for right-wing budgets and disgraces like National’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has inevitably pissed off the Hone-faction, which includes (or, rather, included) a large part of their Parliamentary staffers. These people didn’t go into politics to sell out their beliefs and they’ve rapidly deserted the party over the past two years. The loss of those high quality staffers has seen the Maori Party hand over its media strategy to National, which is why Sharples and Turia’s lines are the same as Key’s.

The situation is very reminiscent of what happened with the Alliance, except that a single political issue (the invasion of Afghanistan) brought the problems to a head. Then, Labour actively supported Jim Anderton and his rump party when his staffers and fellow MPs turned on him. Likewise, the Maori Party leadership have turned to their fellow ministers for help and have become co-opted just as Anderton was.

The result for Labour was bad in the long-run because they killed the Alliance, a potential long-term ally, and got a one-man band in its place that to this day uses Labour support. National thinks it can pull of the same trick but with more positive results by killing off the Hone-faction and getting itself a nice little (2-3 MP) conservative Maori Party rump, which will be tied to it by bounds of loyalty and the fact it is relying on National to supply its media staffers.

But I think National has got that wrong. Unlike the Alliance, which relied on Anderton’s seat as its back-stop and, so, was booted from Parliament entirely when it failed to get over 5% in 2002, each Maori Party MP holds an electorate and Hone holds his very safely. If he stands again, he will be back in. Meanwhile, if Hone-faction members refuse to support Turia, Sharples, and Flavell’s campaigns and run against them as independents or under a new banner then each of them could lose their seats in a three-way race with Labour (Katene is probably going to lose her seat anyway).

The Maori Party is ripping itself apart and the leadership is coming down on the wrong side of the tear. Instead of trying to fix the rip, they have foolishly clung even closer to National. It’s going to be their undoing. But that’s what they get for abandoning their principles and supporting a right-wing government.

45 comments on “You can’t mix oil and water”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Interview on 9 to Noon this morning with Derek Fox I think it was? He said that on Saturday at Waitangi, Hone had already told him that it was “irreconcilable”. I think they’re all just going through the motions at this point.

    He also said the leadership were behaving like children and that it was embarrassing.

    captcha: oils

    • Bright Red 1.1

      worth remembering that Derek Fox was the Maori Party’s head spin doctor last term and their candidate in 2008 in Ikaroa-Rrawhiti

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “It’s first mistake was going into government with a party (National) with whom it shares little in common.”

    This is exactly why they should go into coalition with National, especially since they weren’t essential to National anyway. At least in a relationship with National they have the opportunity for influence which they otherwise would not have had.

    If Labour had been in power, I am sure the MP would have gone with Labour. However, they may have not had much effect since Labour policies would probably be favourable to Maori anyway. This may have meant the MP looked irrelevant, which is not the case with its relationship with National.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1

      How many MP voters have you spoken to lately? Did they support GST increases, partial privitization, 3 strikes legislation?

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      “This may have meant the MP looked irrelevant, which is not the case with its relationship with National.”

      Um, what? The MP has had no impact on GST rise, tax cuts for the rich, ETS or 3 strikes legislation. All they’ve gotten is a promise to replace Foreshore and Seabed with something functionally identical and a constitutional review.

      They’ve failed to make any real difference to policies that most negative affect the average Maori. Look pretty irrelevant to me – they wouldn’t have achieved much less in opposition.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    This may have meant the MP looked irrelevant, which is not the case with its relationship with National.

    Which constituency does the MP look most relevant to at the moment?

    • tsmithfield 3.1

      Given that they have achieved things for Maori they wouldn’t have otherwise, I’d say very relevant.

      Personally, I think if any party is offered a gratis deal with the governing party, they’d be fools not to take it.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        They made some gains (mostly for the Iwi Leaders) but they lost a hell of a lot more. Overall, I’d say that the Maori Party has made things worse off for Maori.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.2

        But which constituency does the MP look most relevant to at the moment? You didn’t answer that question other than to say they look relevant. To whom? is my question.

        What if that gratis deal ends up causing the small party to slowly but surely disintegrate before the next election due to incongruencies in values and principles? What if all the small party accomplishes is giving political cover to the big party’s actions? Still worth the 30 pieces of silver IYO?

        As another example, just watch Nick Clegg’s outfit over the next year.

        • tsmithfield 3.1.2.1

          They’ve got their own rebel MP in the same way Labour has had Chris Carter. So, its not particularly unusual.

          At least under the current scenario, the MP has been in a much stronger position of influence when it came to the Government making decisions affecting Maori. Things could have been worse for Maori had the MP not been in a relationship with National.

          So would Maori have been better off if the Maori Party had declined National’s offer? You need to be able to make that case before you can say that it was bad for the MP to go into coalition with National.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.2.1.1

            So would Maori have been better off if the Maori Party had declined National’s offer? You need to be able to make that case before you can say that it was bad for the MP to go into coalition with National.

            I’ll make the case by saying this: if the Mp self destruct because of internal tensions greatly exacerbated by being with National, Maori aspirations for an independent political party making a difference to their people will be significantly set back.

            That is not going to be good for either the short term, or long term prospects for ordinary Maori. (Although I am sure that Labour will attempt to pick up the slack pretty rapidly).

            BTW I still don’t know who the Mp is most relevant to at the moment. WHO???

            • tsmithfield 3.1.2.1.1.1

              “I’ll make the case by saying this: if the Mp self destruct because of internal tensions greatly exacerbated by being with National, Maori aspirations for an independent political party making a difference to their people will be significantly set back.”

              This sounds like circular reasoning to me.

              I think that Maori who are willing to look at the situation objectively will see that the MP is very relevant to them.

              • Pascal's bookie

                At least under the current scenario, the MP has been in a much stronger position of influence when it came to the Government making decisions affecting Maori. Things could have been worse for Maori had the MP not been in a relationship with National.

                Guy comes into your pub. A business man. Of sorts.

                Offers you a deal. There isn’t much in it for you. Except for, shall we say, opportunity losses. If you don’t go into the deal, things will happen to your pub that going into the deal will prevent from happening. It is, if you like, and in a sense, a deal you cannot refuse.

                One cost of the deal is that you lose patronage. Maybe a lot of patronage. People that like your pub, don’t like your business partner. But what can you do? If you hadn’t gone into the deal, your patrons would be even worse off, you cry.

                Good luck with that.

                Also, and too;

                The business man?

                Arsehole.

                • tsmithfield

                  You’ve given an analogy. However, you haven’t applied it to the current situation.
                  That is, you haven’t demonstrated that Maori are worse off. All you have done is given an analogy that could apply if they were worse off.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Further to that comment, it seems you have engaged in the same sort of reasoning loop as CV. Here is a better analogy:

                    A large family benefits from the income from a family-owned business. The business enters into a strategic relationship with another company to improve the income for the whole family. Some members agitate because they don’t like the strategic relationship due to the fact they have a personal dislike toward the other company. In the end they undermine the business relationship and destroy the company. The whole family is worse off as a result of the actions of a few.

                    Who’s fault was it that the family is worse off? When you’ve answered that question you will have gained understanding grasshopper.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      You keep saying there is a logic loop, but you don’t point out where.

                    • Kaplan

                      If the only negative reasoning was that “Some members agitate because they don’t like the strategic relationship due to the fact they have a personal dislike toward the other company” your post may be half way reasonable.

                      In reality the reason Maori don’t like the nat’s is not ‘personal dislike’ but the certain knowledge that their lives will be worse off when the nat’s are in power.

                      So if in your post you said ‘Some members agitate because they don’t like the strategic relationship due to the fact the strategic-partner wants to implement strict budget cuts, change the mission statement of the family company and consume some of the current inventory themselves’ It would make more sense.

                      That small point makes a massive difference to your ‘anaolgy’

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Call it a metaphor then. Possibly a parable even. Or a fable, though without aesop’s stupid animals.

                    In any case, it applies itself. It is, as they say, what it is.

                    Things could have been worse for Maori had the MP not been in a relationship with National.

                    • tsmithfield

                      The reasoning is circular because the harm to Maori is being done by Maori, not by its relationship with National as CV and you are making out. It is, afterall, the radical fringe of Maori who are making a big deal out of this.

                      If the concern is the destruction of the MP harming Maori, then the cure is for the radical fringe of Maori to stop agitating against the MP. Simple.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It is, afterall, the radical fringe of Maori who are making a big deal out of this.

                      If the concern is the destruction of the MP harming Maori, then the cure is for the radical fringe of Maori to stop agitating against the MP. Simple.

                      Remember, Turia and Sharples are the Douglas and Prebble of the Mp.

                      You may find that the ‘radical fringe’ as you term them, are actually a very numerous number indeed.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      The reasoning is circular because the harm to Maori is being done by Maori, not by its relationship with National as CV and you are making out. It is, afterall, the radical fringe of Maori who are making a big deal out of this.

                      I’ve read this a few times now, and must confess that I still don’t get what you are saying. I suspect we are talking at cross purposes.

                      On the radical fringe business, I’m not at all sure of your thinking. It looks like, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like your reasoning goes something like:

                      Hone is a radical.
                      Hone says x
                      Therefore people who agree with x are radical.

                      That looks much more circular to me, in that it begs the question of what ‘radical’ is.

                      If Hone is radical it’s not by virtue of who he is, but rather by virtue of his positions. Now, what we know for a fact, is that Hone won an electorate in a FPP ballot. That to me is fairly strong evidence that his views are not in fact radical for his electorate. I don’t know what the National party candidate got in that election, but I am confident in saying that the nat candidate’s supporters are further from the median than Hone’s.

                      Given overall voting patterns over a long period of time, it would seem to me that National party support from Maori is not a mainstream position.

                • just saying

                  Interesting perspective PB, especially in light of the comparison to the situation with the Alliance Party.

                  But I think the MP were right to go with National, and believe that they intended to eventually end the relationship with net gains for Maoridom as a whole. There seemed to be real potential for gains to far exceed the dead rats that would have to be swallowed as part of the deal. It doesn’t seem from the outside that it wasn’t feasible. How did it become a choice between worse or worser? How were they able to adopt the NACT mindset wholesale? because I believe that whatever pre-existing conservative tendencies the individual parliamentarians had before they got into bed have become magnified to a shocking degree by the process of “cuddling up”.

                  Anderton was to the right of the Alliance Party on many issues, hell he was to the right of Labour on many social issues. Maybe this is how it works. Appeal to pre-existing right wing tendencies, throw them a bone and reward like crazy. Then, many disappointments down the track, make it clear that if they ask for anything else the bone will be confiscated and all they will have left is those dead rats to take back to their constituents.

                  • tsmithfield

                    You are quite right that the MP did the right thing going into coalition iwht National, Just Saying. I disagree that they have nothing to show for it.

                    The MP were on a hiding to nothing on this one. Had they not gone into coalition with National, and National had adopted extreme policies that the MP could have otherwise influenced, then the MP would have been criticised for not going into coalition for National.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      then the MP would have been criticised for not going into coalition for National.

                      Yes, perhaps they would have been criticised for that. But certainly not for compromising their political values and core party supporters for 30 pieces of National silver.

                      Interesting you bring up this hypothetical when the Mp wrecking itself from the inside out is the outcome in reality we are witnessing.

                  • tsmithfield

                    “In reality the reason Maori don’t like the nat’s is not ‘personal dislike’ but the certain knowledge that their lives will be worse off when the nat’s are in power”

                    Disagree entirely. In fact some of the greatest progress for Maori has been under the Nats. Doug Graham for instance.

                    Anyway, even if I accept what you say, you still can’t counter the proposition that things might have been worse for Maori without the Maori party in coalition with the Nats.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Anyway, even if I accept what you say, you still can’t counter the proposition that things might have been worse for Maori without the Maori party in coalition with the Nats.

                      Because none of us have time machines mate. Things might have been worse. Or they might have been better.

                      But what we do see now is the outcome in reality being played out: the Mp wrecking itself from the inside out.

                      I just thought that almost happened with National’s other coalition partner too.

                      Perhaps Key is really a Sith Lord.

                  • tsmithfield

                    CV “Remember, Turia and Sharples are the Douglas and Prebble of the Mp.
                    You may find that the ‘radical fringe’ as you term them, are actually a very numerous number indeed.”

                    You still haven’t addressed the logical error in your earlier post on this matter where you made the case that Maori were worse of due to the MP going with National by saying:

                    I’ll make the case by saying this: if the Mp self destruct because of internal tensions greatly exacerbated by being with National, Maori aspirations for an independent political party making a difference to their people will be significantly set back.

                    You need to demonstrate on balance that Maori are worse off due to the relationship between the MP and National, and not due to the external agitating from Maori who don’t like the relationshiop.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      In what sense are Hone and his supporters ‘external’? Few did more than him in setting up the mP.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Meh. Doesn’t change my point though.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You need to demonstrate on balance that Maori are worse off due to the relationship between the MP and National, and not due to the external agitating from Maori who don’t like the relationshiop.

                      This is total shite. Here’s why.

                      1) You try and disconnect the Mp/NAT relationship on one side from “external agitation” from those who don’t like the relationship.

                      Well, not only has PB has pointed out that Hone and his Maori Party member supporters are not what you can call “external”, but their “agitation” is about where the relationship between the Mp and National has taken Sharples and Turia. There is no divider there.

                      2) Your “worse off” standard is the wrong standard. In order make the action of going with National credible and especially to offset inevitable compromises with a Right wing party, the Mp needed to come out much better off from their relationship. Since the Mp is currently in the process of wrecking itself from the inside out, I would argue that this is NOT the case.

                    • Joanne

                      Are Maori worse off objectively? I think so, I think all Kiwis are worse off, but Maori and Pasifika citizens are worser off than me, a Pakeha. The Seabed and foreshore replacement is virtually the same = no gain for Maori although the MP can claim a victory because they only promised to get the SBFS act repealed. The tax cuts had virtually no effect on me, earning about 44,000, let alone our Maori and Pasifica peoples who are over represented in the lowest income groups. Ironically, or maybe not, the GST rise impacted greatly on the poor, hugely Maori and Pasifika, though not totally, much more than it did or could impact the wealthy.
                      Wages have fallen, for the poor if not the wealthy, and costs have increased hugely.
                      I could go on but think about it, a nonsense change in name of an unpopular law for total destruction of our social infrastructure, all vote f or by the MP.
                      Yes the Maori People are definitely worse off because the MP went into coalition with Natrional

                  • tsmithfield

                    Pascal: “On the radical fringe business, I’m not at all sure of your thinking. It looks like, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like your reasoning goes something like: Hone is a radical. Hone says x. Therefore people who agree with x are radical.”

                    I’m would certainly think that by the common definitions of “radical” that Hone would fit the bill. Also, those who align with his views would also be considered radical.

                    It all depends on whether you accept that Hone meets the definition of “radical” or not. If that is accepted then the rest follows. BTW, being radical isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Wait. Who considers Hone a “radical”? Pakeha?

                      I’m actually more interested in whether or not Maori, whanau, hapu, iwi consider Hone a “radical”. That to me is the true test. Waddya reckon?

                    • KJT

                      Maori mostly appear to consider Hone Mainstream.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That’s what I guessed.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      It all depends on whether you accept that Hone meets the definition of “radical” or not. If that is accepted then the rest follows.

                      Well yeah, that’s what ‘begging the question’ means. You can’t demonstrate that he is a radical by assuming it at the outset. This would be, ‘circular reasoning’.

                      A logic loop, if you like.

                    • tsmithfield

                      CV “1) You try and disconnect the Mp/NAT relationship on one side from “external agitation” from those who don’t like the relationship. Well, not only has PB has pointed out that Hone and his Maori Party member supporters are not what you can call “external”, but their “agitation” is about where the relationship between the Mp and National has taken Sharples and Turia. There is no divider there.”

                      If the Maori party being wrecked is bad for Maori, then you need to blame the wreckers. Its that simple. We’re almost at the election now. Those who don’t like the current situation could simply wait another few months and argue for changes at that point.

                      CV “2) Your “worse off” standard is the wrong standard. In order make the action of going with National credible and especially to offset inevitable compromises with a Right wing party, the Mp needed to come out much better off from their relationship. Since the Mp is currently in the process of wrecking itself from the inside out, I would argue that this is NOT the case.”

                      I would agree with you if the Maori Party was keeping the Nats in power by forming a relationship with them. However, this is not the case. Therefore, I argue that simply being in the position to exert influence is of itself of value. The MP often vote against policies they don’t like, and are in a good position to state their case when they feel policies are not good for Maori.

                      Anyway, it is a big assumption that the Maori Party is about to implode. From what I heard on the news, it sounds like Hone is getting all kissy kissy with his fellow MP’s again.

                      Pascal “Well yeah, that’s what ‘begging the question’ means. You can’t demonstrate that he is a radical by assuming it at the outset. This would be, ‘circular reasoning’.”

                      Ever heard of axioms? In the end all knowledge ends up as begging the question. If Hone meets the definition of “radical” then that is a legitimate starting point. Radical in its purest form, simply means going back to the root of something. I think Hone would probably agree that his views align with the root of Maori beliefs, so I think the description is fair. Like I said, the rest then follows.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      If the Maori party being wrecked is bad for Maori, then you need to blame the wreckers. Its that simple.

                      Blame a significant movement of Mp members for standing up to Turia and Sharples, is that what you mean? No need to wait until elections, party leaders can be held accountable at any time in an electoral cycle.

                      The MP often vote against policies they don’t like, and are in a good position to state their case when they feel policies are not good for Maori.

                      If this was actually happening as you said, Sharples and Turia would have no worries.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      If the Maori party being wrecked is bad for Maori, then you need to blame the and wreckers.

                      The haters too, I suppose.

                      And sure, I’ve heard of axioms. But so what? Your claim is that Hone is a fringe radical. You can’t demonstrate that by assuming it. Especially when he won a fpp election to get his seat. It is axiomatic, if you like, that he is not on the fringe.

              • pollywog

                I think that Maori who are willing to look at the situation objectively will see that the MP is very relevant to them.

                …and the bulk of Maori who view things subjectively will see that their vote for the MP last time was wasted.

                The ‘much hated’ Foreshore and Seabed Act hasn’t been repealed and the much vaunted Whanau Ora is still but a pipe dream…

                …neither look like being resolved or actioned before the coming election, unless there’s some gamesmanship involved to offer them up as election bribes closer to polling day

                From my perspective its a case of fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me…

      • Arthur 3.1.3

        Personally, I think if any party is offered a gratis deal with the governing party, they’d be fools not to take it.

        Yes some people will be quite happy to sell their grandmothers soul to the devil, for the price of a few extra sheckles due to some timely back scratching, and blind hopes of chance to follow the elusive dream of looking famous.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    They were right to go with National. It’s the way they’ve handled the relationship since that’s been the problem.

    The deal is confidence and supply. Not confidence and smooching. The way Sharples keeps trying to be Key’s PR man is just embarrassing.

    He used to be preach a very different message: just read these Listener articles, back when the Maori Party was shiny and new. Those comments about Labour’s Maori MPs are exactly what Hone is saying about Sharples and Turia today. Irony overload!

    http://www.listener.co.nz/issue/3391/3914.html

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Thanks. Sharples quoted in the article:

      “What I really like doing is working with the people creating possibilities. I never, ever thought about Parliament. I thought, nah, show me one thing they’ve done that’s been useful to our people.

      😀

  5. ak 5

    So the picture we have painted in the right-wing media narrative is of two warriors with “irreconciliable” differences.

    But snippets and facts indicate something wrong with this picture:

    Both Hone and Pita are men of experience, mana, and shared core motivation;
    Both have “left the door open” and expressed a wish to “sit down and sort this out”;
    Both know that this raruraru is eating the mana of each other, the party and all Maoridom
    Both know that the Maori Party holding a balance is the greatest hope for Maori in a century

    Maybe the picture is wrong.

    Maybe the painter is the artist formally known as NACT

    Maybe the painters’ motivations are as transparent as they venal.

    Maybe Hone, Pita and the mana of 150 years struggle are big enough to step out of the corner they have been cunningly, via two years of painstaking daubs and touches, painted into.

  6. Arthur 6

    ak Both Hone and Pita are men of experience, mana, and shared core motivation;
    Both have “left the door open” and expressed a wish to “sit down and sort this out”;
    Both know that this raruraru is eating the mana of each other, the party and all Maoridom
    Both know that the Maori Party holding a balance is the greatest hope for Maori in a century

    Yeah sure the Maori party already proved how they are quite happy to jump into bed at the flip of the dice with Key and the National Party.So yes of course they with also quite happily leave a door open for Hone .For its got everything to do with politics and positional power play.

    Muna?.What mana?.

    Much of the muna of this countries been long gone.We have spend so much of our years continually fighting and squabbling between Maori and Pakeha.It cost the country mega some of which needs to be borrowed,while the economy is a mess and kiwi folk both Maori and Pakeha end up having to move off overseas to Australia or somewhere else to make a living.We have kiwis selling up and moving out,outhers from elswhere buying up and moving in.

    Where about is the mana of this country.Yes we should be world leaders and a country with lots of mana,but we still stuck with looking far more like losers

    [lprent: Replaced the eye searing bold quoting with italic. Moderators do the shouting around here. ]

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