Party prospects

What are party prospects leading up to next year’s election? It’s a long time in politics until we vote again so there’s many things that could affect the overall outcome and the outcome for individual parties.

Has Been and Never Been

The 5% threshold is making it pretty much impossible for a small or new party to get into Parliament on party vote. This is by design by the large parties, successfully keeping small parties shut out.

Mana Party

Mana took a punt on Kim Dotcom’s big money last election and crashed badly, losing their only electorate and failing to attract combined party vote. Hone Harawira seems to have disappeared from public view, and the Mana Party website seems to have also disappeared. Their chances of revival look unlikely, and their chances of success again are also unlikely.

Internet Party

The Internet Party had large funds and little credibility last election. Dotcom acknowledged afterwards that he was politically toxic. Without his money and presence and media pulling power the party continues – their website remains – but is ignored and will find it difficult to get anywhere, which is a shame because they had some interesting ideas on inclusive democracy.

Conservative Party

With heaps of money and media attention last election Colin Craig and his Conservatives could only manage about 4%. After last year’s major upheaval it’s unlikely they will get half that next time. Craig is severely damaged politically and socially and would struggle to lead the Conservatives to 2% next time. There is no obvious alternative leader.

The Strugglers

UnitedFuture

As a party UnitedFuture has faded just about completely. It is still operating but without a major input of money and new personal I don’t see any change. The only option for UF is for outsiders to see an opportunity to use an existing party to get a foothold in Parliament rather than start from scratch, but even then success would be dependent on Peter Dunne  retaining his Ohariu electorate. I think Dunne must be close to considering retiring, and if he does UF will retire or expire.

ACT Party

ACT have defied critics and survived the Don Brash and John Banks disasters due to the success of one person, David Seymour. I think Seymour is odds on to retain Epsom next year (deservedly) so ACT is likely to survive. National and possibly Conservative vote must be up for grabs, but it will depend on ACT coming up with additional electable candidates to make an increased party vote attractive. Jamie Whyte didn’t work out, but with Seymour anchoring the party they may attract strong candidates who would then stand a good chance of success through an improved party vote.

Maori Party

The Maori Party continue to be quiet achievers. They should be able to retain at Te Ururoa Flavell’s electorate seats and their first list MP Marama Fox has made a quick impact. They stand a chance of picking up ex Mana Maori votes so have some chance of getting more seats via their list. Further electorate prospects will depend on candidate quality. The Maori Party could also be impacted negatively by a Labour resurgence if that ever happens.

The Over Threshold Parties

New Zealand First

It’s difficult to predict NZ First’s future. It is very dependant on Winston Peters. He had a major success early last year by winning the Northland buy election but hasn’t dome much since then. He could just be pacing himself, rebuilding energy and drive for next year’s election campaign. Or he could be running out of puff – that’s been predicted before but so far he has managed to keep coming back.

Installing Ron Mark as deputy could be a problem for NZ First. The rest of the party has been generally out if sight, but Mark is an ambitious attention seeker, and the attention he gets is often uncomplimentary. He could deter voters.

But if Winston remains NZ First should remain after next year’s election. Peters may or may not retain Northland, but the party should be good for 5-10% party vote if he is still in the race.

Green Party

The Green Party have successfully weathered another leadership change. They had built their vote and presence but were disappointed to not gain ground last election despite Labour’s vote shrinking. Greens are assured of retaining a place in Parliament but may find it challenging to increase or even retain their current numbers if Labour recovers and increases their vote. And Greens need Labour to improve substantially to give them a chance of having their first stint in Government.

Greens should be able to stay above 10% but may be cemented as a good sized small party rather than becoming the growing force they have ambitions of being.

Labour Party

Labour have to improve their support significantly or it will either be difficult for them to get back into Government or it will be difficult for them to govern with Greens and NZ First pulling them in different directions, possible apart.

It would be unlikely for Labour to switch leaders yet again, that would be damaging, so they need Andrew Little to step up. That hasn’t happened yet. They are playing a risky strategy of keeping a low profile while they consult constituencies and rebuild policies. They really have to be looking like a possible alternate Government by the middle of this year. They need to somehow get back 5-10% support.

They are banking on Little growing into his leadership role. He can only be a contrast to John Key, but so far he looks more out of his depth rather than swimming competitively on the surface.

Labour are also banking on their ‘Future of Work’ policy development. It’s a good focus for a labour allied party, but a lot will depend on whether it results in something seen to be visionary or if it is perceived as a Union policy disguised by Grant Robertson.

Labour could get anywhere between 25% and 40% next election. It’s hard to tell what direction they will go at this stage.

National Party

National have been very successful since they won in 2008. They have increased their support since then, most parties in power bleed support. This partly to do with John Key’s continued popularity, and increasingly by Bill English’s capable management of finances in sometimes very difficult circumstances (GFC and Christchurch earthquake).

National’s support must fall at some stage but it’s difficult to judge when that might start happening. Left wing activists have been predicting it in vain for seven years. Much will  depend on whether Labour can step up as a viable alternative alongside Greens and probably NZ First.

Next election could see them get anywhere between 40% and 50%. Their political fate is in their own hands to an extent but also reliant on possible alternatives.

Maori Party versus Labour reshuffle

There has been accusations for a long time that the Labour Party claim ownership of a majority Maori vote but don’t pay that back with adequate positions of influence.

And there are arguments about whether Maori MPs in Labour measure up in ability and work ethic against their non-Maori colleagues.

The Maori Party split from Labour in 2004 to give the Maori vote more political voice and power.

Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell has given some of his voice to how Maori have fared in Labour’s reshuffle.

Claire Trevett in Maori Party weigh in on Labour’s reshuffle

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has weighed into the debate over Labour’s reshuffle, saying Andrew Little’s treatment of the Maori MPs and description of Ratana celebrations as “a bit of a beauty parade” treated Maori with disdain.

Mr Flavell said despite all the “noise” about the promotion of Kelvin Davis, Mr Davis had only moved up one place, the highest ranked Maori was now at seven instead of four, three of the seven Maori MPs were in the bottom ten, and Adrian Rurawhe was only one spot above Phil Goff, who will leave Parliament if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

“It seems to me that Labour are happy to pocket Maori votes at election time but once they’re in Parliament they seem to be put in their place.”

A common complaint aimed at Labour.

Mr Flavell said Mr Little’s description of the annual pilgrimage of politicians to Ratana as “a bit of a beauty parade” was an indication of Mr Little’s attitude toward Maori.

“On the face of it it’s pretty demeaning. It shows how little he values tikanga Maori and in particular the historical political alliance between Ratana and Labour.

But a Labour MP backs up his leader:

However, Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe, who is the great grandson of TW Ratana, backed up his leader, saying it was true that the politicians’ day was “a bit of a showpiece” and more constructive discussion happened outside that day.

“I think he’s incredibly honest and it is a bit of a showpiece for Ratana and for the politicians.

Rurawhe was ranked 31 out of 32 by Little so needs to do a lot to be seen as valued in Labour. Like praise his leader.

He is one of four Maori MPs in the bottom six in Labour’s new pecking order, The other two are Phil Goff who has signalledintent to resign next year and David Cunliffe who seems to have been given the message to leave the Labour ship.

Labour’s Maori MPs and their Trans-Tasman ratings for 2015:

7. Kelvin Davis – 6
Is getting the hang of how to use the media and register some hits. Gets up the PM’s nose, and has a social conscience. Did he pick the right cause re deportation of criminals from Aust? Is ready to be thrown into the attack and relishing it.

12. Nanai Mahuta – 4
An enigma. Many would say she does nothing, others would say she plays a vital role in helping Labour hold on to Maori support.

20. Meka Whatiri – 3
Has been making a bit more noise on water issues, but must cut through the chatter.

22. Peeni Henare – 3
Has the political pedigree and is a worker behind the scenes, but needs more public wins and so far hasn’t stepped up with anything memorable.

27. Rino Tirikatene – 2
Another MP going nowhere fast. No prospect of advancement. Should look to his future.

29. Poto Williams – 4
Labour internal party politics hurts her. Is preferred local Labour MP for businesses wanting a serious conversation.

30. Louisa Hareruia Wall – 4.5
Has been stymied from shining due to factional politics. Is progressive and works well on cross party issues. Still has potential.

31. Adrian Rurawhe – 3.5
Makes a contribution to the committee stages of Bills – serving his apprenticeship.

So apart from Davis Trans-Tasman rate the Labour MPs differently to Andrew Little. It would be interesting to see them rated from a Maori persepctive.

It’s worth noting that aspiring Maori politicians also stand for parties other than Labour and the Maori Party.

Winston Peters leads NZ First (who have 3 other Maori MPs).

Metiria Turei co-leads the Green Party (two other Maori MPs and the Greens strongly promote Maori issues).

National’s top ranked Maori MPs:

5. Paula Bennett – rated as a future prospect for National leader

10. Hekia Parata

Proposed RMA reforms

The National Government have wanted to make significant changes to the Resource Management Act, in part to streamline and speed up RMA applications for developments.

In particular they want to make it easier to make land for subdivisions more readily available in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand where there are housing shortages and rampant proprty inflation.

At the beginning of their third term National had two problems, United Future leader Peter Dunne and National MP Mike Sabin.

Because of their slim majority in Parliament National needed Dunne’s vote and Dunne didn’t want to budge on core environmental protections in the RMA. Then Sabin suddenly resigned, just after the election. And then National lost Sabin’s Northland electorate in a by election, cutting their majority by one.

So now National had two problems – Peter Dunne still, and also the Maori Party because National need both  their votes plus Dunne’s to pass RMA reform. And the Maori Party have also insisted on retaining the core environmental protections that are a feature of the RMA.

I think it is important, like Dunne and the Maori Party, to retain strong environmental protections in the RMA, and reform the Act’s processes to speed things up, and to standardise more across the country.

National have had to put their pragmatism hats on and have negotiated with the Maori Party to get a promise of their vote to get the RMA amendment bill at least to the committee stages.

The Goverment’s announcement Resource legislation introduced to Parliament:

The Government introduced to Parliament today its substantive Bill overhauling the Resource Management Act (RMA) to support business growth and housing development while also ensuring more effective environmental management, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith has announced.

“This Bill is about reducing the bureaucracy that gets in the way of creating jobs, building houses, and good environmental management. It provides for greater national consistency, more responsive planning, simplified consenting and better alignment with other laws,” Dr Smith says.

The 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill comprises 40 changes contained in 235 clauses and eight schedules. It makes changes to the Resource Management Act 1991, the Reserves Act 1977, the Public Works Act 1981, the Conservation Act 1987, the Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011, and the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

“The Bill addresses the significant problems with the cumbersome planning processes of the Resource Management Act highlighted in recent reports by the OECD, Local Government New Zealand, the Rules Reduction Taskforce and the Productivity Commission. Standard planning templates will be introduced so we don’t have every council reinventing the wheel and having dozens of different ways of measuring the height of a building. Plan-making, which currently take six years, will be sped up and made more flexible. A new collaborative planning process will encourage different interests to work with councils on finding solutions to local resource problems,” Dr Smith says.

“The Bill simplifies the consenting process. It narrows the parties that must be consulted to those directly affected – meaning a homeowner extending a deck only has to consult the affected neighbour. Councils will have discretion to not require resource consent for minor issues. A new 10-day fast-track consent will be available for simple issues. Councils will be required to have fixed fees for standard consents so that homeowners have certainty over costs. Consents will no longer be required for activities that are already properly regulated by other Acts. These measures will reduce the number of consents required each year by thousands.

“This Bill will deliver improved environmental management. It will enable national regulations that require stock like dairy cows to be fenced out of rivers and lakes, with instant fines for breaches. It strengthens the requirements for managing natural hazards like earthquakes and sea level rise from climate change. It requires decommissioning plans for offshore oil and gas rigs. It will improve the transparency of New Zealand’s clean, green brand by ensuring consistency in council environmental reporting on issues like air and water quality.

“The Bill contains dozens of provisions that will improve the process of resource management decisions. There will be millions of dollars in savings from simpler, plain language public notices that enable the detailed information on plans and consents to be accessed on the web. The Bill recognises email communications and online filing. It also encourages early dispute resolution on cases appealed to the Environment Court.”

The introduction of this Bill has the support of the Māori Party after intensive discussions over several months. Some reform proposals, including changes to sections six and seven, are not in the Bill. The proposals consulted on publicly in 2013 on improved Māori participation in resource management have been included in response to the Māori Party’s strong advocacy. Discussions between the National and Māori Parties will continue in response to public submissions and debate as the Bill progresses through Parliament. National will also be seeking the support of other parties in Parliament, noting that all but the Greens have publicly stated that they recognise the need for reform.

“This is a moderate reform Bill that will reduce the cost and delays for homeowners and businesses, as well as improve New Zealand’s planning and environmental controls. I thank the Māori Party for their support that will enable this large and complex Bill to pass its first reading and be referred to select committee. We look forward to hearing public submissions on the detail so we can deliver on our shared objective of reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, while ensuring we have good systems to protect the environment,” Dr Smith concluded.

Related Documents

Radio NZ – Govt gets Maori Party backing for RMA amendment bill

A compromise on new resource management legislation is necessary for the government to progress a significant overhaul of the current law, the Environment Minister says.

The Maori Party has agreed to back proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) through to the select committee stage, finally giving the government the numbers to progress long-awaited legislative changes.

Afterwards, the party said it would continue to work with the government in good faith.

The Maori Party said iwi were not looking to introduce more barriers to development or planning, but wanted to be involved from the outset to avoid problems later down the track.

The party’s co-leader Marama Fox gave the example of the Whaitua project in the Wairarapa.

“The Ruamahanga River has suffered… so iwi were consulted after the fact, and then that consultation was ignored about the use of the water and the local council’s decisions about the use of that water. They now have come at great length to an agreement to clean up that river with regional council.

“But if they’d been included in the planning at the beginning we could have avoided the level of deterioration in that river right now, and the involvement of the iwi at the beginning could have ensured a better planning process going forward.”

Yesterday Peter Dunne reiterated his position:

DunneRMA

Labour response: RMA changes must protect the environment

RMA changes must protect the environment

A Government bill to reform the RMA must not be used as a chance to tinker with its key role of protecting the environment, says Labour’s Environmental spokesperson Megan Woods.

“We will have to look at the proposed changes carefully as there are 200 pages in this Bill. We will be watching to make sure there is a decent chance for people to have their say through the select committee stage over what will clearly be a complex piece of legislation.

“The RMA is New Zealand’s core environmental protection and those protections must remain. That is our bottom line.

“Our offer to work together on sensible reforms is still on the table. This offer stands.

“We will be concerned at any changes around appeals to the Environment Court or any undermining of case law around the environment.

“We will be looking to see if the Bill elevates private property rights above wider community interests.

“This new Bill must meet these environmental bottom lines. We will be looking carefully at the Government’s intentions,” says Megan Woods.

Also from Labour: RMA changes skim surface for Maori participation

Protecting the environment and getting the right balance for sustainable development will be a core test of the proposed RMA changes, says Labour’s Maori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.

Related coverage:

Green Party response: RMA changes must not risk what we hold dear

Proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) appear on first reading to be a boon for seabed miners and property developers, the Green Party said today.

The National Government today released a new Bill which proposes changes to the RMA, laws governing conservation lands, and the Exclusive Economic Zone.

“The Government has repeatedly attacked the RMA to weaken its environmental protection, reduce public participation, and fast track high impact development. The more than 200 proposed changes in the Bill need to be carefully scrutinised to ensure New Zealand’s natural environment and sustainable urban development are not compromised for short-term financial gains,” said Green Party Environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Bill appears to significantly increase the Minister’s powers at the expense of local councils and to further politicise environmental decision making by having the Minister, rather than the Environmental Protection Agency, appoint hearing panels for developments in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” she said.

“The Bill risks having a chilling effect on councils’ ability to regulate in the community’s interest. For example, under proposed changes, councils could be reluctant to protect native plants and trees on private land as the Environment Court could require the council to purchase affected land if protections were deemed to put an ‘unfair and unreasonable burden’ on landholders.

The Greens are always going to strongly oppose the use of many natural resources.

From Interest.co.nz: The New Zealand Initiative’s Jason Krupp argues that Nick Smith should visit Montreal to see how shifting infrastructure costs can improve housing affordability

In the cut and thrust of politics it was no surprise that Environment Minister Nick Smith denounced the Labour Party’s new housing policy. After all, while it is the opposition’s job to oppose government policies, it is just as much the incumbent’s job to shoot down ideas coming from across the house.

Scoop: RMA Reform Underwhelming And a Broken Promise

“Underwhelming” sums up the initial impression of the Taxpayers’ Union to the Government’s reform legislation of the Resource Management Act, introduced this afternoon. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“The RMA is the largest regulatory tax on innovation, growth and living standards currently on the books. Our lawyers are still trawling through the detail, but it appears that rather than the promised reform this would be better described as ‘tinkering around the edges’.”

No party’s election policies and proposals can be regarded as ‘promises’ for the simple reason that Parliament works on majority votes and not on election promises.

All a party can do is promise that if they can get sufficient votes they promise to introduce legislation. That is MMP 101, so anyone claiming that election promises have been broken when compromises have to be made to succeed in getting legislation introduced is either ignorant or deliberately overstating their criticism.

Thanks to Mefrostate for providing links for this post.

Roy Morgan poll – National up

The second Roy Morgan poll since the election shows National recovering support and Labour languishing leaderless (Annette King is doing a reasonable job but just as deputy caretaker leader).

  • National 49.5% ( up 6% since early October)
  • Maori Party 1% (down 1%)
  • Act NZ 0.5% (unchanged)
  • United Future 0% (down 0.5%).
  • Labour Party 24% (up 1.5%)
  • Greens 14.5% (down 3%)
  • NZ First 6.5% (down 0.5%)

Parties outside Parliament:

  • Conservative Party 2% (down 3%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Independent/ Others 1.5% (up 1%)

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 866 electors from October 27 – November 9, 2014. Of all electors surveyed 2.5% (up 0.5%) didn’t name a party.

Predictable result

In the main the election result and sub-results were quite predictable.

Polls were a reasonable indicator but only look backwards so show trends that have happened. They can’t predict to late campaign shifts that are common.

This election was peculiar in that many decisions were put on hold until Kim Dotcom’s big reveal. When it came to nothing it strengthened resolve of swing voters to ensure National retained it’s hold on Government.

Labour dropping below poll results was not surprising. They were obviously not going to do well and non-committed voters either change their minds or simply don’t bother voting.

Claims like “but Cunliffe ran a good campaign” have been proven wrong. As David Shearer said, the end result was tragic for Labour. Cunliffe may have appeared to be campaigning strongly but he puts on a variety of acts. While they might be slick acts voters see through this lack of genuineness. Cunliffe also has a problem that is probably unresolvable – too many people simply don’t like his persona (or personas).

Greens will be disappointed to have struggled to maintain their level of support while Labour were shedding votes. Greens weren’t able to pick them up. This suggests that 10-12% is the upper limit for them. This also shouldn’t be surprising outside the Green bubble. People like to have a party promoting environmental issues but most don’t like the extreme Green stances like no drilling, no fracking, no motorways.

And Greens misread public sentiment if they think that handing out more money to poor people with no responsibilities applied will be popular. Middle New Zealand see this as imposing costs and taxes on them. Socialism is fringe ideology these days.

Winston Peters is adept at picking up protest and shedded votes. NZ First gained vote, gained MPs but otherwise gained nothing. Most of the 91% who didn’t vote NZ First will be happy with this outcome.

The 5% threshold always looked a very high hurdle for Conservatives and so it proved. This was a failure of MMP. The threshold should be no higher than 3%. I don’t personally support the Conservatives but their missing out is a travesty of democracy.

Hone Harawira losing his electorate was a bit of a shock but not really surprising given the severely compromised position of Harawira and Mana hitching their ambitions to Kim Dotcom. Dotcom’s expensive disaster was Harawira’s failing.

Internet-Mana was always a high risk alliance. They might have succeeded as a combined party but Dotcom realised too late that his brand was toxic and he couldn’t resist being prominent. His final week failure to deliver on his promises to hit John Key compounded the problem.

Laila Harre severely compromised her credibility and was still blind to this yesterday, blaming everything but reality. Her political future is very limited.

The Maori Party lost two of their three electorates as widely predicted. For the first time they had sufficient party vote to pick up a list seat to go with Te Ururoa Flavell’s retained seat. Flavell was a minor star of the campaign but will have a difficult job keeping the Maori Party afloat.

David Seymour retained Epsom as expected but also as expected ACT failed as a party. Jamie Whyte failed to step up as leader in a challenging attempt to rebuild a battered brand.

Peter Dunne held is Ohariu seat. That didn’t seem to surprise anyone but unrealistic Labourites from the electorate. As a party United Future was nowhere to be seen, and accordingly votes were nowhere to be seen, dropping to a third of the low return they got in 2011.

Just two more seats for National but this strengthens them substantially, giving them a majority vote on their own as long as they don’t lose any seats this term. They also have ACT, Dunne and Maori Party support options on standby.

Just two less seats for Labour and this weakens them substantially. The result is tragic for them and the outlook is no better. They have done very little to move on the old guard and bring in new talent. They seem out of touch with their constituency of last century. They have yet another failed leader with no obvious replacement. This was also predictable.

Labour have failed for six years to rebuild from the Clark/Cullen era. Unless someone out of the ordinary steps up their future looks bleak.

National campaigned on ‘steady as she goes’ and the voters delivered the platform for National to be a little more politically steady than expected providing outstanding issues don’t impact too much.

Judith Collins has already been sidelined and is expendable should inquiries further damage her.

Now the election is over ‘dirty politics’ should be addressed by Key. And by Labour. And to a lesser extent by Greens. Peters won’t change from his habit of attack without evidence but he will be largely impotent unless the media keep pandering to his baseless allegations.

Some embarrassments may emerge for Key and National out of surveillance and GCSB issues but they look to have been overplayed, and most people accept the need for some surveillance protection.

The simple fact is that most people don’t feel threatened by surveillance and they are concerned about about terrorism.

And it’s ironic that the supposedly net-savvy who campaign strongly against surveillance must be aware that the Google and Twitter and Facebook social media tools they willingly use are tracking what they do far more than any government.

But we can predict they will continue to fight for a free internet that gives them far more public exposure than they ever had. They claim that privacy is paramount in a very public online world.

Otherwise we can predict have much the same Government as we’ve had over the past six years. Most people will be comfortable with that.

It’s harder to predict if Harawira will make a comeback or if Mana will survive their battering and their harsh reality check.

If Dotcom pulls the plug on Internet Party funding it’s demise can be predicted. If that happens it can also be predicted that Laila Harre will find it very difficult to find another party that would risk being tainted by her lack of loyalty and sense.

It is not hard to predict that Labour’s struggle to be relevant and their lack of connection to anyone but some special interest groups will continue.

John Key has shown he is aware of the dangers to National of complacency and arrogance – it can be predicted that some of his MPs will struggle to heed his warnings. But most likely things will continue much as they have.

Poll hits dirt, rewards clean

There can be many reasons for poll movements but whether by coincidence or not the parties most associated by dirty smear politics have all dropped in the latest NZ Herald poll, and parties not associated with dirt have gone up, especially the Greens.

Dirty parties:

  • National 50 (down 4.9)
  • Labour 25.2 (down 1.3)
  • NZ First 4.3 (down 0.3)

Clean parties:

  • Greens 13.7 (up 3.8)
  • Conservatives 2.6 (up 1.4)
  • Maori Party 0.7 (up 0.2)
  • Act 0.6 (up 0.6)
  • United Future 0.4 (up 0.4)

Others

  • Mana-Internet 2.1 (down 0.1)
  • Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis (down 0.1)

Having made that point poll to poll movements are not as important as trends.

Herlad poll trends Aug14

  • National’s last poll result may have been an outlier.
  • Labour continue to trend down.
  • Greens have surged but time will tell if it is temoporary or becomes a positive trend.

Herald poll trends small Aug14

  • Winston Peters has been struggling to sustain a profile in a very competitive media.
  • Conservatives will be hoping they are on the rise but 5% is a long way up from there.
  • Internet-Mana climbed initially but may be leveling off.
  • Maori, Act and United Future will be grateful for any scraps they can get.

The poll of 750 respondents was conducted between August 14 and 20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. On the party vote questions 12.5 per cent were undecided.

Source: Greens spring in polls as National takes hit

Small party priorities post election

Small party (and Green) leaders were asked in a The Nation debate what their priority policy would be in post election negotiations.

Summary:

  • United Future: Flexi-Super
  • Maori Party: Whanau Ora
  • Mana Party: the elimination of child poverty within the first five years
  • Act Party: economic growth
  • Conservative Party: binding referenda
  • NZ First: non-committal
  • Green Party: expect to have a very comprehensive coalition agreement that meets a whole range of objectives

    Details:

United Future

Right, I wanna talk about relationships in MMP, and I’m coming to Mr Dunne. I want to know that if you get into a confidence-in-supply agreement with the next government, what would be the one thing you would be pushing for in return?

Dunne: I think probably top of our list would be to make progress on our flexi-super proposal, which would see people being able to take a reduced rate of super from the earlier age of 60 or an enhanced rate if they deferred to 70, and with the standard age remaining 65. I think that would be the one thing we’d wanna push most strongly.

That’s a repeat of last election.Dunne negotiated a discussion paper on Flexi-Super with National after the 2011 election and that which was released last year but National are luke-warm on doing anything on it

UnitedFuture’s plan which would allow people to take a reduced rate of New Zealand superannuation from the age of 60, or an enhanced rate if they deferred uptake until 70. The rationale was to give people more choice over retirement income and to recognise that for some people 60 was the age to leave the paid workforce, but that they were currently unable to do so for financial reasons.

Māori Party

Te Ururoa, you say that you could go with either Labour or National, so what would be your top priority as a policy to get?

Flavell: …the major platform that the Maori party has always been on about is final order. We say that if we’re able to consolidate, not only just social—the MSD-

So you would be pushing that if you were with the next government, you’d be pushing to keep–?

Flavell: It’s an absolute must from our perspective that final order will be at the centre of our platform, our policy. It is right now, and it will be.

‘Final order’ is a mistake in the transcript, it should read ‘Whānau Ora’ which is the Māori Party’s flagship policy.

Whānau-ora: restoring the essence of who we are; putting the vibrant traditions from our people at the heart of our whānau

Whānau Ora begins with you. Whānau is the heart of our people, it is the foundation on which our country thrives. It is about reaffirming a sense of self-belief.

Mana Party

All right. Mr Harawira, Mr Cunliffe says that you’re not gonna be part of his government. But you say he’ll pick up the phone if he needs you. So if he rings and says, ‘Hone, I’m offering you confidence in supply, that’s it, no ministers’, what do you want from him?

Do you think he has the vision to lead this country?

Harawira: What I know is this – if the polls keep trending the way that John Armstrong of the NZ Herald says and hit 5% even before the campaign starts for Internet Mana, I’m guaranteed to get a call on the night of September the 20th. And if he asks us, is there one policy, if there’s one thing that we would want to see changed, it would be this – the elimination of child poverty within the first five years.

The ‘elimination of child poverty’ seems idealistic, especially when it is usually a statistical figure based on families below the median income and on that basis there will always be some ‘in poverty’ – below the arbitrary line.

I can’t find a reference to the five year target on the Mana website but they have a range of policy points addressing “economic justice’, for example:

Work towards implementing a Universal Basic Income where everyone in Aotearoa aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, liveable, tax free income after which progressive tax would kick in. This would eliminate the huge costs involved in administering the current shame and blame WINZ system, and do much to end poverty and address growing inequality.

Act Party

Jamie Whyte, if you had a confidence and supply agreement, what would you be after as your top priority policy?

Whyte: Well, almost all problems, practical problems, are remedied by becoming wealthier. And so economic growth is by far our priority. And so the policies that we’ve been promoting on – cutting taxes and reducing the regulatory burden, which would promote economic growth, those would be our priorities in a negotiation with the National party.

That’s straightforward.

Short to medium term goals should include reducing the level of government expenditure below 28 per cent of GDP and lowering the top tax rate to 24 cents.  ACT’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill should be passed.

Conservative Party

Mr Craig, your policies are almost the same as NZ First. You’re the doppelganger in this room, so why would people vote for you when we’ve got the real thing right here.

What would be your top policy that you’d be after?

Craig: We’ve said publicly that we think governments should not be able to ignore overwhelming vote in referenda. The anti-smacking law, tough on law and order, reducing the MPs, all right quite rightly should have been implemented by government, because there is a point at which people need to know they control this nation. It’s their country.

Craig has already stated a bottom line on binding referenda.

ON OUR WATCH REFERENDUMS WILL BE BINDING

At the heart of the democratic system is the principle of the citizens initiated referendum. It’s when a single issue is thought to be so important, all voters are asked to make their opinion heard.

No specifics are given on exactly what this would entail, Conservative ‘Issues’ or policies are brief and vague.

New Zealand First

Mr Peters, your bottom lines or things that you really don’t wanna budge on are no foreign land sales, no race-based parties, buy-back assets and keep the super age at 65. You’re gonna be on the cross-benches, aren’t you, with that list?

Peters talked about a range of policies but was typically evasive and vague.

Peters: Your assumption is that at six weeks out from the election, we’re gonna make decisions now and tell the public, ‘Forget about you, doesn’t matter what happens in six weeks’. Behind close room deals. Now, I’m gonna leave it to the public to decide who’s gonna be standing there at the election, and it won’t include some parties standing here right now.

Many alluded to but no bottom lines revealed before the election.

Green Party

All right, let’s go to Metiria Turei there. (asked about working with NZ First)

Turei: The Green party in government will be a very large part of that government, and we will have significant influence. We will expect to have a very comprehensive coalition agreement that meets a whole range of objectives – a cleaner environment, a fairer society and a smarter economy. And we will have—we won’t settle like other parties might for a single achievement. We want to see our whole plan, our whole agenda being rolled out.

Turei wasn’t asked specifically about a priority but her answer was more befitting of a medium sized party with potentially a significant influence in a coalition.

Greens are excluded from major party debates despite the chances of them getting half the votes of Labour, and they could be a quarter to a third of a left wing coalition so could reasonably expect to include a number of their key policies in negotiations.

Source: TV3 The Nation – Debate: Multi-party election campaign debate

Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.

National

National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.

Labour

The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.

Summary

IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.

Hon Tariana Turia – Valedictory Statement

Speech – Hon TARIANA TURIA (Co-Leader – Māori Party) – Thursday, 24 July 2014

In The House videos:

Valedictory Statement – Tariana Turia – 24th July, 2014 – Part 5

Valedictory Statement – Tariana Turia – 24th July, 2014 – Part 6

Hansard Draft Transcript:

Hon TARIANA TURIA (Co-Leader – Māori Party): Tēnā koe, te Kaiw’akawā o tēnei W’are.

Mr SPEAKER: Tēnā koe.

Hon TARIANA TURIA:

There is nowhere where I feel more at peace than in the still tranquillity of the * Whanganui River, * Te Awa Tupua, our life blood, our tribal heartbeat, the sacred umbilical cord that unites us from the mountain to the sea.

Every year our iwi come together to connect as one through the journey that we call the Tira Hoe Waka. In many ways the last 18 years in this place have been like that same journey that we take: a journey of hope, hope for a better future for our * mokopuna. Our * hīkoi always starts in the spirit of those who watch over us.

Today I remember those who paved the way before me, to restore our right to see * Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the first relationship agreement between * tangata w’enua and with the Government representing the Crown.

I am proud to have upheld the Treaty of Waitangi, the * kaupapa and * tikanga of our people in all that I have done in this environment. My * tūpuna have walked before me. They have walked beside me, and my mokopuna will carry those philosophies on as we build nationhood in this country that we all love.

I am genealogically linked to * Ngā Wairiki, * Ngāti Apa, * Te Awa Tupua o Whanganui, * Ngā Rauru Kītahi, and * Ngāti Tūwharetoa. It is to these people that I will return when I leave here at the end of my parliamentary term—those who have grounded me, those who have reminded me of my place, and yet have loved me despite.

I was raised by my grandmother Hoki Waewae, my aunt * Mihiterina and * Tariuha Manawaroa Te Aweawe, my precious dad, who was my dad although he was not my father. When I was 8, I became a * whāngai to my wonderful aunts at * Pūtiki. My * Auntie Wai and Auntie Paeroa had huge expectations of me.

I was brought up to believe that doing what was right was more important than doing what was popular. They instilled discipline and strong whānau values in me—to love unconditionally and to be the best at whatever I did.

When I came to Parliament with Labour in 1996 I followed in the footsteps of whānau: * Tokouru Rātana, * Matiu Rātana, and * Iriaka Rātana. They came here to honour the * kawenata their papa had with * Michael Joseph Savage of the Labour Party.

Today I ask as an * uri of their iwi: what happened to that kawenata? When will the * mōrehu and the iwi of our country see the outcomes that * Tahupōtiki Wīremu Rātana sought for us all that have never been honoured?

To Chester, Nathan, Jonathan, and Ian, those of you who are part of my electorate too, I want to mihi to you all and to say to you how proud I have been to walk alongside you, and for your friendship, and I have so appreciated that. There are others who have watched over me too and I will forever cherish the memories that I carry with me.

My cousin the late Sir Archie Taiaroa* supported me all the way through my political career, and I would call him for his wise counsel. Archie stood with me when I resigned from the Labour Government at Rātana*, , and I will never forget that.

When I was thinking of leaving, he talked to me about the experience of Matiu Rata*, , whom he himself had encouraged to leave, not realising at the time that our people would forget his sacrifice and not vote for him. Archie worried that the same thing would happen to me—that our people would forget.

I was able to reassure him that I would always be political whether I was here or outside of Parliament, that in the end I had to live with myself, and there is no greater challenge than to be true to one’s own self.

I think about my cousin Rangitihi Tahupārae*, , who worked for many years here at Parliament, the most distinguished and eloquent orator in either language. He taught me to love all that we are and to walk with pride in the knowledge of our w’akapapa*.

The late Dr Irihāpeti Ramsden*, , a wonderful friend and w’anaunga, was another one who when I found myself in trouble here, which seemed to happen a bit, would always appear in the public gallery—so beautiful, so gracious, and so principled.

And my beloved friend-in-arms Parekura—I miss him so much. Whenever I think of Parekura, I think of how important he has been to my family. My baby, my mokopuna* whom I have raised, Piata, who would have given anything to be Ngati Porou*, , used to come home from school and say to me “Māmā*, , can I just say that I am?”, because she wanted Parekura to be her real pāpā.

I have carried those people who have shaped me into the person have become, and I will love them and my extended w’ānau* forever. Because of them our tira* has a strong foundation. Today is my chance to acknowledge all those who helped to keep our waka afloat to ensure that our tira moves forward.

So I stand to honour so many amazing people in this complex, who give so much and so freely.

The security teams, the VIP drivers, the messengers, the library staff, and the travel team—all of these people constantly go out of their way to make our lives easier.

The cleaners who restore order in our offices and on our floor, the Bellamy’s* team, the Clerk of the House, our interpreters, the conscientious team in the Cabinet Office, Parliamentary Service*, , and Ministerial Services*, your sacrifices were many and your dedication has been appreciated.

On the many sides of this W’are* are those whom I have served alongside of, whether at the Cabinet table or in a select committee, or being held to account at question time or in political panels—all of you who work so hard for what you believe in.

I would not have come to Parliament if it was not for the endorsement of the Rt Hon Helen Clark and the Hon Maryan Street, and I will never forget that it was your trust in me and your advocacy that got me here. I will always remember that.

There were other people in Labour whom I value working with, many of you. I will not name you all, but there were some who I learnt so much from.

I think of Tim Barnett and that when I used to go to caucus I could never get a paper through until Tim took it off me and worked on it for me.

Annette King, who was an amazing Minister and who taught me so much. I want to mihi to you today, Annette.

And Darren Hughes—that amazing young man Darren Hughes—who I thought would one day be the leader of the Labour Party and who in fact will end up being the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I miss him so much; he was a great young man, a beautiful young man.

I mihi to my colleagues who were foundation members of the Māori Party, because you have shaped a new horizon for this country.

You have imbued this Chamber with the beauty and force of * Te Reo Māori, you have established cultural competency as a norm, and you have ensured that nobody gets left behind. We are stronger because or your influence, bolder because of your integrity.

Dr Pita Sharples—I hate following him in speeches! I said “Mr Nice Guy”, but I should have said “Mr Funny Guy”. He is always “Mr Nice Guy.” He is never one to look for the problems. He is always positively focused.

Te Ururoa, the steady hand on the rudder steering us on the right course, the general manager of everything, the ideal member of Parliament who understands process so well, a great leader.

Hone Harawira, my great friend who has also been my great foe. How do you really love the essence of someone and yet be so frustrated by them at the same time?

Rahui Katene, the hardest-working paddler in our waka—always willing, always there. I was so sad because you deserved to win. You put in the hard yards. You were just so great.

I have an all-encompassing love for our founding president, Matua * Whatarangi Winiata. When we were having arguments in the caucus—not only with Pete would I argue, but often get into stoushes with Hone. Matua would look at us and I would say to him “Matua, what do you think?”

He would say “Yes, I am just trying to work out which * kaupapa is operating here today.”

I want to thank * Pem Bird and * Naida Glavish, who have been two incredible leaders, for the vital role that you have played not only in our first 10 years but in getting us to where we are today. I want to say thank you to Heta Hingston* for gifting us our very first constitution.

As much as we have often struggled to keep to the rules, we have tried so hard.

I am indebted to the people of * Te Tai Hauāuru for your generosity and support to both me and my * w’ānau. You have worked tirelessly. I mihi to you all because you believed in the kaupapa of our tūpuna and saw the vision of the Māori Party.

There are many others who have helped along the way of our journey. I mihi to * Rob Cooper and sister Makiri Te Tawaroa, who politicised me—probably much to everybody else’s dismay—to professor Sir * Mason Durie for your execeptional leadership, to Nancy, to Doug, to Merepeka, to Suzanne, the various departmental heads who comprised the original governance group, which set out W’ānau Ora and set us on the right path.

I have valued the enormous support that I have received as a Minister from officials of various agencies who have provided me with support and advice.I know that I have not been an easy Minister for you to serve. I can acknowledge that, as I am sure officials and others across this House will say so also.

How can I ever put into words the love that I have for our parliamentary staff, who have been exceptional, working always beyond the call of duty—one of two of them working almost through the night? I have expected you all to put the people you serve before your agencies and your careers. I know that that has been a huge sacrifice.

And, of course, my w’ānau. A wall plaque was given to me by Pati Umaga, somebody whom I just so love. He gave it to me, and it read: “W’ānau: we may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” I believe this implicitly. Every journey along our river inevitably faces the churning waters of the rapids, the turmoil and the chaos of the reporepo that we find ourselves swirling within.

In this place I have felt profoundly the pain of the entrenched inequities too many Māori and Pasifika families face in terms of the lack of equitable access to health, education, housing, employment, and economic opportunity.

I have at times been devastated by the institutional racism that continues to limit our potential as a people. We should never be silent on the things that matter—the barriers that block our ability to be the best that we can be—and we must never be afraid to talk about anything that we know to be true and that we know to be right.

It is only when we let fear take over and when we do not speak up that we let people down. I recall being really nervous when I accepted the role of Minister for Disability Issues*.

I felt so inadequate to fulfil this position and I realised very quickly that my job was to listen carefully to the many voices and to translate that into actions with support from the excellent officials and people in the sector.

The disability sector has had an enormous influence on me, with their brave audacity to tell their own tale: “Nothing about us without us.” They asked me to have the confidence and the trust to believe that we can do whatever it takes, to believe in our abilities, not our disabilities, and the words continue to reverberate in my heart and mind.

I will always be indebted to the disability communities for their ability to lead with so much dignity and inspiration.

In my time here I have challenged officials that we must not be fixated by a focus on deficits, looking on everything that is wrong. It is so much better to look for the potential in people to change. It is in our attitudes, our ability to think differently, that the key to transformation lives.

In this regard I mihi to those peoples of the Pacific who let me share their journey, Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu—one of the most revolutionary frameworks that I have ever known.

I thank the people of * Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, who have been so generous in sharing their vision with me—people like Peseta Betty Sio, Tino Pereira, * Judge Ida Malosi, Yvonne Creighton-Hill, and many others.

I acknowledge too the leadership of the Pacific Advisory Group and the Māori Reference Group for your proactive work on family violence.

I mihi to Judge Peter Boshier* and to Judge Paul von Dadelszen* for your leadership and trust in people-led solutions.

If ever it is possible to form a really strong relationship with a community, it must be the one that is being established for me in the Chathams. Their resilience, their absolute belief in themselves, probably to the detriment of their own growth as they were overlooked by funders, has been totally inspiring, and I thank them for their * manaakitanga towards me and towards Chris also.

Even the steadiest waka can be overturned, and it was that way for me in the early months of 2004 as we reeled to the decisions made in the House around the foreshore and seabed.

In those moments of despair I have always gone to our river, to our awa, to reclaim a sense of being—the blessing of the water that heals—and in that quiet space I find the answers that lie within me. And so it was for our * w’anau, hapū, and iwi as we considered how we would respond to the denial of due process and access to justice, the belittling of our status as * tangata w’enua, which will always be for ever recorded as a modern-day Treaty breach.

The advent of the foreshore and seabed legislation created the tensions that led to me leaving Labour and in the same breath gave birth to our indigenous political movement, the Māori Party. I am not sorry today that that happened and that I left.

I have the utmost respect for Georgina Beyer, who sacrificed her political aspirations to stand alongside of me at * Rātana. Ten years on those days are still vividly written in my mind as a milestone moment in the story of our nation.

Through the anguish and the pain as the people came together in solidarity, we knew that we were part of an incredible juncture in our history as we witnessed a powerful uprising of the spirit. It was the most evocative moment of my life—to feel the will of the people, the calling of our * tupuna to reclaim the essence of who we are, and to stand for what we knew was right. It was self-determination in action.

As I think of that sea of flags and placards that filled the foreground of Parliament, I am reminded of the image that we see at home every summer when our collective fleet of waka glide into Pūtiki*, , an amazing expression of pride, of strength, of power, and of peace.

The Tira Hoe waka is a journey of rediscovery, in which we literally fall in love with ourselves again. In many ways, for me so too is the Māori Party. Put simply, this is the dream of W’ānau Ora—to know ourselves, our strengths, and our challenges, and to plot our futures.

We cannot talk rangatiratanga* and not be self-determining. We know the call from Pūao-te-ata-tū*, , Matua Whāngai*, , kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, kura-ā-iwi, w’are wānanga, local level solutions, direct resourcing, even closing the gaps, He Korowai Ōranga, and Māori and Pasifika health and social services. They are all models where the people have put forward a framework for tomorrow.

We stand on the shoulders of the past to look forward to a greater future.

I want to take this opportunity to mihi to somebody in the House for whom I have huge respect and regard, and that is Hekia. Tēnā koe ki te Minita*. I have absolutely loved your passionate belief that all of our children have a right to succeed in education. Second-best is not part of your vocabulary, and only excellence will do.

You know that we are preparing the next leaders of this nation. I believe totally in what you are doing and I want to say that today in this House. One of the most exhilarating experiences of my life was to travel throughout the country, meeting with Māori and Pasifika communities about a w’ānau* way forward.

Often the halls were crowded to full capacity—600 people crammed together, standing room only. It was a buzz and I will always remember it. W’anau Ora resonated with them because they understood completely what collective responsibility and obligation was and how it needed to be restored to those who had been affected by the many losses that they had suffered.

They did not ask what the Government could do for them. They asked instead that we trust them to develop their own solutions, to take them forward, and to trust that they knew better than anyone in the huge bureaucracies that we have here in Wellington.

This hīkoi that we have been on, then, is a hīkoi for all time. What we have represented with the growth of the Māori Party is the possibility of a strong and independent Māori voice, forever able to sit in Parliament.

We were not content to sit on the sidelines and to watch from afar as the lives of our people waited in the queue for the time to be right. We have never been about the rhetoric of the right or the left, and I am so grateful to those members of the press gallery who actually got that, who have asked searching questions and been prepared to reflect our philosophies, rather than regurgitating their own.

We are driven by * kaupapa and what unites us rather than what divides us. Being in the Māori Party has been the greatest opportunity to sing our songs and to tell our stories.

We have had the freedom to focus on what is right for * tangata w’enua and to know that it would also be right for our brothers and sisters from * Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, and we knew it would be right for this country. It is the first time in our history and of the world that an indigenous political party has been truly part of Government in a coalition arrangement.

It has been exciting, liberating, invigorating, inspiring, and occasionally challenging. I have so enjoyed the respectful, honest, and upfront relationship with John Key and Bill English, a relationship that has allowed both of us to be direct, acknowledging our different constituencies and agreeing to disagree.

It has been a relationship that is based on mutual cooperation, and we are pleased with what we have achieved. We are also proud of what we have managed to change or stop, and we are not going to talk about the disappointments.

I have been driven by a determination, passion, and desire, and, as Bill English would say, a stubborn resolve to make a difference. I always wanted to be in relationship where what we had to say mattered, to be part of the solution, and not limited to picking the problems apart.

Although we were unable to achieve all the aspirations of our people, I know that we have made a difference in the lives of whānau, whatever their circumstances, and in that respect I leave with a feeling of peace, that we have always tried to do our best and to do what it is that is right for them.

I cannot leave this House without recognising a real friend, Chris Finlayson. Chris is the greatest Treaty settlements Minister that we have ever had in this country.

In our iwi we have had the longest litigation in the history of this country over our river. It is just around the corner, and I want to say thank you to you so much for working so hard alongside our whānau, hapū, and iwi of Whanganui. I have tried to live up to the legacy and the expectation from so many of our iwi leaders who have sacrificed so much to let the stories of our whānau, hapū, and iwi resound, not just in books of history but in the throbbing heartbeat of a nation that knows.

I come then to a turning point in my journey, as I prepare to steer our waka homewards. I say to you all to be led by the people you serve. It is the greatest opportunity that any of you could ever have hoped for.

I have been humbled by the trust that has been placed in me, and there are so many people who have helped me throughout my lifetime—too many to name individually—but I want you all to know that I can be for ever thankful for the influence that you have had on my thinking. Your lessons will continue to inspire me, and your advice and your challenges will no doubt occupy my mind.

But now it is time to return home, to give back to those who place their trust in me, to rest awhile, to be with my darling George, who has put up with me for 51 years—it has got to be a record—and with my great children, and my 26 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

I had to say that, Pete, because you only have one! I was trying to work out how I could beat him at something.

And then on Saturday I will start thinking about my next project for transformation.

To everyone who has given me the strength and the support to promote possibility and belief for every w’ānau to grow, I thank you. Your vision, our vision, will be evident in the nation that we create together tomorrow.

To the three W’ānau Ora commissioning agencies, I want to mihi to you all for the great opportunity and the great direction that I know you will take us in.

Hon Dr Pita Sharples – Valedictory Statement

Speech – Hon Dr Pita Sharples (Co-Leader – Māori Party) – Thursday, 24 July 2014

In The House videos:

Valedictory Statement – Pita Sharples – 24th July, 2014 – Part 3

Valedictory Statement – Pita Sharples – 24th July, 2014 – Part 4

Hansard draft transcript:

Hon Dr PITA SHARPLES (Minister of Māori Affairs):

I am really full of different thoughts today—pretty mixed—as I think back over the last 9 years of my life.

You know the history of us: foreshore and seabed, the * hīkoi. Tariana did not know where she sat. She crossed the floor and made history. That was really brilliant. We had a whole lot of hui* up and down the country and we formed the Māori Party, and we came.

In our first election we won four of the Māori seats. Tariana, myself, and—where is he; what is your name again? And Te Ururoa, and Hone somebody— Hone Harawira. So we were very vocal over 3 years. We sat on the * cross benches over here and we threw stones at everything that Labour put up. We got a lot of following from outside. People said: “Yeah, you’re doing a good job in there.” We did not win anything, we did not do anything, but we just made a lot of noise and we got a lot press.

And that got us an extra seat at the next election. So then Rahui—kia ora, Rahui—joined us, and then there were five. Then we had a major row and then there were four and the Mana Party as a result of that.

So that is what happened—that split. Also, he and others mounted a campaign about being in Government with National and they invited us in, we went back, had 30 hui up and down the country, and every hui said: “Yes, go into Government. Give it a burst.” So we did.

I would like to acknowledge John Key and the whole structure of the National Party that explained why they would like to go with us. There were good reasons: an opportunity for us to have a chance at the table. We were honoured by that. Thank you very much, and we join with you.

Over the next period we got a lot of goodies for our people both in terms of passing bills but also in terms of * putea—money—to allow projects to go ahead and so on. It was a really good experience, though, for us to do that.

But the reality is our popularity slipped right down with the conflict between Mana and the Māori Party. But also there was a campaign against us being with National. It was painted as the bad guy by this Māori lobby, in particular.

So at the last election, while National did all right, with Māori Labour did all right. I think that was the backlash on us being in that Government. So what do you say to that, you know? I will just tell you straight that I go up and down the country talking to my people and I say to you—and I will say it again now—that Parliament is a Westminster system that is all about the vote.

If you are able to secure the vote you are able to secure change and progress for you and your party. It is not just how loud you protest outside is or the issues you bring up; this is about sitting at the table. You have got to be at the table. That is why parties go to extraordinary lengths to try to do deals and be at the table and so on, and that is great—that is the system. But just know that that is the system.

I really feel strongly that there should be programmes introduced in schools. This is what we did with * Te Reo Māori. It was slipping away—gone burger. Then, suddenly, we brought in * kōhanga reo and started teaching the little ones.

Now they are reading the news in Māori. Now they are working for companies. Now they have got their own companies, kōrero Māori ana. And it works.

So what about if we had some lessons in schools about our system of Government: what it is, what you do there, how you make laws and you get rewards and things for your people? So that is my big thing at this time. I really feel our people are so far away from understanding that. The fact that they do not vote is testimony to that too. You ask them “Are you voting?”. “Nah, not really, what for?”, and stuff.

So, people, I would like to say thank you to a whole lot of people at the outset, so you get that one going. To my tribe * Ngāti Kahungunu—I know many of you are here, kaumātua and stuff—*— Hoani Waititi Marae, * Manutaki, Pari te Taua, kura, all these organisations, thank you for coming and being here on my last speaking day.

It is a great day because I have had three speeches already and one question, and I did not have to correct any records. It is embarrassing coming back and say “Oh, point of order.”, but I am an expert at that anyway.

So Tāmaki Makaurau*, , you have got to be the best committee in the world. You have done good by me. We have won every election we have gone for, and we are going to win one for Rangi there—he is sitting up there—this time. You are a great, great committee.

There are all our branches and, of course, the voters of Tāmaki Makaurau, which is most of Auckland City* there, or the natives in there, anyway.

I had an A-team* who doorknocked, and they doorknocked just about every weekend on our first election. They went out, it rained and they got wet, and then they went out again, it rained, and they got wet, and they went out, every weekend. Every weekend they had a karakia and then they went out, and I want you to know that the baby of the group was aged 65, and there was a whole group of them.

They were dedicated, because they said: “At last, our time has come. We have a Māori party.” And, you know, that was inspiration for us to bring our Māori kaupapa in here.

Do you know that every time you put a bill up to us, we put it down here and we say—there is a good criteria, and our team has to go through this—“*—“ Kotahitanga: does it unite us and does it unite New Zealand? * Manaakitanga: is this a caring bill? Will people be hurt by this bill?”.

With every single bill, whether it is about crossing the road or whether it is about a new building law or a new security law, or whatever, we put it through that test. We have stuck to our kaupapa and voted accordingly.

So I just wanted you to know that. We go by that kaupapa, and I know that most Māori in here would like to do that, too. So maybe there is something there that the big parties can think about—to understand that these are real * tikanga and not just made-up rules to go by stuff.

So thank you, Tāmaki Makaurau. Naida*, , our current president, is up here—kia ora, Naida, thank you for being here, lifelong friend and stuff. Vice-presidents, Ken* and * Donna, thank you. Past presidents, Pem Byrd* and * Whatarangi Winiata—amazing man, a really amazing man. He was great on the tāngas. He had a tānga for everything.

And, of course, our past MPs, Rahui and—what is his name—oh, Hone. That is right—Hone. [Interruption] No, do not laugh. He sent a message and he said I am cool. How is that? I wonder what he said to his wife.

Anyway, what an adventure we have had. It has been a great adventure being together. I really did not know Tariana personally until all this stuff happened, and then suddenly we were joined at the hip, for 9 years. And if you are joined at the hip with Tariana, it is quite an experience. Why are you laughing? OK, I thought I had better check that out—OK.

So to the National Party, I have got some things to say about you, but let us just move down the list a bit. To the parliamentary precincts staff, thank you very much. We cannot operate without you guys.

The VIP car drivers—I really have to thank you, and so do you, Tariana, because you and I and the Prime Minister always have the highest expenses on the cars. You know, with those cars and the odd flight, I can do four cities and five meetings in 1 day, so it really, really works. I mean, if you have got a portfolio like mine, where you have got to get out with the people, it really helps, so do not stop that one.

The cleaners—thank you.

The messengers and staff around Parliament, who make this place tick over and who look after all MPs, you are really, really good.

My electorate staff, my staff here, and my personal staff and private secretaries and things—awesome. I have had nothing but good staff. They are really, really good. So Veronica, Martin, Kimberly back there, and my big team here—I will name you all tonight, but there are so jolly many of you that I must say that I really appreciate you all. You have made my life here very easy.

So Te Puni Kōkiri*, , you get the rough end of the deal many times, and everybody seems to have sort of a * love-hate relationship with you. Do not stop working—you are doing a great job. You do stuff, you clean up after everybody, and you hold the mana for us.

When things Māori go wrong in this place, you are asked to fix it and so on, and there are some beautiful people in there—thank you. I would like to acknowledge Leigh and Michelle, the leaders, and others in that department.

Corrections officials are always good. That is because, as I used to say, I have been in and out of prisons all my life, but I have been working in prisons all my life, so it is really easy working with them.

Education people—I had a few drinks last night for anyone who sort of works for me, and education officials came en masse because they have been great. * Tātaiako—I said: “You know, we need this thing about culturally understanding your Māori student.”, and they wrote it. They got it written and produced.

Māori history in schools—it is now there. You never knew about Te Whatu-i-apiti or Te Heuheu o Te Rangi, but you knew about Sir Walter Raleigh and you knew about one or two of those other people and about the Magna Carta and all that stuff. But, you see, you are not related to Sir Walter Raleigh and all that stuff. I am related to Te Whatu-i-apiti.

I am related to Te Heuheu o Te Rangi, and he did far more than Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake and that stuff. And yet you do not know him, and that is not fair. You should know him and should share in our history before Cook, and then we can enjoy each other and where we come from and where we are going.

So I really respect my education officials, who have done heaps of stuff for me.

The iwi leaders and community leaders—it has been great working with you. We have all met each other over the years, and they change and so on, but I really enjoy working with you, iwi leaders, and I will continue to do that.

Then there are the committees that I have set up, which you have been on. * Te Paepae Motuhake, thank you very much to * Tāmati Reedy and your team. Constitutional review, thank you very much—some heavies on that one. Māori economic task force—some of them are here tonight. Te Puni Kōkiri refocus group—there are many committees, and I would like to thank you all.

I would really like to thank my family. I am like, here and I am not here. “Shall we go somewhere tomorrow night?”. “Oh, I have got to go to Wellington.” “Again?”. I said: “That’s where my job is.”, and this is how it goes. Well, now they will probably say: “Aren’t you going to Wellington?”.

I am really happy that were able to effect some things. The things I have enjoyed were the * United Nations’ * Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

One of my first tasks I decided as a Minister in 2009-10 was to negotiate New Zealand’s support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Knowing that New Zealand, Australia, USA, and Canada were not involved in that at the time, I went with New Zealand and presented it, chanted my way up, did the Māori thing that we do, and I finished it. They all cheered and I was just going to sing my waiata, all my New Zealand team, the Hawaiians, and the Sami jumped up, and the whole place erupted in different cultural dances. So they were really pleased.

The next thing I know the President sent down Senator Price from the White House group to start negotiating what they are going to do. Canada called us to a meeting and said they were going to do something, so it was really good that we were able to trigger that off.

We have got a wall in the United Nations. It is all shabby, but its remnants—it is a beautiful wall but it is really, really paru. So we asked whether we could bring some * tukutuku and stuff in here, and they said no. We have got too many.

So I said: “Well, we’ll do our wall up.” So we had some beautiful tukutuku panels—really lots of them, and they have been measured to suit there, and I am looking forward to joining * Toi Māori Aotearoa and * Te Puni Kōkiri taking those over and presenting them in the near future, so that is going to be good.

In terms of the Māori language strategy, we had the * Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill today. It has been passed to go to select committee, so that is good. I was pleased to hear Nanaia say that this is not to be to be a political football.

I did not cover all the things in my speech today, but those things can be answered, so please find out from your leaders and stuff like that, or I am happy to meet with you and talk about that and so on.

So our Māori economic strategy has grown into * He Kai Kei Aku Ringa, a department now shared between the * Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Te Puni Kōkiri. We foster Māori trades overseas and economic development in New Zealand of all kinds—small to medium enterprises and so on.

We started the review of the Māori economy and it was said to be $16.4 billion and now we found out actually it is $37 billion. It is more likely $40 billion now because of that. So we are worth a bit, and we have done many excursions to Asian and to China to build up those relationships and sales.

The Auckland super city—thank you, Government, for that. Although we lost the fight, we had a march, eh, Willie? We had a march up Queen Street and we had meeting after meeting honouring the royal commission, which wanted three designated seats for Māori because they do not normally make the committee, and that is going to be a big super city.

We need them on there and Rodney was not in favour of that. Rodney was in charge of the whole thing. We could not just exchange him. He threw his toys all the way out of the cot, and so we lost that one and we did not have any after many arguments. God, he does not listen. Because of that, we went to another meeting to decide what the * Māori advisory committee should do.

We piped up and said: “Ah, it should be statutory.” And it was passed, and now it is doing such a good job, and I hope that that is a model other cities will use—to have a stand-alone, statutory Māori committee with its own budget that can sit alongside at the top meetings and so on.

Well, you think you know your Prime Minister. I am going to just give you the real Prime Minister. You are a strong, forceful leader, albeit with a strange sense of humour. I do not know how you are going to get on at Waitangi pōwhiri without me to look after you. Do you know the whole of New Zealand watches the Waitangi Day TV report just to see what happens to you at the pōwhiri?

There was “nannygate”. The “nannygate” pōwhiri held up the whole proceedings for an hour while Titawhai and her daughter, Hinewhare, in tow conducted a public dispute with another nanny about who will escort the Prime Minister on to the * marae. Many of you were there in this case. Nara dived into the scrum trying to sort it out and there they were, waiting, waiting.

Finally the Prime Minister arrived but they were not ready, so they had another fight. I was worried about my wife getting knocked over because she had a crook leg at the time. Suddenly I see her in the middle of the scrum, arms going flat out like this. I said: “Oh, my God! They are both her aunties. What is going to happen?”. And so on. So I was worried about her.

“Nek minnit” there she was right in the middle of the scrum. Anyway, I think they all had a piece of you that day, Prime Minister. You are a warrior.

Then there was “lock-up gate” pōwhiri where we were lured into the * wharenui and we were told the door would be locked and we would not be allowed to leave until you agreed to their local requests. We eventually go out of there.

And then there was “speechgate” pōwhiri. While I spoke, there was complete silence on the marae. Either they were mesmerized by my wisdom or they could not care less and were just waiting for you.

Anyway, as soon as you stood, your old friends, the brothers, began drowning you out on their megaphones from behind. In order to be heard, you walked on to the marae and the noise followed you and got louder and louder. You walked further and further and you almost sat down on the other side. You were right there on the other side.

I thought: “Hmm, I am sure that is not the rule on the marae just like that.” Yep, so that is OK. The last pōwhiri was “fishgate”. Some disgruntled ex-fan of yours, Prime Minister, decided to share his lunch with you. He tossed a whole fish at us.

But the pōwhiri of pōwhiris was “tusslegate”. To explain, Hone’s nephew’s security just came in and decided to have a piece of the Prime Minister and they just dived into us. Security was everywhere and so on. I got pushed backwards with a post behind me, and over I went.

Next minute, there were feet all around my head. I was looking up and they were all looking after the Prime Minister and tramping on me. I was just lying there. There were shoes against my head while I was lying there trying to get up. Then they finally pulled the bros off and, unaided, I staggered to my feet—your most loyal Minister.

As I said on the day at breakfast, I would have taken a bullet that day. Minister English—Tariana and I have a loving relationship with the Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English. We love both him and his cupboards full of money.

Minister English made an unreasonable assumption about us. He said we came to our meetings armed with psychological tactics to relieve him of some of his * pūtea, his money.

He said Tariana attacks first, leads the charge, and bombards him with statistics and surveys about Māori communities’ needs. She goes on and on until he feels guilty or afraid, and after some time, out comes the cheque book. Just take a note of that formula.

Then, he says, I follow on with my magnetic charm, making him feel relaxed and comfortable and asking how his wife and children are. His sore back—is it getting better? I compliment his aroha ki te iwi Māori, and—boom—out comes the cheque book with a signature.

Well, that is his story. I do not think it quite goes like that, but thank you for all the assistance you have given the projects we have put before you.

Minister Finlayson—we received our ministerial portfolios in November and December 2008. That Christmas summer holidays, Minister Finlayson was out amongst the iwi of New Zealand, making initial contacts—before Christmas, before dinner.

We had just got appointed, and he was out doing settlements and assessments over Treaty settlement issues. He probably had Christmas breakfast at * Ruātoki, lunch at * Mōhaka, and Christmas pudding in the Hokianga. Your relationship with iwi is always * rangatira ki te rangatira, and you lead and inspire your field teams, and me and Tariana as well, with the same dignity.

Thank you, Minister, and thank you also for your Māori affairs work on freeing up the Māori land for production. I am waiting—in fact, no. Hekia—she comes from that tribe where does not apply.

In fact, it is almost compulsory in that tribe to talk about yourself. But she is the only Minister to karanga and pōwhiri me into the meetings we have every week, singing “Haere mai rā …” or some * Ngati Porou song that has about eight verses or something.

As a Minister, Hekia is strong. She has inherited enormous projects like fronting for the * Novopay debacle, the schools earthquake recovery in Christchurch, * Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust difficulties, and a large education portfolio generally. I think she is mean—Māori mean—and is a great example of tū Māori mai. Kia ora.

And just a last one—I would like to acknowledge Nick Smith. Tēnā koe, Nick.

Thank you for your friendship and for educating me on climate change—how you sell nothing for something, or is it something for nothing? I do not know whether I have got that one worked out properly. Anyway, you always made time to explain stuff for me, particularly in the information communications technology world.

Everybody and the presiding officers in this House, thank you very much.

Tari and Te Ururoa—I would like to acknowledge my companion MPs, Tariana and Te Ururoa. For a decade we have worked together and lived together, creating a Māori presence in the House, in our committees, and in our ministerial and leadership roles.

One day Tari and I were having a scrap in the caucus, and she was getting really vocal, and I was sort of being cool, you know, like that. We both looked at our president, * Whatarangi. “Whatarangi?”

And he goes “Ah, yes. Tariana is showing rangatiratanga. She’s leading out and being strong about her project. Pita—he’s showing * manaakitanga, caring and so on.”, like this. We are looking at each other—so? Then he goes “What we really need here is kotahitanga.” Because that is the kaupapa, we had to accept it. So we got on.

We have had a good relationship, eh, my bro, Te Ururoa. Where is he? At the back, taking my seat. He is the only MP who goes out on the road with two right shoes. We get to the whare and he goes “Take your shoes off.” I say “No, they said leave them on.” He says “No, take them off.”—because he had two right shoes.

Sorry, bro. We have followed the advice of the late colonel * Sir James Hēnare, who said to the Māori Battalion when it arrived back from the war: “Go home to your marae. Go home to your mountain. Go home to your river. Go home to your land. Go home to your whanau.

But at all times, tū Māori mai—remember.”

That applies to anyone, not just Māori. Be strong, be yourself, and carry on and change the world.

So thank you very much. I have gone over time, but it has been a real honour to work with these two and to live with these two over the time. I would just like to abuse the system.

I have got a lot of * mokopuna. They are all here—downstairs, I guess. I have got one great mokopuna. He is 1 now, and his name is Kanohi Tanga Utu Kanohi Tū Hanga. I want to speak to him now.

E moko, in 30 years you can become the new co-leader of the Māori Party. You will have more than 20 Māori caucus members and be deciding which ones should be in the House of Representatives—in Parliament—and which ones should be in the “Upper Treaty Senate”, which, 30 years ago, began with our constitutional review.

Moko, in 30 years’ time you will be dealing with a * superministry called * Whānau Ora. In my time, they had separate ministries for social development, education, employment, and so on. Moko, in 30 years’ time you will be dealing with the chief executive officers of Māori statutory boards all around the country.

In my time we had to have a * hīkoi, we had to have lots of hui, and we had to have a scrap in * Cabinet to get the first one up and running in Auckland. In 30 years’ time you will be dealing with a “Minister for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Negotiations”.

That is right—that is the one who replaced the * Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations after all the settlements were completed. In my time, when we got the declarations signed they said it would not mean anything—by the way, that is what they said about the Treaty as well.

Moko, in 30 years’ time you will be dealing with all the * Whare Ōranga Ake units that have been created. Back in my time they were called prisons and did not provide any rehabilitation programmes. Oh yes, moko, keep up with your English language, because in 30 years’ time * Te Reo Māori will be the official language of New Zealand, spoken by all. And so, mokopuna, grow strong; you have much to do. * Tēnā tātou.

Waiata

Haka

Waiata

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