“Abuse the hell out of them!”

Clare Trevett suggests that Labour should Be careful what you wish for

After five years as the Invisible Man’s doppelganger, Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene has finally broken out.

The trigger was the Budget tax on smoking. His chosen dance floor was Twitter. In person, Tirikatene is a shambling, genial, diffident character. It was akin to watching the Incredible Hulk hulk out.

Tirikatene came to athe attention, including me – see Rino Tirikatene on Twitter

He started by saying the Maori Party “are slowly turning Aotearoa into a kuia state”. On and on he went, using the hashtag #kuiastate (Nanny State) for each tweet.

He was only goaded further when Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox pointed out that Labour was in fact voting for this “kuia state” measure.


The reason for the flurry was a prod from his leader to lift his game. He did it so effectively he ended up being told to rein it in again.

Labour might want to be careful what it wishes for. At the moment, the Maori Party is the enemy because it is in Government. Even worse, it is in Government with the National Party.

Yet the Maori Party could end up being the solution to a tricky problem for Labour. There are scenarios in which the Maori Party could give Labour and the Greens the extra numbers they need to get into Government without having to go to Winston Peters. Andrew Little could well find himself bracing to knock on the Maori Party’s door, come 2017.

The Maori Party could end up ‘holding the balance of power’, in which case it’s probably likely they would choose to go left rather than right.

But it could get complicated for more than Labour.

If both the Maori Party and NZ First were needed together to form a majority coalition would NZ First accept an arrangement like that? Would National or Labour?

Would NZ First accept being in a coalition arrangement with either the Maori Party or the Greens?

Many convolutions are possible come the election next year.

However Labour must have a very complicated strategy.

They want to wipe out the Maori Party and take them out of the coalition equation. And pick up their votes.

They want to take NZ First out of the coalition equation. And pick up some of their votes.

But they may end up having to go to either or both parties in order to put together the numbers that would enable them to form the next government.

Abusing the hell out of them now may make things quite complicated later.

Leave a comment


  1. A Green perspective from Weka at The Standard:

    Here’s hoping that Labour’s cooperative politics can extend to the Mp and Mana too.

    And a Labour perspective from Te Reo Putake:

    The Maori Party deserve to be binned for their choice to suck up to National and mana are all ready binned, due to their choice to suck up to KDC. The future is unwritten, as a wise man once said, but I don’t see either of those parties making it back next election. it’s certainly not the LP’s role to resuscitate them.

    No it’s not Labour’s role to resuscitate them. But should it be Labour’s role to annihilate them?

    That approach could backfire if the Maori Party (or NZ First) are needed to resuscitate Labour’s chances of forming the next government.

  2. PDB

     /  11th June 2016

    Peter’s has ruled out working with the Maori party so if he is required by either side to form govt then the Maori party finds themselves on the opposition benches even if they win some seats.

    • ‘Peters has ruled out’ should be taken with a grain of malted barley but it seems unlikely he would work with the Maori Party.

      • PDB

         /  11th June 2016

        Probably the only party he has ever ruled out working with prior to an election.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  11th June 2016

          ‘But whatsoever king may reign/I will still be the Vicar of Bray, sir.’

  3. Peters contempt for the Greens seems very genuine… I used that word with Winston I am in shock!!

    Most likely will be a detente between Key and Winston starting around January 2017 I think.

    Winston going with Little and Meteria ‘Laird of the Castle’ Turei seems a surreal choice given his comments to date. But the baubles of office may overcome the aversion

  4. Pete Kane

     /  11th June 2016

    “Whys that Andrew.” Beautiful. Actually, almost perfect.

  5. Corky

     /  11th June 2016

    One thing I have learnt in life…. in fact its the only thing I have learn’t in life, and that is: never burn your bridges. You would be suprise how many times the road past the bridge becomes blocked and you have to back-track. Best you remember that Rino bro. The maori Party have.

  6. PDB

     /  11th June 2016

    The Maori population has in modern times achieved more under a National govt – time for the Maori party to grow some balls and announce now that they will only go with a National-led govt after the election and then have just over a year to convince their people that this is in their best interests. Labour/ Greens/ Winston 1st want to exterminate them so nothing to lose.

    Standing for something is better than standing for nothing – they need to be bold.


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