Opposition parties at Ratana

Yesterday it was the turn of opposition parties to make their pitch to Maori voters at Ratana.

Andrew Little criticised others for political bickering but he also bickered at National and the Maori Party, and he won’t have been happy about Gareth Morgan and Winston Peters hijacking headlines with their war of words.

The ODT reports Labour leader emerges from Ratana unscathed

Labour leader Andrew Little has emerged from his Ratana visit unscathed and confident his party’s relationship with the influential Maori church has been restored.

Mr Little arrived at the pa near Wanganui under pressure to restore Labour’s relationship with the Ratana Church. The Maori Party, which recently won the support of the Kingitanga Movement, made a strong pitch for Ratana’s support yesterday, calling for a “One Maori” movement.

Speaking on the pa, Mr Little he said he took the relationship between Labour and Ratana seriously. Rather than simply turn up for the headline event, his MPs had been meeting with the church regularly over the last 12 months.

He wooed the church’s 30,000 followers by pledging to financially support its centennial celebrations in 2018 if Labour was in Government. Ratana was “an important figure in the history of Maoridom” and were “entitled to some support”, he said.

Mr Little also pledged housing support for both Ratana and Maori generally, saying a Labour Government would help improve Maori home ownership rates – which are currently about 25%.

That could look like some election bribing.

Mr Little also criticised Prime Minister Bill English’s comments at Ratana yesterday. Mr English told Ratana members to “reawaken the spirit of enterprise” among Maori because Government had “reached the limits of what government can do – government grants, programmes, more public servants.”

Mr Little responded: “I come here to say that’s an abdication of leadership and an abdication of the responsibility of Government.”

Ratana Church senior secretary Piri Rurawhe told the Herald that Mr Little’s comments were “well received” and there was none of last year’s criticism.

Bill English seems to have received a good reception at Ratana on Monday despite Little’s criticism.

And Little also took a swipe at the Maori Party:

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Mr Little described the Maori Party’s claims about Ratana as “high-level trash talk”. He has all but ruled out a post-election coalition with the Maori Party and the Mana Movement, who are considering an agreement to work together.

Labour seem to be worried about the potential threat of the Maori and Mana parties to their party vote and their Maori electorates.

But the biggest attention seekers were Morgan and Peters. ODT: Morgan, Peters trade insults at Ratana Pa

Gareth Morgan and Winston Peters have traded insults at Ratana Pa today over whose political party is best for Maori.

Mr Morgan, who recently formed The Opportunities Party, “implored” the Ratana members to “call out” the New Zealand First party and Winston Peters because of their anti-Treaty of Waitangi views. He compared Mr Peters with former Act Party leader Don Brash, saying they were “black-and-white facsimiles of each other”.

Mr Morgan went further, describing Mr Peters as “nothing more than an Uncle Tom” and saying that he “gets away with this anti-Tteaty stuff” because he is Maori.

“The old adage that you can’t be racist against your own race – I don’t accept that excuse.”

Mr Morgan also urged the crowd at Ratana to give The Opportunities Party its party vote, saying it was the only party which would “take the Treaty of Waitangi conversation to non-Maori”.

He reiterated calls to make te reo Maori compulsory in schools and to create an Upper House in Parliament which would identify breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi in law-making.

When Mr Peters took his turn to speak at the pa, he only briefed touched on Mr Morgan’s comments.

“Excuse me for laughing, but it’s a long time since I have been ravaged by a toothless sheep,” he said.

He added that Mr Morgan was another rich man trying to enter politics, describing him as “a thinned-out version of Kim Dotcom”.

Criticising Mr Morgan’s proposed constitutional reforms, Mr Peters said Maori did not want an Upper House. “Seventy-five percent of them just want a house.”

He said Mr Morgan was “riding a motorbike through Mongolia” while he was defending Maori as a lawyer and in Parliament.

I suspect both Morgan and Peters were using their Ratana appearances to target wider audiences.

James Shaw spoke for the Green party but he must have been too nice, the media don’t seem to have given him much coverage.

This Herald headline wasn’t referring to Shaw’s input: Fighting talk as politicians visit Ratana

Green Party co-leader James Shaw talked of his party’s agreement to work with Labour, to address the issue of Maori poverty. He said Maori and Greens shared a focus on caring for the land, and the number of Maori voting Green had trebled in the last few elections.

“The Maori vote is becoming more powerful, and it’s more powerful when expressed with unity. This year you can vote for the status quo or vote for change, for being closed and defensive or open and welcoming, for fear or hope.”

And from Maori Television: Criticism, challenges, promises and jokes at Rātana

“We will field more Māori Candidates in more Māori seats then even before,” said James Shaw from the Greens.

It looks like Maori electorates and Maori party votes will be keenly fought after this election.



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  1. Pickled Possum

     /  25th January 2017

    As long as the foreshore and sea bed debacle is fresh in Maori minds Labour will never get their Maori loyalty Back. IMHO they are seen as the ultimate kaikaiwaiu = TRAITOR

    • PDB

       /  25th January 2017

      But still Maori overwhelmingly vote for Labour over all other parties………go figure.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  25th January 2017

        Link? Dash it all if so, didn’t they get the traitor memo written by that mouthy fellow who lives further up north..

    • Gezza

       /  25th January 2017

      They are fairweather friends to Maori. Clark certainly was. Ran round publicly, noisily directing departments, including ours, to all consult with Maori when making policy, to pay them off for their votes, but then just quietly shelved that approach after a respectable period.

  2. PDB

     /  25th January 2017

    That political genius Matt McCarten wrote off the Maori party back in 2012 saying;

    “If they had managed the strategy properly they would have all seven Maori seats instead of a tenuous hold on just three. They should rue the day they forced Harawira out.

    He was their hope in keeping the door open to Labour while being able to sit in a National government. More importantly, it would have kept both wings of their party together.

    Supporters like me then had to choose sides. It’s a no-brainer for me. The rise of Labour in recent weeks and the space that Harawira has been able to carve out means the future of the Maori Party is sealed.

    Key needed the Maori Party rump to have any chance to be a third-term Prime Minister. This week, that option disappeared”.


    Fact is the National party have done more to advance the Maori cause in the past 30+ years then Labour has ever done.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  25th January 2017

    I know Don Brash, and can say that he doesn’t resemble Winston Peters in any way.

    Gareth Morgan would have looked better had he paid the occasion the compliment of dressing formally for it.

    • PDB

       /  25th January 2017

      Morgan may have also made a better point of kids being forced to learn Maori if he could pronounce the word ‘Maori’ correctly………….

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th January 2017

        I wasn’t listening, so I missed that. His party will be a non-starter, I suspect.

  4. Brown

     /  25th January 2017

    Labour leader Andrew Little has emerged from his Ratana visit unscathed …

    Not surprised really, the price of manure is so high they don’t waste it like they used to.


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