Little on failing Maori

Labour have often been accused of taking their Maori support and Maori seats for granted. They lost seats when the Maori MPs split and formed the Maori Party, but they have won all but one of them back.

In an interview on The Nation Andrew Little blasted the Maori Party – “the Maori Party has totally failed Maori” but avoided acknowledging he had demoted his Maori MPs.

Lisa Owen: So the Maori King has given Nanaia Mahuta a serve this week and is putting his support behind the potential Maori Party candidate in Hauraki-Waikato. He says she’s got no mana after being moved down the party rankings. Do you take responsibility for that loss of mana because you demoted her?

Andrew Little: No. I think if the Maori King wants to hitch his wagon to a failing National Party and a Maori Party that has just totally failed Maori, failed to deliver anything meaningful to Maori, it’s his prerogative.

Lisa Owen: This is about Nanaia Mahuta being moved down the rankings, Mr Little.

Andrew Little: I backed Nanaia, who is not only in my shadow cabinet but in the front bench, and—

Lisa Owen: No, she’s not on the front bench, Mr Little.

Andrew Little: Yes, she is.

Lisa Owen: No, she’s not. The front bench in Parliament—The physical front bench in Parliament is, what, eight seats? She’s not on that front bench.

Mahuta is currently ranked 11. Here is the seating plan as at 8 March 2017, after Jacinda Ardern’s promotion to deputy this week:


Mahuta is clearly not on the front bench. Was Little trying to fib, or did he not remember where Mahuta was placed?

Andrew Little: She is in the group that meets every week to lead the direction of the caucus and the party. She’s in that group.

Lisa Owen: How many spots did she drop down, Mr Little?

Andrew Little: We have two Maori on the front row—

Lisa Owen: Mr Little, for clarity, how many spots has she dropped down?

Andrew Little: She has—We have two Maori on the front bench. We have, I think now, five Maori in our shadow cabinet.

I can see just one Maori MP in the front row, Kelvin Davis.

Mahuta and Whatiri are in the second row.

Henare (who Labour tried to move out of his electorate), Rurawhe and Tirikatene are in the back row,

Lisa Owen: Do you not want to answer that question? How many spots has she dropped down?

Andrew Little: But you’re—If you—

Lisa Owen: How many spots, Mr Little? It’s a simple question.

Andrew Little: If you want to run to me the Maori Party line, by all means, you know, go ahead. I back our Maori caucus. We have an outstanding Maori caucus.

Lisa Owen: You demoted Nanaia Mahuta.

Mahuta was 6 on Labour’s list in 2014 (Davis was 18). David Cunliffe promoted Mahuta to 4, but Little dropped her to 11.

Andrew Little: We have in Nanaia an outstanding advocate for Maori. She’s doing terrific things for Maniapoto right now, and we’re going to have a fantastic Maori caucus after the election and they’re not going to be the lap dogs of anybody. They’re not going to be called in on a grace and favour basis, as Maori MPs are with the National Party right now.

Lisa Owen: Mr Little, how many spots did you demote her?

Andrew Little: They are part of the Labour DNA. They’ll be sitting around that Cabinet table. They’ll be sitting around the caucus, and Labour will be capable of doing way more for Maori than the Maori Party, shackled to the National Party, could ever do.

Current ranking of all of Labour’s Maori MPs:

  • Kelvin Davis 7
    Spokesperson for Māori Development
    Spokesperson for Corrections
    Spokesperson for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
  • Nanaia Mahuta 11
    Spokesperson for Conservation
    Spokesperson for Whānau Ora
  • Meka Whaitiri 13
    Spokesperson for Local Government
    Associate Primary Industries Spokesperson. Associate Food Safety Spokesperson, Economic Development (incl Regional Development), Trade and Export Growth.
  • Peeni Henare 22
    Spokesperson for Urban Māori, Māori Broadcasting, & State Services.
    Associate Māori Development and Economic Development.
  • Adrian Rurawhe 24
    Spokesperson for Internal Affairs
    Associate Education (Māori) Spokesperson
    Caucus Secretary
  • Rino Tiraketene 28
    Spokesperson for Fisheries
    Spokesperson for Customs

None of those are major portfolios, although Davis has been getting some attention with Corrections.

In his ‘State of the Nation’ speech in January Little made no mention at al of any Maori issues – see Maori 0f Little importance?

Mahuta faces a major challenge from a Maori Party candidate endorsed by the Maori king in her Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

See Maiki Sherman: What the King’s move means in Māori Game of Thrones

King Tuheitia then turned to politics. He spoke of having kept a close eye on Parliament since his surprise address at last year’s coronation celebrations. It was there he severed all ties to Labour. Part of this was due to Labour’s demotion of Nanaia Mahuta.

“Just looking what Labour has done to Nanaia… she’s gone right to the backbench now.”

There were sighs from the marae. Not of surprise but of sadness.

“To me she’s got no mana in there now,” he said.

King Tuheitia then expressed his dismay at Labour’s newly elected deputy leader, Jacinda Ardern. “She’s only been in there five minutes…how long’s Nanaia been in there? 21 years.”

He criticised Labour’s treatment of its other Māori MPs, including Peeni Henare. If you’re wondering what he’s referring to, here’s a reminder – Willie Jackson, Tāmaki Makaurau.

Little is being strongly challenged by King Tuheitia on his apparent lack of commitment to Maori MPs.

Making false claims about Mahuta’s Labour ranking won’t help her or Little’s mana in Maoridom.

With just two seats the Maori Party has been limited in what they could do in Government but they can claim achievements.

Little even acknowledges this by having a Spokesperson for Whanau Ora – Nanaia Mahuta.Whanau Ora is regarded as a cornerstone of the Maori Party coalition agreement with National.

Is the Maori Party failing? Or is Little failing on Maori?


Leave a comment


  1. Strong For Life

     /  12th March 2017

    How many people watch The Nation?

    • Corky

       /  12th March 2017

      Take away the middle-class, latte slurpers, Maori and immigrants, the young, the dumb, the super intelligent, and, er, its just us watching.

    • Gezza

       /  13th March 2017

      I gave up around I think October last year. It’s a rubbish program. Wouldn’t even bother to watch it again unless someone said there was some guest specifically worth hearing who managed to get a word in, or I heard they’ve got rid of Lisa Owen & Patrick ShitIforgothis name from it.

      • Gezza

         /  13th March 2017

        Gower. Gaak!, i’ve remembered it now. Listening to him is worse than my backache. 🙄

  2. Corky

     /  12th March 2017

    When a man shoots himself in the foot, in the forest, does it make a sound voters will hear?
    You betcha!

    • Blazer

       /  12th March 2017

      maybe you cant see the …wood for the….trees…the voters are Whatsinitforme voters.

  3. Meantime National has done more for Maori in the last 40 years than all others combined, according to PDB … and National supporters (plus anyone equally ‘Centre’ or further Right) are the ones who least support it … Irony abounds today!

    I reckon what’s really going on is that our ‘modified Westminster [so-called] democracy’ has failed Maori all along – more-or-less – except when they expertly played the pakeha game.

    Apirana Ngata and subsequent Maori MPs in league with Labour is an example of this and so, today, is the Maori Party … They play the game really really well …

    National have ‘ceded pakeha, Right-Wing sovereignty’ in exchange for maintaining power.

    The shortcomings of the whole situation naturally show up within the Party with the longest Maori affiliation, Labour …

    What’s also ‘showing up’ is the dynamic political and economic powerhouse future Maori are becoming …

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  12th March 2017

      Yes, the oligarchy has the wealth and power. Ordinary Maori are their peasant serfs. PZ is their fan.

      • Oh yes Alan … and this is radically different from Pakehadom, where there is no oligarchy … and no wage-slave, peasant serfs …

        Where does it say anything remotely like I am a fan of any of this …

        Oh yes … Sorry … “dynamic political and economic powerhouse future Maori are becoming …”

        Big No, No … I said something positive about Maori, didn’t I?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  12th March 2017

          You celebrated the power of the feudal empires.

          • And you celebrate the “power and wealth” of the neo-feudal empires Alan …

            The morphing of Business Roundtable into NZ Initiative … Power Brokers masquerading as Think Tanks … The purchasers of governments and government policy … by hook or crook, money or threat …

            The Oligarchy … utterly dependent on wage-slave serfdom for their CEO’s salaries and inflated Director’s fees …

            … The Diff … ?

            No blood ties is it? That makes it okay …?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th March 2017

              No I don’t. I celebrate the opportunity for anyone to follow their inspiration and make a success of it without being blocked by the dead hands of bureaucracy, peer pressure, autocracy or group think.

            • … which pretty much covers every possibility of anything you don’t agree with … anything except “the private sector” …

    • Gezza

       /  13th March 2017

      “What’s also ‘showing up’ is the dynamic political and economic powerhouse future Maori are becoming …”

      Well, I don’t see it showing up yet, but I’m hoping it soon will. I’m sick of listening to some pakeha putting all Maori down & that’d be the best way to poke them in the eye. Putting the boot into the gangs would help. They drag Maori down, justifiably, in the eyes of so many pakeha, because they’re always going to be whanau/Hapu, whereas apart from maybe some immediate family members, most pakeha would probably reject their ratbags who belonged to gangs full of low life thugs like these until they got out of them.

      So, where are you seeing this powerhous stuff happening PZ?

      • Aside from the operation and gains of the Maori Party Gezza, it resides in a whole lot of stuff you don’t see unless you look for it … because hapu iwi Maori incorporation, business and governance only makes the News if something goes wrong …

        “Since the time of settlement the asset base has grown from approximately $10m in 1996 to over $658m as at June 2012. Over that time Te Rūnanga has made distributions and invested over $254m in tribal development, much of that being direct to our Papatipu Rūnanga and tribal members through a matched savings programme, education scholarships and grants and the like.”

        What He Korowai Trust is achieving in Kaitaia is spectacular …

        • Gezza

           /  13th March 2017

          Yes I think I came across something about He Korowai Trust a couple of months back & posted a comment about why we never hear about it. They’re not sitting around moaning about pakeha injustice & Nga Puhi’s settlement claim not being resolved to everyone’s satisfaction like some vocal whiners – theyre getting on with working with what they have got so far. Good on them. Ngai Tahu I’m a bit less certain about. Certainly more than a few whining about O’Reagan & crew creaming it. But, as you say, the trivial, shallow, sensationalist, pander-to-the-lowest-common-denominator Andrea Vance, Patrick Gower, Katie Bradford-fronted tv msm & their online & print equivalents wouldn’t bother to report on quiet success stories & actual facts, would they?

          • No, they certainly wouldn’t …

            I believe that if it could be studied – and someone probably has done so – we would find the media ladles 5 x the negativity on things Maori as things Pakeha … there’s only one name for that … institutionalised racism …

            Perhaps thats what the “whining about O’Reagan & crew creaming it” actually is? Consociationalist theory talks quite openly about elite leadership groups, and really, when you think about it, maybe they are inescapable?

            Pakeha certainly have them …

  4. PDB

     /  12th March 2017

    Labour have taken the Maori vote for granted for decades so it would be no surprise if the Maori Party do well this election. The Pacific Island community should wake up as well and realise Labour have done nothing for them also.

  5. Marner

     /  12th March 2017

    Labour must be doing something right, because Marama Fox, co-leader of the Maori Party, went to them to see if she could stand for Labour this election. Only chance she thought she get re-elected apparently.

  6. PDB

     /  12th March 2017

    Little carries on the attack of the Maori King and his advisors………

    I couldn’t care who wins the Maori seats (except I hope Hone is defeated again) but hopefully Labour get less party votes from those on the Maori electorate roll because of this stoush with the Maori/Mana parties.


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