Tau Henare auditioning for Speaker?

Nationa list MP Tau Henare announced via Twitter recently that he’d like to be considered for Lockwood Smith’s role as Parliament’s Speaker.

Felix Marwick (Newstalk ZB) collated and posted audio of some of Henare’s comments in parliament yesterday:

@felixmarwick

Earlier today @tauhenare gave the gallery a serve for not being in the chamber to cover Treaty Bills. We have video feeds to the office.

Here are some of @tauhenare ‘s interjections from the ZB audio archive. Just to prove we do pay attention

http://t.co/m4uJHgmC

He’s not demonstrating much gravitas there. But was sensitive to criticism and ‘nastiness’ on Twitter:

But there may be a less well publicised side to Henare, as these comments in parliament during speeches on the WAITAHA CLAIMS SETTLEMENT BILL yesterday indicate:

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: “I can say this, in the sure and certain knowledge that under the excellent chairmanship of my friend Mr Henare it is going to be dealt with efficiently and effectively…”

RINO TIRIKATENE (Labour—Te Tai Tonga): “I am looking forward to making my contribution as part of the Māori Affairs Committee, under the great leadership of my whanaunga Tau Henare over there.”

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations): “All I want to say is that the bill should proceed to the Māori Affairs Committee without delay and that, under the great leadership of Mr Henare and ably assisted by the other members of that committee…”

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Labour): “We have certainly heard under the stewardship of that great leader—Tau Henare of the Māori Affairs Committee…”

LOUISA WALL (Labour—Manurewa): “Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. E ngā mana, e ngā whānau o Ngāti Manuhiri, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. It is my pleasure to speak on this bill as a member of the Māori Affairs Committee and I want to tautoko what our chair, the Hon Tau Henare, has just said.”

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: “I want to commend the chair of our Māori Affairs Committee, the Hon Tau Henare, who is starting to grow both in vigour and in ability every time he stands up and makes a speech. He led the select committee well—he led the select committee well against a whole lot of tensions.”

RINO TIRIKATENE (Labour—Te Tai Tonga): “I am very pleased that the select committee, under the very capable, excellent leadership of Tau Henare, very Speaker-like in his control of our committee—very Speaker-like.”

The Mana plantation owner

There’s quite a bit more to what Hone Harawira has said than a bit of abuse. From a Newstalk ZB interview: Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Marwick: Now the attendance or non-attendance of both National Party Maori MPs and the Maori Party MPs at the hui organised by King Tuheitia seems to have ruffled your feathers somewhat. What is your objection to them not attending?

Harawira: No, actually I’m not objecting to them not attending, I’m objecting to the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t.

The fact of the matter is, people are jumping up and down about a phrase I used, right, but if people want me to stop using terms from Alabama in the 1950s then they should tell the Prime Minister to stop acting like a plantation owner from Alabama in the 1950s.

There’s a number of Maori MPs in his party, two of whom are high ranking ministers, they have their own mana, and they have their own standing in Maori society, and he should show them the respect that they deserve and allow them to make their own decision as to whether or not they’ll attend the national hui on water.

Marwick:: Do you think it was right to use such a pejorative term thought, because I know if I used it people would probably thump me and they’d be right to do so.

Harawira: Ah look Felix, you have to live with the things you say and I’m comfortable with the things I say.

My comment was about how the way in which the Prime Minister showed an appalling lack of understanding of the mana that his Maori MPs have. It’s an insult to them, (they should) make up their own mind.

What’s the point of having ministers that you want to rank highly in your cabinet, if you’re going to do all their thinking for them, particularly Maori ones.

And understand this, they’re not being invited as National Party MPs, they’re not being invited as Cabinet Ministers. It’s a national hui on water for Maori. It’s not an Iwi Leaders hui, it’s not a claimants hui, it’s not a Maori Council hui. It’s an open hui for Maori. They are Maori. They should come.

Marwick: Why should they?

Harawira: Because the issues that are going to be discussed there will probably lead to some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime, and your lifetime for that matter. That’s why. It is that important.

Water, and the status of water to Maori and to the nation are at stake here, and it’s important that everybody’s point of view is heard. They bring a different point of view to the table, like everybody else. They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

Marwick: What impact then do you think this hui could have on government policy, given the position that the Government’s already put out there?

Harawira: I’m really not sure. All I want to see is that Maori see water as an important issue, to make a decision on, that they set a timeframe on which that decision can be made with as wide a participation as possible from Maori people, and that they not be locked into a timeframe gerrymandered by the Prime Minister to facilitate the sale of assets that most New Zealanders are opposed to.

Aside from important issues like:

  • what 1950’s Alabama has got to do with slavery or New Zealand?
  • why “some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime” will come from a hui organised at very short notice
  • if water is such an important issue for the country why is the hui so maori dominated
  • on what basis Harawira speaks for the hui
  • how representative of Maori as a whole the hui will be
  • how representative of the whole country the hui will be

…there’s a key point to take from this.

Harawira’s main objection regarding the National Party Maori MPs seems to be that “the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t“.

So he says “They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

As Harawira says, “they have their own mana“. Maybe they can decide for themselves what they do and who they listen to. Why should National Party MPs take their orders from the Mana plantation owner?

Interviews with Hone Harawira

Felix Marwick’s interview with Hone Harawira yesterday:

Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Chief political reporter Felix Marwick talks to Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira about his use of the term ‘house niggers’ in a Facebook post in relation to Maori MPs and the issue of a national hui on water rights

Online report: Harawira denies calling MPs ‘n*****s’

TV One on Breakfast (video):

‘I didn’t call anyone a house n*****’ – Harawira

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he “didn’t call anybody a house n*****”, and New Zealand needs to “mature”.

News report: I have ‘nothing to apologise’ for – Harawira

TV3 Firstline (report and video):

Hone claims win for Sharples’ hui u-turn video

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says his “house nigger” comment on Facebook yesterday led to the Maori Party’s u-turn on attending a hui on water ownership.

Despite admitting his choice of words was questionable, Mr Harawira is claiming victory for convincing Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to attend.

Campbell Live (Thursday – report and video)

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says his ‘N-word’ slur was never directed at his former Maori Party colleagues.

Dunne has given Key a get out of Super free card

John Key surprised many when he painted himself into a Super corner, saying the age of entitlement would never go up while he’s Prime Minister. Our Super is an escalating cost issue that screams for a cross party discussion and solution. Key backed further into his corner, until a Dunne deal.

Peter Dunne has not only proposed a potential way out, partly at least, he has ensured National must discuss it. United Future’s Flexi-Super has not only met with Key’s approval to consider – PM open to ‘flexi-super’ idea – it is written in the National/UnitedFuture Confidence & Supply agreement to address it.

Confidence and Supply Agreement

The government notes that United Future has been committed to its “Flexi-Superannuation” proposal as a key part of its retirement policy and agrees that a government discussion document investigating this issue will be developed.

Developing this discussion document is scheduled for next year.

Flexi-Super may be cost neutral, and Key likes the idea that it gives people options on the timing of their retirement.

But there are other benefits that may help pay for Super. If more people choose to work longer before taking up Super they will still be earning taxes, which are needed to fund Super.

And with a rapidly aging population and diminishing younger population we may need the older contingent staying in work for longer, or our workforce will keep shrinking.

Flexi-Key

Flexi-Super may be the key to giving Key the flexibility to start to address Super without having to back off his position of not raising the age of eligibility.

And this doesn’t rule out taking this further. It gives key an opportunity to at least introduce some flexibility into our Super scheme, it starts the ball rolling, which will hopefully lead to more discussions with more parties on how to deal with our Super properly for the long term.

Flexi-Shearer?

And if David Shearer is serious about a cross-party  approach (there’s no reason to doubt that) then he should at least get on board the Flexi-Super start. He may be the leader that has to carry on with a comprehensive look at Super.

NOTES:

  • Peter Dunne and United Future are often criticised (ignorantly) for being a waste of space in parliament. Flexi-Super, written into the C&R, further disproves this by providing a sensible toe in the door, and could be the catalyst that leads to finally addressing Super properly.
  • @felixmarwick BTW I demand royalties for the use of “flexi super”
    @PeterDunneMP Happy to acknowledge you!