Maori Party tangi

The Māori Party isn’t dead yet – they may or may not survive – but ‘funeral’ is a shortened version of tangihanga anyway.

Māori dictionary definition of tangi:

verb: to cry, mourn, weep, weep over

noun: sound, intonation, mourning, grief, sorrow, weeping, lament, salute, wave

There has been weeping and grieving over the electorate loss of Te Ururoa Flavell, the failure of Howie Tamati in his electorate, and therefore the exit from Parliament of both Flavell and Marama Fox.

I also lament what could be the end of the Māori Party. It will be difficult for them to come back from this, unless perhaps Labour get into Government this term and do another foreshore and seabed type betrayal of their strengthened Māori support.

Flavell was not flashy , but he was a hard working MP and Minister, dedicated to the Māori cause. He is a big loss.

Fox was a first term MP but she made a big impression. She had some controversial ideas, but she always argued her case with gusto and with passion. She had to be one of the better performing first termers. Sad also to see her go.

Māori voters have proven to be good tactical voters at times in the past, but I think they stuffed up this election, or may have, depending on the outcome of governing arrangements.

If Labour get to form the next government their increased number of Māori MPs may mean better Māori representation – or not. Labour has a history of not delivering.

It seems that a number of Māori voters were besotted with Jacinda Ardern, but Ardern has not shown a lot of connection with and empathy for Māori. She barely advocated on Māori issues in the election debates, she didn’t give them much attention in her campaigning. There was no sign of Māori at her election night speech.

Since then Ardern has said she will not agree to a referendum on the Māori seats in negotiations with NZ First. That’s a positive for Māori if she sticks to it, but what if that makes a coalition with NZ First impossible?

What if for any reason Labour doesn’t get to form the next Government?

Without the Māori Party there will be reduced Māori representation where it matters. It’s hard to even think of which National MP might be Minister of Māori Affairs, a role filled by Māori Party MPs over the last three terms.

NZ First might even negotiate a Māori seat referendum with National, the latter actually having the abolition of the Māori seats in their policy but left alone while they included the Māori Party in government.

If there is a general referendum on the Māori seats they may well end up being scrapped.

The Māori Party may not quite be ready for tangihanga, but Māori voters may end up doing some wailing and lamenting as a result of them dumping the party whose sole purpose was to promote Māori interests.

The tangi may have only just begun.

Two Maori seats appear to be safe

There had been reports that Te Ururoa Flavell was being run very close by Labour’s Tamati Coffey in Waiariki, but a Maori television/Reid Research poll suggests otherwise.

  • Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party) 60.1%
  • Tamati Coffey (Labour) 39.9%

It was a small sample size of 400 but that looks to be a comfortable lead. If Flavell wins this the Maori Party will be safely back into Parliament.

And Nanaia Mahuta is even more comfortable in Hauraki-Waikato:

  • Nanaia Mahuta (Labour) 78%
  • Rahui Papa (Maori Party) 22%

The Maori King’s backing of the Maori Party doesn’t seem to have made any difference there.

But both polls were had small sample sizes of 400 and were conducted from 11 July to 3 September, an unusually long polling period.

Both polls included party support but over such a period makes them of dubious value now.

http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/flavell-runs-polls

http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/house-mahuta-rules-polls

 

 

Maori Party versus Labour

A key contest this election is between the Maori Party and Labour, especially between Labour’s Maori MPs.

It is not certain that the Maori Party will survive the election, but if they do there are reports that Labour’s Maori MPs won’t allow a coalition with them.

Te Ururoa Flavell appears to have a tight battle with Tamati Coffey in the Waiariki seat. If Flavell loses that puts his party at risk.

The Maori party has another lifeline – Howie Tamati has polled ahead of Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe in Te Tai Hauāuru, and if he wins the Maori party will also survive.

If either or both Flavel and Tamati win then the Maori Party survive. There also seems to be a reasonable chance of them getting a second MP, either Tamati if he wins, or Marama Fox off the list again. There’s an outside chance of three MPs.

But If the Maori Party survive they have two problems having an influence in government. With National slipping repeating the arrangements of the last two terms looks slim.

The Maori Party are probably a better fit with Labour, but they seem to have a problem there too.

Jon Stokes: Labour’s Maori MPs will not allow a coalition with Maori Party

The dramatic change in the political landscape means even greater importance around the battle for the Māori seats. The rise of Labour has come by and large at the expense of its likely coalition partners, most notably the Greens and NZ First. Until recently Labour required both parties, and some, to form a government. Now a Labour, Greens and Māori Party arrangement could also be an option.

However, while this works in theory, in reality, it is nonsense and won’t happen.

The Labour Māori caucus would not allow any deal with the Māori Party. Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell would likely expect to keep the Minister of Māori Development and Whanau Ora portfolios. This won’t happen under a Labour Māori caucus led by Willie Jackson and Kelvin Davis.

It seems nonsensical to me that Labour’s Maori MPs would refuse a coalition with the Maori Party.

For one thing it could significantly reduce Labour’s coalition negotiating strength. On current polling they could feasibly form a government with Greens+Maori or alternately with NZ First, and theoretically with both NZ First and the Maori Party.

If there is no chance of the Maori Party being involved that means Labour may only have one option, NZ First, and that strengthens Winston’s hand significantly, and he wants an anti-Maori seat referendum.

While Jacinda Ardern has stepped up when she took over the Labour leadership Kelvin Davis seems to have taken to his new responsibilities far less smartly.

Will Ardern pull Davis and Jackson into line over dealing with the Maori Party? Or will Maori rivalries be one of the first threats to unity in the new government (presuming Labour leads it)?

Poll: Labour Maori MP trails

A Māori Television poll in the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate has the current Labour MP trailing significantly.

  • Howie Tamati (Maori Party) 52%
  • Adrian Rurawhe (Labour) 39%
  • Jack McDonald (Greens) 9.1%

2014 electorate results:

  • Adrian Ruawhe 8089 (41.34%)
  • Chris McKenzie 6,535 (33.40%)
  • Jack McDonald 3,004 (15.35%)
  • Jordan Winiata 1,940 (9.91%)

Tamati may be benefiting because Mana are not standing a candidate this year.

Māori without landline reason for low rating – Labour MP

Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe has blamed the lack of landline phones in Māori households for the reason why he’s trailing Māori Party’s Howie Tamati in Māori Television’s latest poll.

“The realities of polling in Maori electorates, 75 percent don’t have landlines. So they are never going to get polled,’ Rurawhe said. “I was behind in 2014 and picked up a whole 13 percentage points between the 2014 poll and election day.”

People without landlines could as easily affect other candidates.

If Tamati wins that makes current MP Marama Fox’s chances of returning to Parliament.

Fox is currently a list MP and is trailing in a poll in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti  electorate:

  • Meka Whatira (Labour) 55%
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party) 39%
  • Dr Elizabeth Kerekere (Greens) 6%

See Fox chasing tough odds

Poll on party support compared to 2015 results in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti:

  • Labour 50.4% (47.38)
  • Maori 21.1% (12.19%)
  • NZ First 12.0% (11.25%)
  • Green 7.5% (10.28%)
  • National 5.9% (5.37%)

Poll on party support (compared to 2015 results) in Te Tai Hauāuru:

  • Labour 41.8% (42.23)
  • Maori 24% (17.64%)
  • National 11.2% (7.11%)
  • NZ First 11% (11.79%)
  • Green 9% (11.93%)
  • TOP 1.3%
  • Mana 1.3% (Internet Mana 6.82%)

In both of those Labour and NZ First support is holding, Maori party support has risen, Greens have slipped.

Appalling non-apology from Hosking, TVNZ

On Seven Sharp last night Mike Hosking upset the Māori Party with a comment on voting. He said to co-presenter Toni Street:

“You can’t vote for the Māori Party because you’re not enrolled on the Maori electorate”.

That appears to be incorrect, or at least misleading, because you can party vote for any party, including the Māori Party.

The Maori Party complained in a media statement:

Māori Party co-leaders
Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox
24 August, 2017

Ill-informed Hosking needs to learn the rules

Māori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox are questioning the ability of TVNZ presenter Mike Hosking to host any election debates after his major blunder on Seven Sharp last night.

Mr Flavell says he was disappointed by Mr Hosking’s ill-informed comments last night when the Seven Sharp host said people on the general roll can’t give their party vote to the Māori Party.

“He is just plain incompetent – pure and simple. How can Mr Hosking host a debate on the election when he clearly has no idea on an issue around the party vote?

“The Māori Party has been a registered political party since July 2004. You can vote ‘party vote Māori Party’ whether you are on the General or Māori Roll and anyone and everyone can give their party vote to the Māori Party,” says Ms Fox.

“How can it take more than 13 years for the media to understand you don’t have to be Māori to vote Māori Party? Those on the Māori roll get the extra bonus of being able to vote for the Māori Party in the electorate as well.

“The information Mr Hosking gave out last night was misleading and irresponsible. He should do his homework,” says Ms Fox.

“It’s important to give the public the correct information, keep the voters informed and having a person who is so ill-informed hosting the debates is amateur.”

Mr Flavell says the show’s producers have agreed to highlight the mistake and a correction will be aired tonight.

“But frankly the damage has been done. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. There will be some who watched last night’s show, who don’t watch it tonight,” Mr Flavell says.

TVNZ stated:

“We will make a clarification on tonight’s show to clear up any confusion. We advised the Māori Party that we would be setting the record straight on tonight’s show a couple of hours before they issued their media release.”

Tonight Hosking said at some stage through the ‘show’ (not at the start):

“Small clarification for you.

“Now last night in a throw-away line I appear to have confused the Māori Party around the rules of voting in MMP.

“What I was suggesting, what I was meaning, was that the Maori Party, as their representation stands, is an electorate party.

That’s incorrect. The Māori Party has one electorate MP (Flavell) and one list MP (Marama Fox).

“In other words they are only in Parliament because they won an electorate seat. Therefore what I said in referring to voting for them was to vote for them in a Maori electorate you had to be on the Māori roll, which is true.

“Now the fact that anyone can vote for them as a list party I automatically assumed we all knew, given we’ve been doing it for 20 years for goodness sake and it went without saying.

“So hopefully that clears all of that up.”

That’s an appalling non-clarification and non-apology. The only thing it clears up is how badly Hosking has handled it.

He is sort of correct, you can only give an electorate vote for the Māori Party in an electorate they are standing in, and they only stand candidates in Maori electorates. But he explained that very poorly.

And he hasn’t apologised at all for his misleading statement last night, and he hasn’t explained that anyone on any roll can party vote for the Māori Party.

Hosking has made things worse for himself and for TVNZ.

For this Hosking deserves to be dumped from leaders’ debates – at least from the small party leaders’ debate that the Maori party will participate in.

Maori versus Peters on referendum bottom line

I think NZ First have always had a policy to have a referendum on whether to retain the Maori seats in Parliament or not.

The only different yesterday was Winston Peters saying it was a non-negotiable policy this election. He repeated his party’s referendum policy but made it clear which outcome he wanted – scrapping the seats. The other outcome he no doubt wants is picking up some anti-Maori votes, an easy target against a minority.

Parliament has to balance the need to represent majority wishes with the need to protect minorities. Referendums are useful for some things but are a democratic risk when they attack a minority representation in Parliament.

RNZ:  Peter’s referendum call would sideline Māori – Fox

At his party’s annual convention in Auckland, Mr Peters said the Māori seats should go and promised a mid-term binding referendum on whether to abolish the seven seats. Voters would also decide whether to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament to 100.

“My strategy is to tell everyone out there that you will not be talking to New Zealand First unless you want a referendum on both those issues – mid-term after this election.”

Maori Party list MP Marama Fox (in Parliament through the overall party vote)…

…said the seats could go only when disparity was removed for Māori in this country.

“We have the highest … rates of youth suicide in the world. We have the highest rates of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) for Māori women in the world.

“We have a shorter life expectancy – and so on and so on and so on, and Winston Peters is merely politicking for votes and trying to take us back to the good old days of colonisation where you stick Māori in the corner and don’t give them a voice.”

Labour Maori electorate MP Kelvin Davis…

…said it was probably smart politics on Mr Peters’ part to attack Māori and politicians in the two-pronged referendum.

“The majority love hearing that sort of stuff: ‘we’re all New Zealanders, we should all be the same’.

“Well, the reality is, tangata whenua have different views, different values and we should be the ones that decide whether those seats stay or go.”

Shane Jones agreed with this earlier this month:

That was also the view of new New Zealand First candidate for Whangārei, Shane Jones, when asked earlier this month on TV3’s The Hui whether Māori seats should stay or go.

He said Māori seats should continue to exist “as long as people of Māori extraction remain on them and want them to continue”.

I think that’s a fair position. As long as every vote is equal as it is under MMP then I don’t have a problem with whether we have Maori electorates or not – in fact if it gives Maori better representation that’s a good thing.

The rest of us should look at how to improve our own representation. Our best way of doing that is by tactical voting in general elections, not in voting away a minority’s preference for their own representation.

Little concedes Greens+NZ First required

Andrew Little has conceded that Labour will need both the Greens and NZ First to form a coalition.

So the election is shaping up to be National versus three parties – but don’t forget the Maori Party.

RNZ:  Little defends Labour’s record on helping Māori

Mr Little did not rule out the party as a coalition partner, and allowed that both Mr Jones and Winston Peters could be considered for ministerial positions under a Labour government.

“I think when you’re putting together a coalition government, obviously you’ve got your potential coalition partners.

“For us it is naturally the Greens, obviously New Zealand First as well.”

“There’s going to be bids put up and there’s going to be what is needed to have a strong stable government pulled it together, and that would almost certainly involve MPs from each of those parties in a Cabinet.

“Quite what the detail of that is, how that looks, would be a matter for any discussions after the election.”

While Little said “For us it is naturally the Greens, obviously New Zealand First as well” that is a new concession, and is far from a natural position for Labour to be in.

A lot was said last year when Labour tied their election chances with the Greens through a Memorandum of Understanding.

The clear understanding from this was that Labour had conceded that they couldn’t compete on their own with National any more, after their support had slid from being the leading party in 2005 to trailing National by 22% in the 2014 election.

Labour’s share of election vote has gone down in every election this century. Recent polls have them stuck in the twenties with a real risk of a slump similar to last election.

Labour+Greens was not the game-changer that Labour hoped for. It seemed to reinforce their non-major party status and the polls failed to lift.

The Greens also haven’t lifted their support, and with their combined support in polls being around 40% the likelihood of a Labour+Green coalition looks low.

And it looks like it could be worse than just requiring both Greens and NZ First to form a government.

Labour are at real risk of not having a majority in a Labour+Greens+NZ First arrangement.

Both Greens and NZ First are looking likely to get 10-15% of the vote. If Labour get something 25% like last election (a distinct possibility and it could go lower) and both Greens and NZ First got more than 12.5% each the Green+NZ First vote could easily be higher than Labour’s.

That means it’s quite possible Labour could have less than half the say in a coalition, less than half the say on policies and less than half the ministers in Cabinet (if NZ First doesn’t go with National).

With both Winston Peters and Shane Jones having histories of disdain for the Greens their combined vote may not be strong against Labour’s, but it Little’s hope that “there’s going to be what is needed to have a strong stable government pulled it together” – Greens and NZ First – looks a long shot.

The choices this election look to be:

  • National+NZ First with National having about 3 times the vote of NZ First
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First with no party having a majority
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First with Labour having a small majority

The dynamics of a Labour led coalition will depend not just on whether Labour gets a majority or not, but also which of Greens and NZ First is the larger partner.

Greens are currently polling better but their support tends to fall off in campaigns, while NZ First support has tended to surge.

Voters will be considering whether it is time to dump National after three terms, but also have to wonder what a Labour+Green+NZ First alternative would look like, and try to guess what sort of power balance and stability a tri-party coalition might have.

Don’t forget the Maori Party.

If voters are reluctant to ditch National for fear of the alternative the National vote may hold up in the mid forties.

If the Maori Party are successful in their head to head battle with Labour over Maori seats and get a couple more seats that could make things very interesting.

(Little) said Labour’s Māori representation was going from strength to strength and, after the election, Labour would have the largest representation of Māori of any party in the history of New Zealand.

“If you look at the track record of the Māori Party, they’ve hitched their wagon to the National Party government for the last nine years, actually things have got worse for Māori.

Little has made it clear that Labour don’t want the Maori Party in their coalition considerations.

National have shown a consistent willingness to work with the Maori Party, and it is feasible they could have a choice between NZ First and the Maori Party to form the next government, and possibly also ACT+Dunne as another option.

In comparison Labour seems to only be considering a Labour+Green+NZ First coalition. With barely a majority or a minority in that mix that potentially puts them in a very weak bargaining position.

Labour risk becoming political lame ducks, and if voters get this perception before voting it could turn out badly.

Flavell: “Not aligned with Labour too much”

In an interview with The Nation yesterday Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell pointed out a number of differences between his party and Labour.

On immigration

Okay. The other week on The Hui, Shane Taurima said that we need to taihoa on immigration. So too many people were coming in, he said. What’s the right number in the Maori Party’s point of view, if 75,000 is too much? 

Flavell: From memory, I can’t exactly remember the amount that we set previously, but I think against the issues that have been raised around housing and those sorts of issues recently, we have to reset that. We haven’t come to a figure at this point in time.

Are you kind of aligned with Labour? You want it to go down to about 25,000 a year? 

Flavell: Not aligned with Labour too much.

The bus, and the one that’s coloured red

Well, okay, about that, Mr Flavell. The thing is if National’s going to govern without New Zealand First, it needs to bolster the numbers of its support parties, and your party, realistically, is the one that is a contender for getting extra seats. So what can they do for you — the National Party, to help you get more of your people over the line? 

Flavell: Well, that’s for them to consider.

Have you had a chat about it, though? 

Flavell: No, we haven’t had a chat about it, because that’s our responsibility to convince our people that we are the right option for them, against a party that continually throws them under the bus. You know, we’ve got to remember, in terms of our relationship—

Which party throws them under the bus? 

Flavell: The one that’s coloured in red.

On kaupapa

Okay, well, you’ve raised Labour there. Can you actually work with Labour in government? You say you can work with both parties, but you keep saying, and your people keep saying, that Labour throws Maori under the bus. So are you prepared to work with them in a government? 

Flavell: The practical situation is that we’ve expressed a desire to work with other people across the political spectrum, when whatever they’re offering fits our kaupapa. And if it does, that’s fine. But unfortunately, at this point in time, the leader of the Labour—

Well, does it? I’m confused here. Does Labour’s fit your kaupapa? 

Flavell: Now and again, but not too often, because clearly we vote differently from them. And the other part is that the leadership of the Labour Party—

So unlikely that you would be able to work with Labour, if the kaupapa doesn’t fit very often, as you just said. 

Flavell: That’s true. That’s true. And that’s declared. But the thing is that the leadership of the Labour Party have declared that they actually don’t want to work with us, which is a bit of a problem. So we’ll find out on election night when they need the numbers.

Unless Labour improve to a lot over their current poll ceiling of around 30% they will need at least NZ First or Greens to form a coalition, possibly both, or alternately one plus the Maori Party.

But at the moment Labour are campaigning strongly and at times bitterly against the Maori Party.

The Maori Party has a cooperation agreement with Hone Harawira and the Mana Party to improve their chances against Labour in September’s election.

The Nation:  Interview: David Seymour, Peter Dunne, Te Ururoa Flavell

Scoop: transcript

More defence of Labour Māori rankings

Labour has been doing a lot of defending of the decision of Maori electorate MPs to not stand on the party list, and the resulting lack of Maori candidates in the top fifteen of the list.

Kelvin Davis has joined in the defensive chorus.

RNZ: Kelvin Davis defends Labour’s Māori rankings

Labour’s party list is a “total victory” for Māori despite no Māori being ranked in the top 15, MP Kelvin Davis says.

Willow-Jane Prime is the party’s highest-ranked Māori candidate, at number 16 on the list.

But Mr Davis, who was unranked and would instead defend his Te Tai Tokerau seat, told TV3’s The Hui that the party strategy of not having its Māori electorate MPs stand on the list had been successful.

It’s premature to be claiming success over four months out from the election.

Will Labour MPs keep defending their strategy right through to the election?

On current polling, there would be 12 Māori MPs in the Labour caucus after the election, he said.

“We’re going to have double figures of Maori – this is going to be history-making.”

He was confident Labour would retain its six Māori seats and bring in several others off the list, including Ms Prime, Kiri Allan and Willie Jackson.

One Māori seat loss for Labour would be a failure for the strategy.

And there is a possible unintended consequence if Labour keep promoting the chances of a disproportionate number of Māori MPs – no Māori  voters may be put off voting for Labour. I have heard that sentiment expressed already.

There is still a lot of resentment about Labour’s actions on the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

And there is also wider historical resentment about how Labour have taken Māori votes but have given little in return.

Can Labour be trusted to deliver for Māori if they lead the next government?

Possibly the best way of keeping Labour honest on Māori issues is also having a stronger voice from the Māori Party – especially if the Māori Party held the balance of power. They could be able to put a lot of pressure on a Labour caucus that is about one third Māori.

And if Labour fails to form the next government at least the Māori Party has a proven record of extracting some wins from a National led government.

Māori have proven to be smart tactical voters.

It could be a smart tactic to ensure Māori  interests are covered by both Labour and the Māori Party.

The Nation – Maori and Mana parties

This morning on The Nation at 9:30 am (repeated Sunday morning 10:00 am):

When the Maori and Mana parties signed an agreement to work together in election year, it looked like their bad blood could be a thing of the past. But with their recent spat over the Ture Whenua or Maori Land Bill, cracks have already started to show… we’ll talk to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

Fox says the strength of the Mana/Maori Party alliance is they can talk about their differences

“The Ture Whenua is a good bill.”

Harawira called the Ture Whenua bill a poisonous cancer. Is that irrational?

Fox: Yes.

She is a refreshingly no-nonsense politician.

She says there is no impasse over the bill, they have arranged to meet and talk it over.

‘A vote for Maori Party is a vote for National’ is “ridiculous”.

“”I think we punch above our weight”.

On Little saying the Maori Party was not kaupapa – after the 4% poll Fox says that senior Labour MPs sidled up and asked if they could consider supporting Maori (but I presume that wasn’t Little).

Newshub report: Hone Harawira is whanau – Marama Fox

Video:  Interview: Marama Fox

Transcript: Lisa Owen interviews Marama Fox