Considering a minority government

A minority government hasn’t been tried under MMP, but perhaps it is time to seriously consider the option.

If the other parties call Winston Peters bluff, take him at his words on his bottom lines, it is unlikely either National or Labour+Greens will be able to form a majority coalition Government.

MMP was designed to provide a more representative Parliament, which it has. But this could be taken further and give us a more representative governing arrangement. This could be done with a minority government.

Here is a feasible outcome of seats from this year’s election:

  • National 56
  • Labour 28
  • Greens 16
  • NZ First 16
  • Maori Party 2
  • ACT 1
  • UF 1

This puts Labour+Greens+NZ First > National, and Greens+NZ First > Labour, and NZ First=Greens so there is no clear majority in any situation. If the result is approximately along these lines similar uncertainties will exist.

National with twice the MPs of Labour could form the Government, perhaps with the small parties in formal confidence and supply arrangements, but they would still have to rely on either of Labour, Greens or NZ First to pass any legislation. This means successful bills would have a clear majority rather than a bare majority as happens often now.

For Government to be truly representative ministerial positions could be given to opposition party MPs. The best of each party could then participate in running the country.

Some suggestions for portfolios:

  • Andrew Little: Minister of Labour – he has a good background for this and it would allow him to focus on his party’s roots.
  • Grant Robertson: Minister of Foreign Affairs -David Farrar has recommended him for this role, perhaps he has done polls on it.
  • David Parker: Minister of Economic Development, Associate Minister of Finance
  • Jacinda Ardern: Minister of Women’s Affairs, Minister of Communications – she has an affinity with women’s magazines and I couldn’t think of what else she could do.
  • Metiria Turei:  Minister of Social Welfare – giving her experience with the reality of fixing all of our social problems within a budget.
  • James Shaw: Minister of the Environment – something most people expect the Greens to be experts in.
  • Winston Peters – Minister of Workplace Safety, Minister of Mines.
  • Ron Mark: Minister of Defence – it would be good for him to work on the opposite of attack).
  • Te Ururoa Flavell: Minister of Māori Development, Minister of Whanau Ora – makes since for the Māori Party.
  • David Seymour: Minister of Education – time he stepped up to a real challenge beyond his Partnership Schools agenda.
  • Peter Dunne: Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of Corrections -it would be interesting to see what changes he could make in drug law reform without being hobbled by National.

Being the largest by far National would be the dominant party but would have to work with the whole of Parliament to get things done.

On confidence and supply, with all parties contributing to Government they should be responsible for ensuring it doesn’t fall over.

Those on the right and the left who want radical reforms may complain about a representative arrangement like this, but if they want ideological lurches they need to build sufficient support in Parliament to achieve this.

They won’t do this by sitting on the sidelines complaining, they need to do what everyone else does, build a big enough party with enough MPs to achieve what they want.

A minority government as suggested is unlikely to be a radical reform government, but that’s not out of the ordinary under two decades of MMP anyway.

Incremental change with clear majority support in Parliament is the most sensible way of operating a government – and I believe it is what most voters prefer and want.

Minority government may seem in itself a bit radical but I think it is something well worth trying. It’s really just a step further than what we have now, and a logical step under MMP.

An eye opener for the WO bubble

Followers of Whale Oil over the the past two weeks will have seen a daily diet of pro-Israel and anti-Security Council resolution, anti-Murray McCully and anti-National government posts.

There has been no attempt at balance, and little attempt at accuracy – support of the Security Council vote (14-0) has been labelled as anti-Israel, but obviously countries like the United States and United Kingdom (and New Zealand) are not anti-Israel overall, they have just become exasperated by Israel’s ongoing provocative settlements.

The activist campaign on WO continues today. Already there has been Is the Maori Party a friend of Israel? which promised much (teasers were posted yesterday) and delivered little.

And  Face of the Day  featured another cherry picked article (also posted on here ‘One Nation’ wants to kick New Zealand). Comments are more interesting:

Hookerphil:

I am interested in just what the rest of New Zealand outside of W/O actually think. Stuff accepted just 4 comments on this story, one person wrote “that Israel violated international law with their ILLEGAL settlements, therefore it’s only logical they be reprimanded for that.” This has received 395 up votes. I am really surprised at that. It would appear that Israel are not overly supported in this Country – perhaps the ripple in the polls may actually be very small by the simple tactic of ignoring it.

BigNose:

Yep, majority of comments and votes on other news sites/blogs are all very anti-Israeli. While it is probably no more than the screaming skull’s rent-a-crowd, it is an eye opener.

No, not anti-Israel, most are simply pro the Security Council resolution.

Rick H:

As I have been saying all along – – -the vast majority of NZ people (and probably most in the rest of the western world as well) know very little to nothing at all about the facts of the middle east. They believe what they have seen on the TV over the years, that Israel is the evil one.

No amount of trying to show them the real truth makes a difference.
They turn off and simply don’t want to be told.
They aren’t interested.

I’m not surprised that these two Oilers are ‘very surprised’ and find it ‘an eye opener’ what reality outside the WO bubble is.

The ‘truth’ and gospel according to Whale Oil is not what the vast majority of New Zealanders see preached.

Typical of online bubbles they portray any sort of disagreement as totally anti their way of thinking, you are either friend or enemy, similarly of WO and of Israel.

With such a persistent one-sided diet that’s what often happens.

And those who venture out of the bubble are shocked that the real world is more mixed and nuanced, and see this as totally opposite to the lines they have been fed.

Christie:

Apart from articles on WO, I have seen and heard very little about it, and have had no discussions about it at all.

I’ve seen quite a bit in a variety of places – it’s there if you look for it beyond your self reinforcing zone.

It’s funny that different opinions are seen as an eye opener.

Postscript: “This is a 2000-year-old struggle that the Māori Party is not about to wade into. Both sides claim tangata whenua status. However, we note that the current sanctions imposed against Pallestine are inhumane and cause great suffering of innocent women and children.”

I’m not surprised that the Maori Party didn’t want to ‘wade into’ the frenzy at Whale Oil, but they have probably fed it by suggesting that “innocent (Palestinian) women and children”  are suffering.

Update: while I was writing this post pro-Israel post #3 so far today at WO – Guest Post: Our world: The PLO’s zero-sum game – another cherry picked article from the Jerusalem Post.

Trotter predicts

Chris Trotter makes a number of debatable predictions for the year in 2017 in the shadow of Trump (Stuff).

The political consensus at the beginning of 2017 – election year – is that the National-led Government will hold on to power.

Who is in general agreement that National will hold on to power? I think there’s too many unknowns and uncertainties to claim this with any confidence.

National are very likely to comfortably get the most votes and seats in this year’s election, but it’s far from certain whether they will be able to form a similar coalition to this term (with ACT, UF and the Maori Party), or if the need more whether NZ First will join a coalition or let National run a minority government from the cross benches. It’s also possible (but unlikely with Turei as leader) Greens  could enable a National led Government either in coalition or from the cross benches.

Not in its own right, as might have happened had John Key led them into battle, but with sufficient parliamentary support to govern comfortably.

They don’t govern comfortably this term, requiring two of the three minor support parties to back any legislation, and they have been limited because of this.

The most significant political event of 2017, however, could well be the collapse of the Labour Party and the emergence of the Greens as New Zealand’s leading party of the centre-left.

Labour collapsing is a real possibility, and any further decline in their share of the vote could be seen as a collapse. But they could just as likely stay at a similar level of support, or increase their vote a bit (to the high twenties), or recover into the thirties. At this stage i think which of these will happen is impossible to predict with any certainty.

In a way Greens can already be seen by their actions as the leading party of the centre left going by performances inside and outside Parliament. Their party vote seems to have hit a ceiling at about 11%, but even if they increase to say 15% (their target last election) they are likely to remain smaller than Labour.

A number of people have predicted that NZ First grow bigger, causing a drop for Greens to fourth in the party pecking order. I think this is quite possible – NZ First are likely to pick up more ex-National vote than the Greens if the National support declines.

A key factor driving the New Zealand electorate’s flight to the right will be the profound and ideologically toxic influence of Donald Trump’s presidency.

There has been no sign of New Zealand moving much to the right this century.  Both Helen Clark and John Key aimed at the centre and apart from a few policies mostly stayed moderate. Even National’s asset sales were watered down to being only half sales.

If anyone has learned anything yet about the effect of Trump they should know that it’s difficult making predictions about his influence. It’s quite possible Trump as US president will have a negligible effect on New Zealand overall. Or not.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman predicts a global trade war, and the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine is filled with disquieting articles foreshadowing an ominous deterioration in the relationship between the USA and China.

The future for US trade relationships and US foreign relations are uncertain. Trump will definitely do things differently – but it depends on how China learns and adapts as to whether problems will escalate or not. Predictions of Trump trashing the economy have already proven to be premature at least.

If the US and China clash New Zealand may manage to stay out of the melée. That could be complicated by Winston Peters – but if there’s trouble abroad and Peters is seen to try and stir that up here it could easily backlash against him in the election.

In a neat division of political labour, NZ First will lead the attack on China while, publicly, National condemns (but not too loudly) Peters’ racially-charged rhetoric. Meanwhile, privately, the conservative supporters of both parties will be encouraged to recognise the inherent electoral synergies of the unfolding crisis. As the countdown to the election shortens, the prospect of a National-NZ First coalition government will begin to acquire the aura of inevitability.

Some voters here like maverickism, but most prefer stable status quo government when it comes to economic matters.

Especially if there is an ‘unfolding crisis’ a National-NZ First coalition government will become more uncertain rather than certain. If Peters ramps up his attacks on China it is more likely to create further division between NZ First and National, and voters tend to avoid this sort of uncertainty.

Amplifying the conservative message among the Maori electorate, the Maori Party will cast the Chinese as a second-wave of colonisers threatening not only tino rangatiratanga but also Pakeha sovereignty. Iwi corporations will be portrayed as the foundation stones of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s economic independence. The incipient government of the centre-right will thus be presented as a National-NZ First-Maori Party alliance.

Is Trotter serious? Or is he taking the piss? Or is he trying to stir something up?

An alliance involving NZ First and the Maori Party seems unlikely given Winston’s previous antagonistic attitude towards a ‘race based’ party.

I think it’s highly unlikely that Winston will present an alliance including NZ First and National prior to the election – he has been staunch in not indicating which way he may go – and even less likely of any NZ First-Maori Party presentations.

The turmoil created by the Trump administration will similarly throw into sharp relief the serious disjunction between the beliefs of the Labour Party and its electoral base. Even if Andrew Little and his advisors were of a mind to join with Peters in attacking China, the reflexive anti-Americanism of his caucus and Labour’s wider membership would drive the party inexorably towards their enemy’s enemy. Immediately, what was left of Labour’s support among “Waitakere Men” would decamp for the Sinophobic right.

That’s more likely to be to  NZ First rather than to National.

The reverse manoeuvre – in which Little prevails upon caucus and party to follow National, NZ First and the Maori Party into Trumpism and Sinophobia – would only drive Labour’s younger, more progressive, voters toward the Greens.

I think Trotter is in fantasy land here trying to connect National and the Maori Party with ‘Trumpism and Sinophobia’.

And to claim ‘Trumpism and Sinophobia’ would split Labour is even more bizarre.

The classic Labour solution – trying to have a bob each way – risks losing both the conservative and the progressive components of its electoral base.

Labour already seem to be trying the bob each way approach, and have already lost both conservative and progressive parts of it’s electoral base to an extent. An international crisis, should it happen, is more likely to force Labour into being seen as responsible rather than divisive.

The extreme-nationalist complexion of the Trump administration and its geopolitical focus on the burgeoning power of China can only hasten the disintegration of Labour’s electoral position.

I think this is far from certain, and even if it becomes a contributory factor  in further Labour decline it would be impossible to quantify.

It is, however, highly doubtful that sufficient young people will participate in the 2017 general election to significantly offset the emotionally powerful appeal of an unabashedly nationalistic, Sinophobic and pro-American coalition of National, NZ First and the Maori Party.

I think Trotter is trying to create an absurd political meme here, either ignorantly or disingenuously. Fantasy or deliberate fiction.

Neither conservative fish nor progressive fowl, Labour is likely to see its party vote plummet into the teens – and with it any hope of reclaiming major party status.

That’s already possible without any Trump crisis involved.

The baton of progressive politics will pass to the Greens. Real political power, however, will remain with the National Party and its allies.

It may be that Trotter has genuinely given up on the Labour Party. Labour could collapse further.

But NZ First becoming allies with the Maori party seems preposterous. And National joining Winston’s Asia bashing and siding with Trump is more so.

Trying to promote Greens as the progressive baton carrier and the dominant opposition party seems to be wishful thinking, at best.

Trotter’s political propositions were all over the place last year, and they seem even more confused now.

Winston’s bottom lines

There’s a lot of unknowns about how next year’s election will go. One of the biggest questions will be how National goes under Bill English’s leadership – will their support drop now John Key has stepped down? Will it stay dropped?

Labour are still struggling to be a major party. They seem to have given up competing head to head with National, and are now relying on Labour+Greens, but their Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t seem to have enthused voters.

There is one certainty – the media will continue to promote Winston Peters as ‘kingmaker’. There’s a good chance (but no guarantee) NZ First will end up in a position where they can play National off against Labour+Greens. Winston remains adamant he won’t do that until after the election.

But there have already a few bottom lines mentioned.

1. Superannuation

New Zealand First’s objective is to preserve the entitlement of New Zealanders to retire and receive New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) as it now is with eligibility at 65 years and as a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/superannuation

It’s very unlikely Winston would relent on this one.

2. No Maori Party

Ensure the future of the Maori seats is a decision for the people to make having examined the significant increase in representation numbers of Maori MPs under MMP.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/maori_affairs

And (in June 2016):

Stopping separatism …is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…and for example a parallel state where you’ve got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

Peters has ruled out a coalition that included the Maori Party in the past. This doesn’t look like changing.

3. Immigration

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/immigration

The rest of their Immigration policy sounds strong but is actually vague.

…stopping mass immigration is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…if mass immigration continued…then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

It’s difficult to know what Winston would insist on for immigration, but he plays the immigration card often to supporters so would have to make some demands.

4. Pike River Re-entry

Winston Peters says Pike River re-entry is bottom line to election deals

Winston Peters says re-entering Pike River mine is a “bottom line” to any election deal made next year.

“I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be,” he said on TV’s Paul Henry show on Wednesday morning.

Any political party seeking New Zealand First’s support to form a government in the 2017 election will have to commit to re-entering the mine.

National want to leave any re-entry decision up to Solid Energy. Andrew Little has supported re-entry but has not absolutely committed Labour to it.

5. Police numbers

Winston Peters demands 1800 extra police

The New Zealand First leader and Northland MP wants the number of police officers increased by 27 percent, in line with Australia’s per capita ratio.

“We’re looking at something like 1800-1900 officers just as a start now to get to a level where we once were, and then build upon that,” he says.

He says it’s a bottom line in any negotiations regarding the formation of the next Government.

So that is five bottom lines that I’m aware of.

? Prime Minister

Arise Sir Winston, Prime Minister of New Zealand?

…here’s another theory that’s been doing the rounds much longer.

It is that Peters will only retire after he has fulfilled his ambition of one day being prime minister. It’s even said to have been put on the able in NZ First’s protracted negotiations to form a government in 1996.

And:

Forget ‘kingmaker’, Winston Peters wants to be the next Prime Minister

That seems to be a claim only on the Paul Henry Show, Peters doesn’t say that. But is that one of his goals?

I don’t think National would agree to a Winston as PM deal, but would Labour and Greens, where none of none of Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw have any government experience? Peters has already been deputy Prime Minister, from 16 December 1996 to 14 August 1998 (under Jim Bolger).

Are there other Winston/NZ First bottom lines so far?

NZ political parties in 2016

Brief reviews of the mid term political year for New Zealand parties.

The main issues have been:

  • Continued shortages of new house building and an escalation of housing prices, especially in Auckland, and an increased focus on homelessness
  • Growing attention given to ‘poverty’ as it is in New Zealand, and the income gap  despite the first increase in benefits in forty years.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership got a lot of attention early in the year but that fizzled as it became evident that the US was unlikely to ratify it.

National

The National Party would probably have thought they had survived the year quite well, chugging away without doing anything radical, and staying  extraordinarily high in the polls most of the time for  a third term government.

An improving economy along with improving dairy prices have helped.

But Key resigned in December. National selected the Key anointed Bill English to take over, but how a new look National will be seen by the public won’t be known until next year.

Labour

Andrew Little consolidated his leadership, kept the Labour caucus under control and appears he is safe until next year’s election, but he failed to lift his appeal to the public, and Labour must be worried to be stuck in the twenties in the polls.

Labour entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Party and they tried to rebrand as a two-party alternative government but that didn’t change the polls much and may have created as many problems as it solved.

Labour finished the year buoyant after successful local body and Mt Roskill by-election campaigns, and noticeably raised in confidence when John Key resigned, but they have failed to impress as a potential lead party in government.

They survived the year and hope to benefit from a Key-less National but haven’t done enough to make a positive impression.

Greens

New co-leader James Shaw settled in without standing out, but Greens have lost one of their most respected MPS, Kevin Hague.

Their big play was the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour but that doesn’t seem to have  been the game changer they hoped for.

Metiria Turei seems to be dominant, and that probably limits the Greens’ electability, but they have at least stayed in a 10-15% support band in the polls so have a base to work from next year.

NZ First

Following Winston Peters’ big win in Northland NZ First have benefited from unusually good poll support for most of the year (it tailed off towards the end).

But it looks like Winston is catching his breath before election year. The party has done little of note apart from Peters occasionally trying to appear as the anti-politician, even though he’s one of the longest serving members of Parliament. He tried to capitalise on the Trump success in the US but that doesn’t seem to have done much.

Maori Party

The Maori Party has been working towards more complementary campaigning with the Mana Party in an attempt to create a stronger Maori bloc in Parliament. They are targeting the Maori seats held by Labour.

Maori tend to do politics quite differently to the rest. The Maori party has been the best of the rest in the polls but will want to pick that up more next year as well as pick up some electorates.

ACT Party

David Seymour has done fairly well at getting attention for a one person party and has had some small successes but his party has struggled to get anywhere. It has been Seymour rather than ACT.

United Future

Peter Dunne has had a quiet year apart from bearing the brunt of medical cannabis and recreational drug criticism, even though he is severely limited by National who don’t want to change anything on drug laws. Dunne’s party remains pretty much anonymous.

Conservative Party

An awful year for Colin Craig in the courts and an awful year for his party. Neither are credible and neither look likely to make a comeback.

Mana Party

Hone Harawira and the Mana movement are trying to make a comeback by working together with the Maori Party, so have established some possibilities this year without proving they can get back into Parliament.

Internet Party

Kim Dotcom seems to see his political influence in other ways than expensive and ineffective parties, and ex leader Laila Harre has joined Labour and wants to stand for them, so the Internet party looks a short blip in political history.

Cannabis Party

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has simplified it’s name and has tried to benefit from increasing changes on cannabis laws overseas but haven’t found the formula required to become a significant political force yet.

The Opportunities Party

Gareth Morgan launched his own party this year and gets media attention – money speaks – and has announced a couple of policies but so far it looks like him and no one else.

NZ Peoples Party

The Peoples’ Party launched as a representative of immigrants and stood a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election but will have been disappointed by their result, despite a weak National campaign.

Last day in Parliament

MPs had their last day in Parliament for the year today. There were a few shots fired across the house between the larger parties, but the Maori Party duet took a more entertaining approach.

The fun starts at 3:00

 

Insight into Māori politics

There is a very good insight into politics Māori style by Morgan Godfery at The Spinoff: Behold, Māori politics’ great realignment. Or, don’t believe the hype

Talk of a resurgent Mana Party, unshackled from Dotcom and buoyed by a Māori Party pact, has prompted suggestions of a new order in Māori politics. Morgan Godfery explains why he’s just not buying it

The Parekura Method:

Take Te Tai Tonga, the old Southern Māori seat, running from Petone in the North to Stewart Island in the south and then tracking east to the Chatham Islands. In physical terms, Labour’s Rino Tirikatene is responsible for representing more than half of the country.

In population terms, Te Tai Tonga is more or less the same size as any other electorate. But the social expectations of a Māori MP are different to what other New Zealanders might expect of their constituency MP. When the Kaikōura earthquake struck Rino Tirikatene took the first trip down to help out in the kitchens at Takahanga Marae.

The term for this is kanohi kitea – a tricky one with a double meaning. In the past the term meant raid or incursion of some kind, but today we use it to describe someone who’s seen. It’s not enough for Māori electorate MPs to deliver magnificent speeches on the latest bill before the House. It isn’t even enough to make the Cabinet. Instead you must show up at every birthday, tangi, community fair and prizegiving that you can.

When I interned for the late Parekura Horomia, the former Minister of Māori Affairs and the long-serving MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, we called it (behind his back) “the Parekura Method”. It wasn’t uncommon for Parekura to arrive on your doorstep unannounced, and for no other reason than he was in town and wanted to catch up. It usually takes seven hours to drive from Wellington to Mangatuna, but it usually took Parekura more than two days.

Based on history:

Sir Peter Buck was a professor of anthropology at Yale University, a medical doctor in the Middle East, a museum director in Hawai’i, and an accidental Māori MP after Hone Heke – the member for Northern Māori – died suddenly in 1909. After escorting Heke’s body back to his ancestral marae in Kaikohe, Buck’s mentor and the deputy Prime Minister Sir James Carroll took to his feet at the tangi and announced how Heke’s mother wished to “marry their son’s widow to a chief from the South”, a tribute to Buck for taking the punishing journey from Wellington and returning her son home.

There are excited whispers and Carroll senses his chance. He remains on his feet, wielding his tremendous mana on Buck’s behalf, and gently reminds the local tribes that Buck is now in credit and a debt is owed. Utu, or reciprocity, is due. Should they wish to restore balance perhaps they would consider Buck as their new MP (Carroll did this without consulting him, of course). Buck went on to win handily, even though he faced several local challengers and traced his whakapapa further south.

It’s the kind of thing that could only happen in Māori politics and it’s one reason political commentators often assume Māori politics adheres to a kind of tribal logic.

These examples are related to the current battle over Māori seats between the Māori Prty with Mana, and Labour. Interesting insights.

Māori – Mana marriage?

The Māori Party and Mana’s Hone Harawira are talking about getting back together for next year’s election. The reconciliation is being brokered by Tuku Morgan.

RNZ: Māori Party and Mana Party agree to put differences aside

The Māori and Mana parties have formally agreed to develop their relationship ahead of next year’s general election.

The executives of both parties met in Whangarei today to discuss their future after they put their differences behind them in July.

Māori Party president Tukuroirangi Morgan said they would now focus on developing Māori politics, and doing what was best for Māori.

If Harawira and the Mana Party join forces with the Māori Party for next year’s election it raises some interesting questions.

Would this rule out Māori -Mana helping National form a government? Harawira has been staunchly against this in the past, while the Māori MPs feel they can do more good in Government rather than in Opposition.

And if Māori and Mana make arrangements about who will stand in each of the Māori electorates how will Labour manage that? Do deals with the Greens? Will that be enough to hold onto the six electorates they have regained.

Labour has been criticised in the past for taking it’s Māori seats for granted and not delivering much to the Māori constituency.

Labour have already sounded a bit like jilted brides when the Māori -Mana remarriage was mooted.

Howie Tamati to stand for Maori party

Howie Tamati, ex rugby league international and New Plymouth District councillor for 15 years, has been selected to stand for the Maori Party in the Te Tai Hauauru  electorate in next year’s election. It was held by Tariana Turia until 2014 when she retired.

Stuff: Howie Tamati named as Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Hauauru seat

A former New Plymouth District Councillor has won the battle for selection as Maori Party candidate in the Te Tai Hauauru seat at next year’s election.

Now he faces an even bigger challenge, to get around the enormous electorate and rouse the support he will need to take the seat off Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe.

“Without a standing MP, a lot of the electorate has gone to sleep, we Maori Party electors need to be reawakened, renergised and reconnected back to the party,” he said. 

Tamati was chosen ahead of South Taranaki’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer by the Maori Party at a meeting on Saturday.

“When my name got read out it was quite overwhelming,” he said.

“But I was buoyed by the support I’ve been given and the large group of people who came with me to the meeting, I felt really empowered.”

Tamati, of Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga and Ngai Tahu, is current chief executive of Sport Taranaki and was a New Plymouth District councillor for 15 years.

He is a former international rugby league player and coach and is the president of NZ Rugby League. 

He formally announced his intention to seek the candidacy in June at Maui Pomare Day celebrations at Waitara’s Owae Marae, his home marae.

He said then the Maori Party was a good fit for him and he was committed to tikanga and to working towards what was best for tangata whenua.

One of the issues he was keen to push if he was elected into Parliament, would be the issue of Maori representation in local body politics.

Rurawhe won the seat in 2014 standing for Labour after Tariana Turia retired:

  • Adrian Rurawhe (Labour) 8,089
  • Chris McKenzie (Maori) 6,535
  • Jack Tautokai McDonald (Greens) 3,004
  • Jordan Winiata (Mana) 1,940

Will Greens not stand a candidate to help Labour? Would it help Labour?

2011 election:

  • Tariana Turia (Maori) 8,433
  • Soraya Waiata Peke-Mason (Labour) 5,212
  • Jack Tautokai McDonald (Greens) 2,007
  • Frederick Timutimu (Mana) 1,513

 

‘Ending Homelessness’ report

The ‘Ending Homelessness in New Zealand’ report was released yesterday following a ‘cross-party inquiry’ involving Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party.


Executive Summary

The hundreds of submissions and pieces of evidence presented to the Cross-Party Inquiry into Homelessness show that the level of homelessness in New Zealand is larger than any other time in recent memory and is continuing to grow. The housing crisis is causing an extreme level of homelessness, particularly in Auckland, with families forced to live on the streets, in cars, and in garages.

While New Zealand has had an underlying level of homelessness for some time, there has been a substantial increase in recent years driven by a lack of affordable housing. Many of the problems causing homelessness track back over 30 years, but the current Government has exacerbated the situation by allowing the housing crisis to spin out of control. It has the power to fix it if it is prepared to take the necessary steps.

Homelessness is no longer dominated by the stereotypical rough sleeper with mental health issues and is now more often a working family with young children. Māori and Pasifika communities have disproportionately suffered, along with new migrants who also face substantially higher rates of homelessness. Submitters told us that the vulnerability of other groups such as people with disabilities, the rainbow community and people with mental health issues is exacerbated by homelessness.

The small steps taken by the Government so far are insufficient. To address the problem the Government needs to implement a comprehensive set of measures that address the housing crisis at every level. There needs to be a substantial scaling up of resources to tackle homelessness using Housing First and Whānau Ora approaches.

The Government must step in and address the overall housing crisis by cracking down on speculation in the property market and building significantly more affordable houses. An expansion of state and community housing to provide long term affordable rental accommodation is vital. Without an increase in permanent housing for the homeless to go into, the issue will not ultimately be addressed. We have also identified through the inquiry, a range of other practical measures to reduce homelessness. These steps make up the 20 recommendations of our Inquiry.

Fixing homelessness won’t be cheap. The proposals in this report, when fully adopted, would require significant investment. However this needs to be considered against the cost of doing nothing. Submitters told us it costs around $65,000 to keep a person homeless. When we have 4,200 people without shelter that is over $250 million a year homelessness is costing us.

To deliver all of this, the Government must develop a nationwide strategy to end homelessness. This needs to set out exactly what it will deliver and how to end the chronic levels of homelessness that New Zealand is now facing.

The submissions to the Inquiry showed that this issue is now more important than ever, and we call on the Government to act boldly and urgently.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Roll out Housing First as the primary response to severe homelessness.

2. Increase the State housing stock.

3. A systemic fix to the housing crisis: Build more affordable houses, reduce the cost of building a home, and tackle speculation in the property market.

4. Create a national strategy to end homelessness.

5. Support Kāinga Whenua housing and develop greater flexibility to recognise multiple owned property title.

6. Long term funding for Community Housing Providers to build houses.

7. Retain the Official Statistics New Zealand definition of homelessness and collect regular data on homelessness.

8. Expand housing for the elderly.

9. Income related rent subsidies for existing community housing tenants.

10. Greater security of tenure for renters.

11. Review the Accommodation Supplement.

12. Use vacant state housing stock for emergency housing.

13. Homes for people leaving state care.

14. Information sharing between agencies addressing homelessness.

15. Work with Pasifika aiga to create Pasifika homelessness services.

16. Permanently remove the Housing New Zealand dividend.

17. More support for homelessness workers.

18. Expand agencies able to undertake needs assessments and refer tenants to emergency housing. 19. Improve the quality of rental housing.

20. Increase youth housing and services.

Full Report: Ending Homelessness in New Zealand  (PDF)