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.

Q+A – environment debate

All of Q+A this morning will be a debate on the environment.

The way we care for our environment has emerged as a key election issue – especially the state of some of our polluted waterways. Q+A has an hour long environment debate with 7 candidates on Sunday. Which party wins your environment vote?

Scheduled to take part:

  • David Parker (Labour Party) – Spokesperson for Environment, Water
  • Scott Simpson (National Party) – Minister for the Environment
  • James Shaw (Green Party) – Spokesperson for Climate Change
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT Party)
  • Damian Light (United Future Party)
  • Winston Peters (NZ First Party) – Spokesperson for everything

Denis O’Rourke is the NZ First spokesperson for climate change and also for the Environment but has been shunted down to 13 on their party list. Peters has chosen to take part in a debate for a change.

Small party leaders debate

 

Tonight at 7:00 pm on TV1 there will be a leaders debate that excludes the two main party leaders).

Taking part:

  • Damian Light (United Future)
  • James Shaw (Greens)
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT)

This is the debate that Gareth Morgan went to court to try to get in, and failed. And Winston Peters thinks it’s beneath his stature to take part with minnow party leaders.

It will be moderated by Corin Dann (Mike Hosking is sick so had to step down).


I thought it was an interesting debate.

James Shaw looked like he really didn’t want to be there, perhaps a very hard month is taking it’s toll. He was a bit robotic with the standard Green spiel. And at the end when he said he was really excited about the prospects of a Labour Green (and maybe Maori) government he looked like it was his turn to change the nappies.

But he had probably the best line of the night.

Peters didn’t want to take part supposedly because English and Ardern weren’t involved, so in his absence the others took him apart a number of times.

David Seymour was dominant, too much so at times, but he had plenty of opportunity to promote his cause – enough party votes to get at least one fellow ACT MP working with him for the next term.

Marama Fox was the star performer, an informed, eloquent and passionate promoter for her Maori constituency. It will be a real shame if she doesn’t make it back into Parliament.

Damian Light’s presence highlighted the stupidity of TVNZ rules for who could and who couldn’t take part (Gareth Morgan would have made it a better debate), and his nervousness showed at times, but for his first time on the big political stage he did very well, stating clearly and knowledgeable what UF’s policy positions were.

All four who took part had a decent chance to promote themselves a bit, but on a Friday night the audience was probably not very attracted or engaged.

But it was a useful albeit flawed part of our democratic process.

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.

The Nation – election debate

This morning on The Nation (early start at 9.25 am) is an election smaller party debate.

  • James Shaw (Greens)
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT)
  • Gareth Morgan (TOP)
  • Hone Harawira (Mana)

No one from NZ First, I presume a continuation of the refusal to be in anything that includes Gareth Morgan.

I presume United Future wasn’t invited or was dumped.


Shaw starts with a familiar poverty spiel.

Seymour points out that NZ First isn’t there, and also that he is the only leader on the stage who is an electorate MP.

Morgan “we stand or fall on policy. All I can so is sell the message”.

Harawira – I missed what he opened with.

Fox “We’re the party of the future, the country is sick of the red and blue bus.”

Shaw was pushed to state a single priority (and was stopped from his normal 3 key spiel) – he said he would want an act stipulating zero carbon by 2050.

Harawira (feeding kids) and Fox (no GST on primary produce) say that the cost of their number one policies doesn’t matter, it should just be done.

Shaw rules out working with National, more or less – he promotes changing the Government with Labour.


A decent debate as far as it could be, five didn’t seem too many, they all got a few shots in. I doubt it will have changed many votes though.

The panel all picked Marama Fox as the ‘winner’ through her heartfelt personality. Like her or not, agree with her or not, she expresses herself strongly.

Loser – Winston Peters for refusing to take part.

And it was suggested that all the smaller parties were the losers now that the campaign looks like being dominated by two parties only.

And once the media have an excuse to call a two horse race the other party jockeys don’t stand a chance of being heard.

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.

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

Controversial RMA reforms passed into law

Yesterday the third reading vote passed the controversial RMA reforms into law but 1 vote.

National have been determined to get the RMA through this term. When David Seymour (ACT) and Peter Dunne (UF) had objections to some parts of the bill National turned to the Maori Party to get it over the line.

But RMA reforms causing tensions over race relations

Tensions over race relations have been to the fore as the Government’s managed to pass its RMA reforms into law thanks to backing from the Maori Party.

ACT leader David Seymour said the reforms won’t do nothing for housing affordability, nor will it do nothing for land supply and the building of new dwellings, but it will be close enough to nothing.

“It will be close enough to nothing that he has wasted two and a half years of his ministerial time and much of this houses time bringing a bill that is two steps backward for each one step forward.”

Labour MP David Parker’s slammed the Government for using the housing crisis to drive its RMA reforms, calling it dishonest.

“Blaming the RMA and planners for the tax biases and the inequality that’s driven home ownership in New Zealand to the lowest level since the 1950s for over 60 years is just wrong.”

I thought it is widely understood  that the housing shortage is in large part due to RMA restrictions on new subdivisions and building. It has become too easy for people to oppose building, and getting resource consent can be time consuming and expensive – and at risk of failing.

Most parties supported RMA reform, including Labour, but didn’t support the full package that National wanted.

New Zealand First’s maintained a vocal opposition to new iwi participation measures in RMA rules with party deputy leader Ron Mark arguing one law for all should apply.

“We are all created equal in God’s eyes and nothing in legislation will ever change that no how many flip flops Mr Nick Smith makes.”

An odd comment from Mark that was smacked down by Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox:

“I find that last contribution quite ironic from the man who was the chief treaty negotiator for Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.”

National have defended the result of their collusion with the Maori Party by slanging back.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has accused those of opposing the Bill of doing the country a disservice.

“They quibbled at the edges, they tried to manufacture myths, but they’ve been unable to amount any credible argument against the substantive reforms in this bill, in fact they barely mentioned them.”

But, although reform was widely supported, others had serious concerns about some of the quibbly edge bits.

Smith would have to be one of the worst Government negotiators ever.

While the RMA reforms may or may not bother most voters (more likely not) the deal making done by National is likely to be used to slam the Maori Party in the election campaign,

More on Maori and Labour

A generally good post at The Standard by ‘weka’ on Marama Fox on working with a Labour/Green government

This refers to comments made by Maori party list MP Fox:

You know what, they’re all trying to get to the power seat too, and if Labour and Greens are successful then we’ll be looking to do a deal with them, because it’s obvious to me that under Labour Māori are tossed aside all the time and you can have a look at the Point England development to see that.”

“I think it is better to be at the table making decisions or at last being the social conscience of a government who may be disconnected from its community or don’t know how to address those things. And Labour want the same thing, that’s why they’re trying to win the seats of government. So if they are successful, then we’ll happily work with them. And yes, It is better to be at the table at the decision-making end, and have as much influence as we’re able to ensure that we can correct the disparities that currently exist.

Weka comments:

What will happen if Labour needs the Māori Party to form government? Some on the left see the Māori Party’s relationship with National as a betrayal that can never be forgiven, and speak in the most scathing terms despite National being able to govern irrespective of where the Māori Party stands.

Myself, I think Māori are entitled to their own politics, and it behooves the rest of us to pay more attention to what those mean on Māori terms.

I certainly don’t like everything the Māori Party has done, but I think we need to look more deeply here, especially as the left may end up needing this alliance to form government. But more than that, the Māori Party have many policies that align well with both Labour and the Greens, including in critical areas like climate change and water.

We should be building relationships here for that alone not just because of the vagaries of MMP.

It does seem odd that Labour seems intent on trashing any relationship with the Maori and Mana parties.

The Maori Party have always made it clear they are prepared to work with any government to further their aims. This is a sensible approach to MMP politics.

So this is a good post from Weka, until  this plonked on the bottom:

Moderator Note – Considered and respectful commentary and critique are welcome here. If you want to make claims of fact about any NZ political party here please back them up as you comment. If you want to gratuitously bash any party other than National, go somewhere else to do it.

This is an illustration of the Standard moderation that damages their credibility.

Weka is inviting “considered and respectful commentary and critique” and warns not to “gratuitously bash any party” – fair enough – but then makes a mockery of her imposed standards by adding “other than National”.

Strict moderation might be fine if it was evenly applied, but Weka warns off any bashing of her views or preferred parties while effectively encourages gratuitous bashing of National.

In practice this is often how Standard moderation works, coming down hard on any perceived attack or criticism of their views or parties but encouraging open slather against parties they dislike and commenters they deem to be right wing or right wing party supporters.

The left is sadly lacking a blog that allows fair debate and discussion.