Meka Whaitiri: “brown women have to talk extra loud to be heard”

In August Labour MP Meka Whaitiri was demoted as minister when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she no longer had confidence in her. This was after allegations were made public that Whaitiri had shouted at and bruised the arm of a staffer.

A subsequent report into the incident found it was “probable” that the staffer’s version of events was more likely than the Minister’s.

For the first time since being demoted, Whaitiri has spoken about the impact for her and how she felt about it.

NZ Herald: Meka Whaitiri addresses her sacking, and the hurt of the fallout

Meka Whaitiri has addressed the accusation of bullying that led to her sacking as a minister.

Speaking to Hawke’s Bay Today, Whaitiri says she “doesn’t shy away from the incident” but believes there are underlying issues with the way it spiralled.

“I think the whole process in terms of how it was managed was a bit disappointing with the leaks.”

Whaitiri says there are certain parts of the report she agrees with, but others she “actively continues to challenge”.

“In this country, we have a hierarchy; white men, white women, brown men, brown women, and sometimes brown women have to talk extra loud to be heard,” the MP said.

As soon as news of the incident broke, Whaitiri decided to “ride it out”, withdrawing from social media, and interviews with mainstream media.

“I knew as soon it came out I was going to get scrutinised worse than anyone else. No matter what I said, it was going to be painted that I’m a bully, an assaulter – all this crap.

“I’m trying not to make excuses or water down the allegations, all I am trying to say is there are often things that we want to say, that no-one gives us time to say.”

Whaitiri says the events have taken a toll on her family.

“My 80-year-old mother has been the strongest,” she says, tears welling in her eyes.

“When your name is being trashed … by ill-informed, exaggerated, no-evidence statements by political broadcasters and commentators and I’m not allowed to say anything because I am co-operating with the investigation, I would never wish it on my worst enemy.

“It was debilitating.”

That is a difficult position for an MP to be in, but there’s not much they can do about it as people take free shots.

Whaitiri is now undergoing counselling, mentoring, coaching and a number of courses, including mindfulness.

Perhaps better mentoring should be available when MPs first become ministers, but there may not have been many able to provide advice when an incoming government has been out of office for nine years and a party (has lost a lot of experienced MPs and staff.

“It’s allowed me to step out of the pressures of being a minister … and work on myself.

“Because sometimes, when you’re in the thick of things, you can’t see the wood for the trees.”

“I’m only here for a short time.”

Whaitiri said Ardern gave her the impression she was “leaving the door open” for her to come back into the ministerial role.

She said she didn’t want to leave “any stone unturned” to show how serious she was about coming back as a minister.

If she has shown she has learnt from her mistakes there should be a way back for her, if not later this term then next term.

On the “brown women have to talk extra loud to be heard” I think that’s a stretch. Shouting at staff is not a good approach for anyone.

Meka Whaitiri inquiry report leaked, not definitive but damaging

Another leak, this time of the draft report that led to Labour MP Meka Whaitiri being dropped as a minister. So while Jacinda Ardern walks and talks on the world stage this is another problem she left behind still festering.

Audrey Young (NZH) – The minister & the staffer: Leaked report into Meka Whaitiri incident

The incident involving former Government minister Meka Whaitiri and a staff member allegedly left bruising to the upper right arm of the staffer and photos of bruises were produced to the inquiry, a draft report leaked to the Herald shows.

The incident occurred because Whaitiri was unhappy at not having been alerted to a photo opportunity at a media standup with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a lunch break at a function in Gisborne.

Other ministers were standing behind Ardern but Whaitiri wasn’t because no one had told her it was happening.

There is no dispute that Whaitiri had words with her staffer for missing the event.

The staff member claims that Whaitiri came up behind her in the foyer of the building and grabbed her arm hard and took her outside when she saw Ardern having the standup.

But Whaitiri denies physically touching her staff member at any stage. There were no witnesses.

David Patten, the Wellington lawyer who conducted the inquiry for Ministerial Services, the employer of ministerial staff, found on the balance of probabilities that the staff member’s version was the more likely explanation.

He found that Whaitiri did not pull or drag the press secretary outside from the foyer of the building where the meeting was taking place.

But he found it more probable that Whaitiri approached the staffer from behind and grabbed her by the arm and that Whaitiri spoke in a raised voice to the staffer.

In evidence to the inquiry, the staff member said Whaitiri had blamed her for missing the media standup with the Prime Minister.

“She grabbed me by the arm and pulled me outside and said she needed to talk to me and when we were outside she raised her voice.

“I wouldn’t say yelled but she did raise her voice to me and asked me if I knew what I was doing in my job and did I realise I’d missed a media opportunity and that that was embarrassing to her because it was her electorate.”

The staffer originally told the inquiry that Whaitiri had pinched her arm but changed that to grabbed.

“It was hard and it scared the living daylights out of me,” she said.

In other parts of her evidence, she said: “She was definitely angry, and was definitely mad that I had screwed up. It scared me a lot and I didn’t want to return to that [work environment].”

Patten questioned the staff member about the bruises, why it took three days to see them and whether they could have been caused by something else such as a door handle.

She said it wasn’t until she was at a meeting with ministerial services on August 30 that they asked if there were any marks and until then she hadn’t thought to look.

Patten’s finding in the draft report is: “The photographs taken by Morag Ingram on August 30 2018 of [the press secretary’s] upper right arm showing a bruise on that arm … are consistent, in my view, with someone being approached from behind and grabbed by a
right-handed person”.

So this issue won’t go away. Even if no further action is taken and Whaitiri remains an MP – she is strongly backed by other Maori MPs – this is likely to keep being used against Labour and questions will keep being asked about Ardern’s leadership.

Audrey Young: Hard to see MP return as a minister

When Jacinda Ardern sacked Meka Whaitiri a week ago, it was on a trust-me basis.

She said she couldn’t tell the country why she had sacked the minister, her first sacking, without breaching the privacy of a staff member who complained about the minister — even though no one has named the staffer.

She relied on a report by a respected barrister, and after reading it Ardern no longer had confidence in Whaitiri as a minister “at this time”.

The draft findings, leaked to the Herald, clearly reveal why Ardern reached the decision she did on the basis of David Patten’s report.

On the balance of probabilities he is inclined to believe that Whaitiri was very annoyed she had not been alerted by her press secretary to the fact that Ardern was holding a standup where we see MPs nodding in the background, that she grabbed her staffer by the arm to say they needed to talk outside, and then pointed out to her in forceful language that it was her job to make sure she didn’t miss out on such media opportunities. The alleged grabbing of the arm and the bruises are the clincher, though Whaitiri denies physical contact.

Realistically it will be impossible for Whaitiri to return as a minister this term. A byelection in Ikaroa-Rawhiti is unlikely unless the pressure becomes too much.

Whaitiri has an unswerving support base in the Māori caucus.

So this leaves things in an awkward situation.

Two days ago (Newshub): ‘Absolutely gutted’ – Meka Whaitiri speaks for the first time since she was fired

Meka Whaitiri has spoken to media for the first time since being fired from her ministerial portfolios on Thursday last week.

She said it’s been a “debilitating time. I’m absolutely gutted by it.”

“I accept the Prime Minister’s decision. I’m going to take time now to reflect and look at ways of improving myself to regain the Prime Minister’s confidence.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do here on behalf of the people of Ikaroa-Rawhiti. I just want to get on with it,” Ms Whaitiri said.

She added she was “humbled” by the support of the Māori caucus.

Ms Whaitiri would not say which aspects of the report she disputes or whether she would contest the 2020 election.

She still has Maori MP support:

Ms Whaitiri remains an electorate MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti and co-chair of the Māori caucus, alongside Willy Jackson.

Mr Jackson said she is fit to remain co-chair of the Māori caucus.

“The Māori caucus has taken into account the great work that she has done and in terms of our strategies going forward. There’s a heck of a lot of support there.”

That support may or may not be sufficient to make it tenable for Whaitiri to stand again in her electorate. if she does the level of support in the electorate will then be tested and measured, but it will be difficult to measure the impact on Labour party support.

Perhaps, like Clare Curran, Whaitiri just doesn’t have a suitable temperament or the leadership skills required to be a Minister. The question will remain as to whether this also applies to being an MP.

 

 

 

 

Meka Whaitiri dropped as Minister, remains an MP

It’s been a busy day in politics.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today  that following an inquiry into allegations she assaulted a staff member Meka Whaitiri has lost her ministries.

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff.

“While the facts are in dispute, the report says an incident occurred. Meka Whaitiri continues to contest details of the incident, but there are elements which are agreed,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“For privacy reasons I don’t wish to divulge further details of the investigators report as it is an employment matter and protecting the privacy of the staff member involved is paramount to me.

“Based on the context and conclusions of the report, I no longer have confidence in Meka Whaitiri as a Minister at this time, and that is why I have taken the action I have.” Jacinda Ardern said.

Meka Whaitiri was stood aside from her portfolios on 30 August while the investigation was undertaken.

Kris Faafoi will retain the role of Minister of Customs and Meka Whaitiri’s Associate Minister responsibilities will sit with the lead portfolio ministers. There are no plans to undertake a Cabinet reshuffle.

With Curran already out that leaves a lean female line up for Labour.

Faafoi also picked up some of Curran’s workload so is going to be a very busy minister, but still outside Cabinet.

Another Minister in trouble – Meka Whaitiri standing aside

Meka Whaitiri, Labour MP and Minister outside cabinet, has ‘offered to stand aside’ while an investigation is carried out – it has been reported to be what Newshub described as  involving ‘some shoving’.

Newshub: ‘Physical incident’ the reason Customs Minister stood aside 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted Minister Meka Whaitiri’s offer to stand aside from her portfolios, while an investigation is carried out into a staffing matter in her office.

Newshub understands the probe follows allegations of a physical incident with another staff member in her office, which involved some shoving.

It appears to be not an isolated incident in that there are claims that Whaitiri has had an unusually high staff turnover.

Stuff: PM stands Minister Meka Whaitiri aside over staffing issue

Stuff has been told relations in Whaitiri’s office are toxic and she is understood to have been through an entire rotation of staff in the short time she has been in the job.

People who are close to the situation told Stuff on Thursday Whaitiri can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with, but it’s understood Ardern’s actions relate to a specific incident involving a single staff member.

There have been a growing number of questions asked about the number of her staff going through her office.

Doesn’t sound flash.

Today: Prime Minister stands Minister aside

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today accepted Meka Whaitiri’s offer to stand aside from her portfolios while an investigation is carried out into a staffing matter in her ministerial office.

Jacinda Ardern was advised of the staffing matter last night.

While the matter is being investigated Kris Faafoi will be the Acting Minister of Customs.  Meka Whaitiri’s Associate Minister responsibilities will revert to the lead portfolio Ministers.

“Meka Whaitiri has told me she will be fully cooperating with the investigation, which will be thorough and conducted as quickly as possible,” said Jacinda Ardern.

Because of privacy concerns Jacinda Ardern and Meka Whaitiri will not comment further on this matter while Ministerial Services is carrying out the investigation.

Last Friday Clare Curran resigned or was dumped from Cabinet and lost some of her ministerial responsibilities, but controversially retained the Broadcasting portfolio.

Petty Parliament

Noted in Open Forum yesterday:

Gezza:

What a complete waste of taxpayers’ money by Labour members in the General Debate.
Instead of debating an issue of governance or legislative importance the tossers spent nearly all their time one after the spouting lame insulting jokes & putdowns with ludicrous speculations on who would be the next leader of the National Party.

Mefrostate:

I agree with you entirely. Far too much parliament time is wasted on cheap shots and distractions, and any Labour MP who has engaged in soapboxing about the National leadership race will lose respect in my eyes.

As an example I just watched Chris Hipkins and he spent an annoying two minutes grandstanding.

Hipkins is Leader of the House, so this is very poor from him, although to his credit he began by acknowledging Bill English:

I want to begin today by acknowledging the Rt Hon Bill English in his decision to stand down from Parliament after close to 28 years of service to this House and to the people of New Zealand. He deserves to be acknowledged. I haven’t always agreed with Bill English—in fact, I have probably disagreed with him more than I have agree with him—but I think he does deserve to be recognised for the service he has given to the people of New Zealand and for the determination that he has shown over that period of time through a number of ups and downs that he’s experienced in this House.

He then went on to shower praise on his Government, not mentioning the awkward situation of Partnership Schools that he is primarily responsible for.

Then he took shots and Nation MPs.

I do believe one of the things that was stated today by one of those contenders, Simon Bridges, when he said “I’m focused on Simon Bridges”. Everybody in the House will believe that Simon Bridges is focused on Simon Bridges. He clearly appears to be appealing to the young fogey contingent within the National Party; that’s his key demographic. A barbecue at Simon’s place has already had the desired effect: the vacancy has been created and he’s off.

It’s the same with Judith Collins. Now it will be interesting to see how Judith Collins fares. It’s a little bit like giving the wicketkeeper a bowl when you’re playing cricket. It means you’ve given up on winning the game. That would be what would happen if Judith Collins was to become the leader of the National Party. It would be like an admission of defeat and they just needed somebody to fill in the shoes.

There is, of course, Amy Adams. She is the ultimate compromise candidate: the worst of everything. She is the worst of everything: no values, no profile, and absolutely nothing that would be attractive to the voters. By the time Amy Adams is done preparing for her race, the race will be over, but she’s certainly in the running.

Then, of course, we’ve got Jonathan Coleman. I have been told on good authority that Jonathan Coleman has secured his first vote to be the leader of the National Party. It is his own, but he has at least determined that he is going to be voting for himself.

Then, of course, we’ve got Steven Joyce. He’s mulling it over. He’s just trying to figure out whether he’s got a ladder tall enough to get himself out of his $11 billion hole so that he can make a run for the top job of the National Party.

But then there is the mystery candidate out the back there: Mark Mitchell, who’s throwing his name into the ring. Mark Mitchell used to be dog handler. Now that could come in handy if he does succeed in becoming the next leader of the New Zealand National Party.

I feel like I’ve watched this movie before, as the National Party tears itself limb from limb as they decide who the next leader of their party is going to be. And it is nice to be part of a strong, cohesive, and unified Government that’s focused on delivering for New Zealanders. We have seen real results in the first three or four months that we have been in Government and we are barely getting warmed up.

This is quite ironic, given the amount of limb tearing Labour went through over their leadership for nearly nine years, and how weak and un-cohesive Labour was during much of that time.

Next up for Labour was Meka Whatiri (Associate Minister of Agriculture):

The first question, though, is what kind of track is this? Hard and fast? Soft and slow? A bit of bounce? That might let someone keen and unexpected charge through the field, like the old show pony “Craving Coleman”, bloodline out of “Naked Opportunity” and “Desperation”. He may still come out of nowhere to surprise, but he will break a leg and will then have to be put down, like the last time he ran.

Then we have “Crusher Collins” in the blue silks, who may also be guilty of interference when that two-year-old “Brylcreem Bridges” tries to pass her on the inside. Look for the illegal use of the whip.

Very silly stuff from the Minister of Customs and Associate Minister of Agriculture, Local Government and Crown/Māori Relations.

Gezza again:

True Mefro. Same. An illustration of the difference today. How have we ended up putting up with this sort of crap (from all parties at times) and paying them to waste time just playing silly buggers & spouting rubbish.

An illustration
Speech 7 – Labour – Jackson

Unbecoming of the Minister for Employment.

Speech 8 – National – Stanford

 I find it so interesting that the only thing the last three Labour MPs could speak about was the National Party leadership race. Do you know why that is? I’ll tell you why that is. That is because they are deflecting, because the issue of the day is charter schools and they don’t want to talk about it. They will do anything in their power not to talk about charter schools.

Stanford looked quite capable -and she showed the preceding Labour Ministers up.

She is a first term MP, taking over the safe East Coast Bays electorate when Murray McCully retired – she had previously worked for McCully in his electorate office, and before that has worked in export sales and producing local television shows. Too soon for her to stand for the leadership, and too soon to judge her capabilities, but she looks promising, especially in contrast to the Labour speakers before her.

The next Labour speaker, Willow-Jean Prime:

What I find interesting is that, in this general debate, I would have thought that the other side would have used this as an opportunity to do their speeches for the leadership campaign. I’m surprised, actually, that they didn’t. They are trying to find somebody who can match the very popular Jacinda Ardern, our current Prime Minister. They are trying to find somebody with youth. They are trying to find somebody who can appeal to a different generation. We’ve seen these tweets and these reports and these updates coming through.

What I challenge the other side to do is to find a leader who has as much heart as our Prime Minister has. We are a Government with heart, versus the Opposition.

Very ironic given the content of her fellow Labour MP’s speeches that did focus on the National leadership, that would hardly appeal to a different generation with heart.

Also guilty of dirty politics are several co-authors at The Standard who posted Who will be National’s next leader?

Mickysavage has built up some credibility with generally thoughtful and reasonable posts over the past year or two, but this drags him back down to trash talk level.

There are times in politics, like when another party is going through a process, that fools should not open their mouths to prove their pettiness.

It is a real shame to see Parliament’s General Debate wasted on petty, pathetic politics. It’s sadly no surprise to see The Standard stoop.

Ruataniwha wrangling to continue?

Conservation groups are celebrating the Supreme Court ruling that the Conservation Minister’s attempt to swap protected conservation land for farmland to make way for the Ruataniwha dam reservoir was not legally allowed, but the Government is threatening to change the law.  That hasn’t gone down well.

RNZ:  Ruataniwha dam: law-change plan branded arrogant

The government is arrogant if it thinks it can change the law to push through the Ruataniwha dam project, the Labour Party says.

Environment Minister Maggie Barry said the government would now consider legislating to ensure such land swaps could go ahead.

She said the government had long believed that under the conservation act it was allowed to swap a low value piece of conservation land for a piece of land with higher conservation values.

Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri said the conservation land being swapped for the irrigation scheme was not low quality.

“It’s a beautiful pristine area, looking down the valley, so giving that up for another piece of land … everybody knows it’s really swapping land so this dam could go ahead.”

Ms Whaitiri said it would be arrogant for the government to legislate to overturn the court’s ruling.

Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers said the government wanted to destroy protected conservation land for its private developer mates.

She said it should just respect the court’s decision.

Threatening to legislate away a Supreme Court ruling does seem like arrogance – not a good thing to show in an election campaign.

Flooding conservation land to enable increased farm production is highly questionable with or without enabling legislation given clear signs production has reached unsustainable levels and natural waterways have been badly damaged as a result.

RMA Bill passes 2nd reading

The Government’s contentious Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed it’s second reading in Parliament yesterday thanks to the votes of the two Maori Party MPs.

Newshub: Resource Management Act bill passes second Parliament reading

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed its second reading 61-59 with National and the Māori Party supporting it and all the other parties opposed – including Government allies ACT and United Future.

The bill was held up for months because the Government didn’t have the numbers to pass it, until Environment Minister Nick Smith negotiated a deal with the Māori Party.

At the core of the bill are changes to parts of the RMA which govern environmental and planning decisions. They’re designed to make it easier for land to be developed for housing and the minister will in some circumstances be able to override council decisions.

“The reform is critical to addressing housing supply and affordability by making it easier, faster and less costly to create new sections,” Dr Smith said after the bill had passed its second reading.

“It opens up land supply and reduces the time taken to get consents.”

It’s been widely thought that the RMA needed an overhaul but there have been concerns over retaining environmental safeguards in particular.

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox says her party’s support at the second reading doesn’t mean it has put aside all its concerns.

But she’s confident “ongoing talks” with Dr Smith will resolve those issues.

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri slammed the Maori party support: Māori Party support RLA bill & lose credibility

The Māori Party have lost all credibility with their support for National’s unpopular Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLA) which will undermine local democracy, damage regional economies and do nothing to help Māori in to desperately needed housing, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.

“This Bill introduces sweeping new powers to knock out GM rules in local plans and the Māori Party’s support is a blow to our local councils and regional economies.

“Here in Hawke’s Bay and our other GM free growing regions, food exporters are striving to have New Zealand placed as a global seller of high-value goods and our GM-free reputation is crucial to that.

“Attempting to pass off minor concessions over Iwi participation rights as a win just doesn’t cut it.

“As a former chief executive of Ngāti Kahungunu, our third largest iwi, I support council to Iwi partnerships; however there are at least 123 iwi and hapū who already have co-governance arrangements in existence.

“The Māori Party still claim a GE Free stance then vote for this bill.

“To say they’ll win further concessions at the committee stage is a cop-out and misleading.

“They made this deal with National back in November; if they haven’t negotiated the removal of the S360D powers by now, they never will.

“In a housing crisis disproportionately affecting Māori, the Māori Party have voted for a Bill that adds complexity to the Resource Management Act and makes it harder to get things done.

“Labour supports the current ability for councils to back their own local economies and make plan rules regarding GM,” says Meka Whaitiri.

Bill provisions include:

  • National planning standards to reduce complexity and cost
  • Streamlined planning process
  • Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents
  • Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks
  • New requirements for councils to free up land for housing
  • New provisions to enable stock exclusion from waterways
  • More generous compensation for land required for public works
  • Improved Māori participation arrangements

 

Labour, protest, trade

Labour mostly kept a distance from the TPPA protests in Auckland yesterday. They have also tried to keep a distance between anti-TPPA and anti-trade. But not everyone in Labour is on the same page.

Andrew Little and Labour dabbled with the TPPA signing and protests but from a distance. They tried to portray their anti-TPPA stance as a principled stand on sovereignty in the same league as New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance:

On this day in 1985 the then Labour Government stood up for the rights of New Zealanders. It refused entry to the USS Buchanan after the US Government would neither confirm nor deny the warship had nuclear capability. Fast forward 31 years and today the Labour Opposition is again standing up for New Zealand sovereignty which the TPPA undermines.

LabourTPPAAgainst

I’m not sure they are onto a winner with this approach, it’s just one of many mixed and muddled messages on the TPPA and is unlikely to get much traction with the TPPA protest movement, nor those who see trade agreements as a necessity.

Little also put out a media release: TPP signing highlights divisions in NZ

The stage-managed signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement at a casino in Auckland today highlights the divisions National’s handling of the deal has caused in New Zealand, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

“The Government’s whole management of the agreement has been botched, from the total secrecy to ramming it down people’s throats.

“This has caused a deep divide, and inviting international leaders to sign it just two days before Waitangi – our national day – has added salt to that wound.

“Labour is a pro-free trade party but the TPP goes further than other agreements in undermining our democracy. We shouldn’t need a permission slip from foreign corporations to pass our own laws. That’s why Labour cannot support the agreement in its current form.

“Other countries such as Australia and Malaysia are able to ban foreigners from buying their homes. New Zealand cannot under this deal. That’s just not right.

“Open and transparent debate is crucial to a healthy democracy but the TPP process and John Key’s handling of the deal after it was signed has damaged that.

“Today’s protests are a public sign of the deep discomfort many New Zealanders feel about what is happening in this country. The Government must now seek ways to heal that wound,” Andrew Little says.

This is odd from Little, in particular “John Key’s handling of the deal after it was signed”. The TPPA was only signed yesterday, about the same time this statement seems to have been posted, so dissing Key’s post-signing handling is unjustified.

Litle also did a live chat about the TPPA on Stuff.

If Labour opposes the TPPA why wasn’t the Labour Party more involved with the anti-TPPA protest today?

We’re opposed to the TPPA in its current form because compromises to New Zealand’s sovereignty are not justified by the meagre economic gains. A number of Labour people are involved in today’s protests, including MPs who’ve spoken at rallies around the country.

But Labour involvement with the protest was low profile, especially with Labour’s front bench MPs.

Grant Robertson was at the Wellington protest but wasn’t prominent in Stuff’s: Protesters in Wellington join calls against TPPA signing

Opposition politicians and union members were among those in attendance, with several sharing their concerns about the deal.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said the TPPA was not a normal trade agreement and required New Zealand to sacrifice too much.

“This is an agreement [where] New Zealand is having to give away the right to make laws and policies in our interests, and that is wrong and we cannot accept that.”

Robertson said the issue was “far from over”, and Kiwis opposed to the deal needed to continue their protests.

“This is not over: as New Zealanders, we have to stand together [and] stand up for our rights to make laws in our own interests.”

Standard Labour talking points on the TPPA. Nothing from Robertson about it on his Facebook page.

Jacinda Ardern seems to have kept her distance from the Auckland protest, and obviously Phil Goff and David Shearer would not be seen supporting the protest.

Meka Whaitiri was there, interesting for Labour’s Associate Primary Industries Spokesperson to be against a trade agreement that will benefit primary industries.

Labour’s trade spokesperson David Clark doesn’t seem to have associated with any protests.

Phil Twyford was at the Auckland protest as this photo with Whaitiri on his Facebook page shows.

TPPATwyfordWhaitiri

Note the US branded jacket with a Labour logo
– with a ‘Corporate Traitor’ sign in the background (hat tip Iceberg)

As Spokesperson for Auckland Issues and Associate Spokesperson for Transport (Auckland and Ports) Twyford could be out of step with Auckland business and export interests there.

Sue Moroney showed her and Labour’s presence via Facebook:

TPPAMoroney

Duncan Garner spotted David Cunliffe:

Cunliffe also posted on his Facebook page with some loyal party lines:

Today, I joined thousands of Kiwis in protest against provisions in the TPPA that would undermine our sovereignty. Great to see people from all walks of life engaged and expressing their views peacefully and thoughtfully.

The New Zealand Labour Party has always stood for free trade and always will – just not at the expense of our sovereignty.

TPPACunliffe

Miriam Bookman Hi David,

I am very disappointed in seeing Labour supporters marching alongside an anti semitic banner, and that you think it appropriate to re-post this image. This is not the Labour I wish to support.

It may be hard to choose your neighbours in a protest march but choice of publicity photos can be an issue.

‪#‎TPPANoWay‬ March down Queen Street Auckland .

Taranaki would presumably cover New Plymouth where Andrew Little has stood twice for Parliament (unsuccessfully, he’s a List MP).

Taranaki-King Country Labour flew a flag for their party:

TPPATaranakiTrade1

The sign in the background appears to be welcoming, but it’s the opposite, as Taranaki-King Country Labour show in another shot.

TPPATaranakiTrade2

That may not be a problem, the Trade Ministers of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, USA or Vietnam may never need to deal with Taranaki-King Country Labour.

 

Three futile Members’ Bills drawn

There was a Members’ bill draw today, with 68 competing in the ballot.

Convention Centre Act Repeal Bill – Tracey Martin (NZ First) – would repeal the Sky City legislation.

Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill  – Meka Whaitiri (Labour) –

Whaitiri said the current law had a “glaring omission” in that it didn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of the Authority.

Her bill would amend the Environmental Protection Authority Act to add an additional  objective that the organisation must aim to protect, maintain, and enhance New Zealand’s environment.

Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill – Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First)

…would affect the TPPA – it would prohibit New Zealand from entering international agreements that include provision for investor-state dispute resolution.

Source: Aimmee Gulliver at the very useful Beehive Live.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog isn’t impressed – Three silly bills.

Some members bills are very good. But none of them got drawn from the ballot today.

These are all rather silly backwards looking bills.

I predict all three bills will fail to get past first reading.

They probably will fail at the first reading.

Sky City repeal bill: NZ First want to have a second vote on a law that has already been passed. Considering that we have avoided any injection of taxpayer funds into the convention centre, their timing is pretty bad for them.

The (second one) complains that the Environment Protection Authority is not required to protect the environment. This flies in the face of the reality that the EPA has declined almost all the major off shore projects before it on environmental grounds. This is a bill to fix a problem that does not exist.

And the third bill is the most stupid. It would, if retrospective, force NZ to withdraw from basically every international trade agreement we have ever signed, pull out of the WTO, and never take part in any future trade deals. And NZ First claims to be pro-exporters!

They look like politicking bills rather than being aimed at having any chance of success.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti result a bit interesting

The result of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election is a bit interesting but not much can be deduced from it. By-elections are generally not an accurate reflection of how an electorate or the country would vote in a general election.

For the record here’s a summary of the official results:

Michael Appleby (ALCP) 161 1.5%
Marama Davidson (Greens) 1188 11.3%
Adam Holland (Independent) 13 0.1%
Te Hamua Nikora (Mana) 2607 24.8%
Na Raihania (Maori) 2104 20.0%
Maurice Wairau (Independent) 27 0.3%
Meka Whaitiri (Labour) 4368 41.5%
Informal 51 0.5%
TOTAL 10519

As predicted the turnout was very low with about 1/3 of registered voters participating. In the previous general election in 2008 the turnout was 20,455.

Turnout in the last by-election, Te Tai Tokerau in 2011 was 13,594.

During the campaign there were claims from Mana that their candidate was polling within 5% of Labour. No evidence was shown.

It’s difficult to meaningfully compare by-election results with previous elections, especially when an icon like Parakura Horomia was involved.

Here are the last three election results:

Candidate/Party  % Vote  % Party
2005 Parakura Horomia (Labour)  53.75      58.28
Atareta Poananga (Maori)  42.80  28.06
Tauha Te Kani (Destiny)   3.47  1.97
2008 Parakura Horomia (Labour) 51.49     57.20
Derek Fox (Maori)   42.96 26.89
Bevan Tipene (Green)   5.55  3.16
2011 Parakura Horomia (Labour)    60.71  49.58
Na Raihania (Maori)  23.10  14.98
Tawhai McClutchie (Mana) 14.28   9.60

There was no Maori candidate prior to 2005 so earlier results are difficult to compare.

It generally looks like Labour support moved to Mana and the Greens.

Labour will be happy to have had a comfortable win, albeit with a significantly lower %.

Mana will be happy to have nearly doubled their %.

The Maori Party had a strong candidate (I thought he looked the best) so should be a bit concerned about their drop.

Greens will be happy, but they promote themselves are strongly pro treaty and pro Maori and got just a little more than their general poll support level. They had by far the best party leader support in the campaign from Metiria Turei.

Bottom line

The end result is that Meka Whaitiri has a new job and Labour have a new MP. And the parties and the pundits will scratch around claiming positives and negatives that don’t really mean much in the whole scheme of things.

If you want some amusement check out Martyn Bradbury’s take on it: BREAKING: Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election: Labour limp home