Peters pulls rank and blows off two Labour Māori MP initiatives

Winston Peters sounds like he is acting Prime Minister already, throwing cold water on two initiatives being promoted by Labour MPs, a bill to protect Māori seats, and aims to make Te Reo compulsory in schools.

Predictably, Rino Tirikatene’s Māori seats entrenchment bill drawn from the members’ ballot has a promise of failure with both National and NZ First indicating they won’t support it.

Stuff: A bill to entrench the Māori seats won’t get NZ First or National support

A Labour MP’s bill to entrench the seven Māori seats will not have the numbers to pass due to opposition from both NZ First and National.

Rino Tirikatene, who holds the Te Tai Tonga seat for Labour, had his member’s bill drawn out of the ballot last week.

His bill would give the seven Māori seats the same protection as the general seats, meaning a 75 per cent majority is needed to overturn them – currently Māori seats can be abolished with a majority of just 51 per cent.

But NZ First leader Winston Peters who campaigned on a referendum to abolish the Māori seats at last year’s election said his colleague Shane Jones’ position that neither he or any of the party’s MPs would vote in favour of it was a “fair summation”.

It’s understood the National Party also plans to oppose the bill – the Opposition’s position on the Māori seats is that they’ll stay as long as Māori want them but they don’t stand candidates in the seats.

The NZ First caucus will officially decide which way its voting when it meets next week but Peters said entrenching the Māori seats was “not part and parcel of any coalition agreement and we’re here to promote the coalition agreement we’ve got”.

“Views like (Tirikatene’s) can nevertheless be promoted by backbenchers but they cannot command the coalition agreement as a consequence,” Peters said.

Peters is deputy PM at the moment, but it sounds like he is practicing for when he takes over as acting PM next month.

And Labour MPs trying to talk up Te Reo in schools have been been told to ‘watch their words’ by Peters.

Stuff: Winston Peters on compulsory te reo talk: ‘If they want to be in this Government they’ll be on the same page’

NZ First leader Winston Peters says if Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson want to be in the Government they will need to watch their words.

Māori Development Minister Mahuta said compulsory te reo in schools was a matter of “not if but going to be when” on Tuesday morning.

This was a slight shift from the Government’s current policy, which only calls for “universal availability” and integration of Te Reo into the primary school curriculum by 2025. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has specifically avoided the word “compulsory.”

Associate Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson made a similar slip up in December.

Peters, the deputy prime minister and leader of NZ First – who oppose compulsory te reo – issued a sharp rebuke towards Mahuta and Jackson on Tuesday afternoon.

“Neither of them are speaking for the Government policy full stop. If they want to be in this Government they’ll be on the same page.”

If he pushes his deputy weight around like this what will he be like as acting PM?

With Peters at apparent liberty to pick and choose what he won’t support this will make the Greens look like wimps if they roll over for NZ First and Labour and support the flawed and widely opposed waka jumping bill.

 

Maori seats should be ‘entrenched’ or scrapped?

Last week a bill seeking to ‘entrench’ the Māori seats in Parliament was drawn from the members’ ballot last week. Are the Māori seats an important part of our democracy, or outdated and unnecessary under MMP?

RNZ: Bill to protect Māori seats selected

The Electoral Entrenchment of Maori Seats Ammendment Bill introduced by Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene ensures Māori seats have the same protections as general electorates seats.

Mr Tirikatane said that under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates are entrenched, meaning only a 75 percent majority can overturn them.

However, only a majority of 51 per cent is needed to abolish Māori seats.

Mr Tirikatene said the bill was about fixing the constitution.

“We should be able to have equal protection just like the general seats.”

The protection of Māori electoral seats was vital, Mr Tirikatene said.

“I think they’re unique to Aotearoa, it symbolises our Treaty of Waitangi partnership and they’ve been a long standing, important part of our parliamentary democracy.”

‘Entrenchment’ is a curious term to use here. If the bill passes it would make it a lot harder to get a big enough vote in Parliament to scrap the Māori seats so it may effectively entrench them, but it doesn’t guarantee they would always be retained.

Entrenchment (Oxford):

1 [with object] Establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely.

1.1 Establish (someone) in a position of great strength or security.

‘by 1947 de Gaulle’s political opponents were firmly entrenched in power’

1.2 Apply extra legal safeguards to (a right guaranteed by legislation)‘steady progress was made in entrenching the individual rights of noblemen’

2 [with object] Establish (a military force) in trenches or other fortified positions.

Origin: Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘place within a trench’): from en-, in- ‘into’ + trench.

Labour currently have about 37% of the vote in Parliament, and 100% of the Māori seats, they would easily stop them from being scrapped if a 75% vote was required. Greens also support retaining the Māori seats, and while National have previously had a policy to scrap them they have softened on this.

Winston Peters and therefore NZ First have strongly supported scrapping the seats.

So does Barry Soper: Seven Maori seats are obsolete

The seven Maori seats in Parliament should be scrapped. The need for them has long passed.

Originally they were only meant to be there for five years to give Maori the right to vote in the general election 150 years ago this year. That was extended by another five years but in 1876 it was extended indefinitely.

The Royal Commission, which proposed our MMP electorate system, said if it was adopted the Maori seats should go. It rightly argued that under MMP all parties would have to pay attention to Maori voters and their concerns and they felt their continued existence would marginalise those concerns.

Around that time the seats came the closest they’ve ever come to abolition with an Electoral Reform Bill, but it failed after strong opposition from Maori.

The seats have been something of a political football ever since. The First MMP election in 1996 saw them all going to New Zealand First, which lost the lot of them just three years later. At the last election Winston Peters promised a binding referendum to consider their abolition and on reducing the number of MPs to 100. His coalition deal with Labour’s put paid to that.

Before the 2008 election John Key promised to get rid of the seats but in his first coalition deal embraced the Maori Party which served as National’s insurance policy right up until the last election.

And today there are the most Maori MPs ever in Parliament, 29 with our indigenous culture’s heritage, or 24 percent of Parliament and most coming from the general electorate roll.

All of the political leaders with the exception of Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw lay claim to Maori heritage. So surely Maori are, or should be, better catered for then ever before.

The seats have become redundant, other than a political crutch for Labour, they serve no purpose and rather than entrenching them, Parliament should be doing away with them.

Should the seats be protected for Māori, or are they give an unfair electoral advantage to Labour?

Is this a real problem, or a self interested jack-up?

Would Tirikatene be an MP if there were no Māori seats? Possibly now via Labour’s list, but probably now not if he hadn’t already been an MP.

The bill would require the support of NZ First or National to pass, so it seems far from guaranteed.

What about public support? 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll August 2017:

  • Should be kept 55%
  • Should be abolished 13%
  • Should be abolished some time in the future 23%

Is the Tirikatene bill trying to fix something that isn’t broken?

 

 

Four new members’ bills drawn

Now the new Government has settled in the National Opposition is dominating members’ bills. This isn’t surprising as they dominate the number of MPs who can submit bills.

RNZ: Saliva testing bill drawn from parliamentary ballot

National MP Jami-Lee Ross’s oral fluid testing member’s bill would allow the police to test the saliva of motorists for residues of meth, ecstasy and cannabis.

Labour’s Rino Tirikatene’s Electoral Amendment Bill would entrench Māori seats in legislation – bringing them into line with general seats.

Another bill by National’s Ian McKelvie would allow Justices of the Peace and Community Magistrates to hear category one dog control cases, in a bid to ease delays in the courts.

National’s Paula Bennett also had her firearms prohibition bill drawn. It would ban gang members from owning guns.

Is the ban on gang members from owning guns ‘virtue signalling’. It seems unnecessary. There are already rigorous checks done before firearm licenses are issued and also reissued – I am currently re-applying for my own license (ten yearly) and this includes a home visit.

 

Different views on the Iranian non-handshakes

There are contrasting views on the Iranian handshake incident this week at NZ Herald.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Labour’s no-shake ‘ballsy’ and deserves respect

Two men deserve to be singled out for services to women this week.

They’re Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Rino Tirikatene.

On Thursday, their fellow Labour MP Jo Luxton found herself in an humiliating situation. She was told just before a Select Committee that an Iranian delegation due to appear at it would not be shaking her hand. Because she’s a woman. She was told not even to extend her hand to them.

So the lads – likely acting on gut instinct given the speed with which things unfolded – joined her in solidarity and also refused to shake the hands of the Iranian delegation.

That, right there, is a minor diplomatic incident. It has the ability to cause offence. You know it is the case because media inquiries were immediately routed through to the Prime Minister’s office.

Well boo hoo to the Iranians. They deserve it. And good on the Labour lads. Fist bump to both of them.

With their gut-instinct reaction, these two men stood up for women in New Zealand. Their act told the Iranians that bigotry has no place here. It told them that our people reckon women are equal to men.

In contrast – Weekend Herald editorial: Iran’s no-handshake rule did not deserve a rude response

Labour MP Jo Luxton, chair of the primary production select committee, did the sensible thing when advised not to attempt a handshake when she met a delegation from Iran. As a woman, Luxton said later, the situation made her uncomfortable, however she understood she had to deal with cultural differences.

Two male colleagues, Labour MPs Kieran McAnulty and Rino Tirikatene, were not as diplomatic. They refused to shake hands with the delegation if a woman could not. Were they right?

Some will apply the principle, When in Rome, and say anyone whose religion frowns on physical contact with a women who is not his wife should nevertheless observe Western customs when in a Western country. But that suggests this custom is as important to our culture as religious rules are in theirs. Is it really?

A man in Iran has a different way of greeting a woman, with a hand to his chest and a nod or bow. Many Western women might find that preferable to a handshake that, between men, is supposed to be firm.

That sounds like a good way of greeting to me. Better than the sometimes macho jousting of a handshake.

I’d prefer it to a hongi in some circumstances too, that really involves in getting into people’s personal space.”The hongi is performed by grasping the other person’s hand, as with a handshake, leaning forward and gently pressing noses – nose to nose, breath to breath. Some, but not everyone, may also kiss women on the cheek.”

And I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to a squish from my gnarly old nose.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters was in no doubt Luxton did the right thing and her male colleagues were in the wrong. “You’ve got to have regard for cultural sensitivities around the world … and any member of Parliament would be expected to know that,” he said.

There is a simple test. Was the Iranian greeting rude to Luxton? It sounds graceful and respectful. Were our male MPs rude to the Iranians? It sounds like it. They need to grow up.

I think that customs should be considered whichever country people are in. Finding a form of greeting that is mutually acceptable shouldn’t be that difficult.

And talking of when in Aotearoa do what Māori  do, I wonder how many visitors feeling uncomfortable pōwhiri?

A pōwhiri usually begins outside the marae with a wero (challenge). A warrior from the tangata whenua (hosts) will challenge the manuhiri (guests), checking to see whether they are friend or foe. He may carry a taiaha (spear-like weapon), and will lay down a token  – often a small branch – for the visitors to pick up to show they come in peace.

A spear wielding, grimacing and vocal approach may not be everyone’s kapu of tī – I wouldn’t be surprised if some people find it quite intimidating.

Tough for Turei in Te Tai Tonga

After resigning as Green co-leader and withdrawing from the party list Metiria Turei’s only chance of staying in Parliament was in winning the Te Tai Tonga electorate. This is the first time as a Green MP she has tried to win an electorate rather than going for party votes.

A Maori Television poll suggests it will be tough for Turei – Te Tai Tonga – Preferred Candidate:

  • Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 57.1%
  • Mei Reedy-Taare (Maori Party) 22.1%
  • Metiria Turei (Greens) 20.7%

Tirikatene is not the best performing of MPs but he has strong family and iwiw ties to the electorate.

Electorate result in 2014:

  • Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 41.77%
  • Ngaire Button (Maori Party) 24.19%
  • Dora Roimata Langsbury (Greens) 15.69%
  • Georgina Beyer (Mana) 9.87%
  • Emma-Jane Mihaere Kingi (Legalise Cannabis) 4.97%

 

“Abuse the hell out of them!”

Clare Trevett suggests that Labour should Be careful what you wish for

After five years as the Invisible Man’s doppelganger, Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene has finally broken out.

The trigger was the Budget tax on smoking. His chosen dance floor was Twitter. In person, Tirikatene is a shambling, genial, diffident character. It was akin to watching the Incredible Hulk hulk out.

Tirikatene came to athe attention, including me – see Rino Tirikatene on Twitter

He started by saying the Maori Party “are slowly turning Aotearoa into a kuia state”. On and on he went, using the hashtag #kuiastate (Nanny State) for each tweet.

He was only goaded further when Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox pointed out that Labour was in fact voting for this “kuia state” measure.

NZH0556900518

The reason for the flurry was a prod from his leader to lift his game. He did it so effectively he ended up being told to rein it in again.

Labour might want to be careful what it wishes for. At the moment, the Maori Party is the enemy because it is in Government. Even worse, it is in Government with the National Party.

Yet the Maori Party could end up being the solution to a tricky problem for Labour. There are scenarios in which the Maori Party could give Labour and the Greens the extra numbers they need to get into Government without having to go to Winston Peters. Andrew Little could well find himself bracing to knock on the Maori Party’s door, come 2017.

The Maori Party could end up ‘holding the balance of power’, in which case it’s probably likely they would choose to go left rather than right.

But it could get complicated for more than Labour.

If both the Maori Party and NZ First were needed together to form a majority coalition would NZ First accept an arrangement like that? Would National or Labour?

Would NZ First accept being in a coalition arrangement with either the Maori Party or the Greens?

Many convolutions are possible come the election next year.

However Labour must have a very complicated strategy.

They want to wipe out the Maori Party and take them out of the coalition equation. And pick up their votes.

They want to take NZ First out of the coalition equation. And pick up some of their votes.

But they may end up having to go to either or both parties in order to put together the numbers that would enable them to form the next government.

Abusing the hell out of them now may make things quite complicated later.

Rino Tirikatene on Twitter

A number of MPs have got into trouble with Twitter. Last term NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor earned a reputation for tweeting gaffe after gaffe. She was dumped down the list by her party.

Yesterday someone suggested that Labour MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene, may be headed for similar infamy.

He had this exchange with a journalist:

Well, stage a walkout then.
And miss all the fun? Not likely.Best I stay here and observe the shenanigans.
You are not paid to “have fun”. You are paid to hold the govt to account.

As if I needed reminding. Don’t worry, I’m only having fun at Nationals expense in my own snarky way. Much like yourself.

Yes.I particularly like spending your miniscule portion of tax while I’m here. It won’t make you happy but,hei aha

Gee there are some humourless people. Why do National’s trolls even bother.

Caffeine Addict is nowhere near being a National supporter or troll. His Twitter description: “NZ Journo/comms, and social media”.

Also:

Who’s ‘s press secretary. Who checks the checkers. Watch out for the bus cause the Nats. like rolling people in front.

Perhaps a press secretary/media person from Labour could have a quiet word with Rino.

Possibly the worst action of the day was this re-tweet:

RinoTirikateneRetweet

It doesn’t look good for an MP to associate with and distribute comments like that.

Cunliffe and the Labour blokes

Different columns on Labour, one from Rachel Smalley claiming David Cunliffe is trying to attract the female vote, and another by Duncan Garner on Labour blokes disregarding party interests and trying to shore up their electorate chances.

Rachel Smalley: Cunliffe courting the female vote

The most recent policy announcements suggest to me that David Cunliffe is not cutting it with women. You’ll remember Helen Clark lost the support of women in her final term, and I don’t think Labour has ever claimed it back. During his leadership challenge, remember that Cunliffe wasn’t popular with women in his own party. I suspect that’s resonating in the wider public too.

According to polls this year both Labour and Cunliffe have lost support from female voters.

So he’s going after the female vote. Women are more likely to bounce between parties. Men tend to vote for what’s right for their own wallets, but women are more likely to consider issues beyond personal wealth and economics.

A particular problem Cunliffe has is that women are more adept at reading body language and don’t like it when it differs from verbal language.

Even his “sorry I’m a man” speech, which was obviously targeting women, had suggestions of a lack of authenticity.

Meanwhile Duncan Garner posts Three Labour MPs say ‘stuff the party – I want to win my seat!’

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

He has left Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene out.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Davis is a staunch promoter of Northland interests and has put this before the party.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That has been a bizarre sideshow. Cunliffe initially responded “the moa is not a goer” but Mallard has kept on going on about his pet project of the future.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

Tirikatene also voted with the Government on the tree bill.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

O’Connor, Tirikatene and Mallard are relying totally on holding their current electorates in order to stay in Parliament, they don’t feature on the Labour list.

Davis is in a doubtful list position and to put a bob each way on his chances he needs to keenly contest Hone Harawira to try and win Te Tai Tokerau off him.

While Cunliffe is struggling to woo the women voters some of the strongest male presence in Labour is going their own way, disregarding the wider party interests, and as Garner says, putting self preservation first. This suggests they don’t hold much hope of the party doing well.

Cunliffe is struggling to appeal to women and failing to appeal to his own caucus for unity.

It’s hard to see how this can work out well for Labour.

Unless Kim Dotcom sinks National, giving Labour  a shot at forming a Government despite their shambles.

 

Marae Investigates Shane Jones – another handout Hone?

Yesterday Shane Jones was interviewed on Marae Investigates. The interview was in Maori, translated subtitles used here in English.

He ws first asked about rising like Lazarus back to Labour’s front bench – “is this your last leg? In your political career if you mess up again will you be looking for a new job?”

I am very pleased I am vindicated of any wrongdoing, I wish to let everyone know I will no longer be relitigating any of those problems

That’s referring to the Bill Liu inquiry in particular, and is not how many commentators saw it. He was cleared of breaking to law but criticised by the report for ways he dealt with giving Liu citizenship. And he will have to keep facing others relitigating those deficiencies.

…but you are right, I have been given a lifeline within the ranks of my friends, and my Party.

Jones has probably his finally chance to live up to high expectations of him in politics, so far he has disappointingly underperformed and made embarrassing mistakes.

“So you are looking forward now?”

Yes I am, but in politics you can’t only afford to look forward, you have to look all around you, because we won’t just be given a mandate to govern our country, we have to work hard with our friends.

“If you don’t look behind you you could be backstabbed, right?”

Well, from me to you, in politics that will mostly come from your friends.

“Willie Jackson says Labour Maori MPs are useless and lazy. What’s your response to him?” (Jones himself has been criticised for being lazy and sloppy).

Well, Willie is one confused individual, when my leader Shearer announced an investigation into the Bill Liu immigration saga Willie absolutely got stuck in, he rubbished me and trashed me.

Jones has already relitigated the saga.

I was really angry and upset at that time with him and to this point he still hasn’t apologised to me even though I was cleared of those accusations, but we all know he’s boastful and can yap.

Again claiming he was cleared, but this was  only of the more serious charges – “unlawful behaviour”. The post interview discussion (with Willie Jackson) mentions “process issues” that weren’t a good look for Jones. Jackson also laughs at the idea of apologising, saying Jones should be thanking him – and he says Jones should never mentiion Bill Liu again.

But he’s right if his intention is to awaken us so that we don’t become complacent and take it for granted that the Maori vote will just return to us.

“You can kind of understand what he was saying becasue Rino and Nanaia haven’t been seen recently, and we have seen less of Parekura, so are you the saviour of the Labour Party’s Maori caucus? Can you inspire them back to former strength”?

There’s another person in scriptures, and his name isn’t Lazarus, if you think my skills are that good.

An odd lack of leadership ambition.

But let me say this, the seats that Rino and Nanaia hold are well looked after by them, and they do not take that support for granted, and they are working hard to not let those seats go to someone else.

The skills for each politician aren’t the same as each other. One skill I have is being able to hold my own with mainstream media attacking.

A strange skill to be promoting.

But in regards Willie’s comments about Parekura, let (him) explain his future. He’s a chief who has worked very hard for a long time for everyone. So let’s leave him be.

Is Jones suggesting Horomia has earned a right to be left to laze in peace? That’s probably not what he meant, but some could see it that way.

“You have returned to the front bench now, so what are the big issues for you and Labour?”

Health is a big issue that we will tackle and we will support Annette King absolutely because as we have seen on this programme this morning, the devastating effects of a genetic disorder on one family and one brave woman.

We will never stop supporting health workers from the sector who help families like the one we saw this morning.

It’s not about re-jigging budgets, it’s about real people who need real support.

That doesn’t say much about what they will do.

Now one of the big issues for Northland and the East Coast is about preserving out environment – planting more Totara and Kauri on our lands.

It may not be for everyone but I’m saddened at the unemployment rates in our rural communities. We need projects like that, that support our people in the regions.

Without a doubt if we were to be the Government we would be working and talking to communities about projects like that.

That won’t provide productive employment. Planting more Totara and Kauri would presumably need to be funded – by whom?

“Can you take the Tamaki Mataurau electorate off Pita Sharples?”

Pita is like the pope, he wants to keep the seat until he passes away. His time has come and gone. I don’t want to talk him up despite his useless position on MTS and the new spectrums.

I will challenge him about this in parliament, but the sun has certainly set for him in politics.

Maori Television Services and the radio spectrums are more Government handout type issues.

“What about the Maori Party? Will they suffer the same fate as the Moa and the Huia as a result of this leadership saga?

In politics if you are fundamentally split it won’t be long to go before it’s all over.

There’s a certain irony considering Labour’s own leadership saga and apparent factional splits.

If they don’t put Te Ururoa in as leader then Hone Harawira will fill the gap as leader for that part of Maori society.

Into their second term in coalition with National the  Maori Party would appear to serve a different constituency to Mana, which is much further to the left.

But if they do put him is as leader I think the party will survive.

“While you’re talking about Te Ururoa he’s 57 now, it appears the Maori Party isn’t connected with young people and voters, is that an area they can improve in?”

They are not the only ones faced with that problem, we are as well in Labour, it’s a difficult and hard job to chse the youth vote.

Jones is 53. Parekura Horomia is 63. Nanaia Mahuta is 43. Rino Tirikatene is about 40.

Beyond that the Maori Party still has plenty of spirit apparently with our youth but the major issue is they are fighting amongst themselves. That’s why I say the sun is setting.

Jones will have to do a lot to prevent the sun setting on his political career. Rated as a big political prospect he has not yet lived up to expectations, and has been embarrassed by poor process (on Bill Liu) and poor behaviour (porn movies on taxpayers expense).

And talking of taxpayers expense, that is all Jones talked about trying to do, Health, Maori television, pots of gold at the end of the radio spectrum, native tree planting programmes – all costs, nothing productive or self-supporting.

I’ve heard Jones referred to as a more right leaning Labour MP, but there was no sign of that in the interview. He sounded like a Maori socialist, another handout Hone.

Jones has been given a political lifeline by David Shearer, and is now in a prominent position on Labour’s front bench that looks decidely weak.

If he can’t show leadership and shine now his sun will have never have risen to great heights, so won’t have far to go to set.

Tau Henare auditioning for Speaker?

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

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

@felixmarwick

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

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

http://t.co/m4uJHgmC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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