End of year picks

It’s the time of year when politicians seem to start winding down (a couple of weeks before I can) and pundits applaud and award.

Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year

POLITICIAN OF YEAR: JOHN KEY

In fact, Key went from the crème-de-la-crème to the crème-de-la-crap at times.

RUNNER-UP (OPPOSITION POLITICIAN): ANDREW LITTLE

He won the leadership thanks to the Union vote, but hey – who cares? This is about politics, it is about winning. Little used the tool that was available to him and he won the leadership.

RUNNER-UP (BACKBENCHER): KELVIN DAVIS

Kelvin Davis stood up to Kim Dotcom and stopped him. This included annihilating Hone Harawira’s political career in an upset victory in Te Tai Tokerau that few pundits expected.

RUNNER-UP (“POLITICAL NON-POLITICIAN”): A three-way tie

KIM DOTCOM

WHALE OIL

NICKY HAGER

Not sure that Hager deserves that, he failed with his primary aim and it’s yet to be seen whether the gains he achieves outweigh the losses.

Dotcom must be there simply for impact rather than success. But otherwise that looks a reasonable line up.

Duncan Garner’s picks are along similar lines to Gower’s.

WINNERS

1. JOHN KEY

For all the obvious reasons. He is still the PM and he is still widely popular according to the polls. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him and he almost won the election outright. He’ll have to watch it doesn’t go to his head.

2. ANDREW LITTLE

Couldn’t win a fight in a kindergarten but ends the year on top. His caucus didn’t want him, his party didn’t want him, his electorate didn’t want him. Yet he ends the year looking strong and competent as Labour’s new leader.

3. KELVIN DAVIS

He beat Hone Harawira and therefore beat Kim Dotcom – do I have to say anymore?

4. SUE BRADFORD

She knew Dotcom and Harawira were in an unholy alliance and she put her principles before it all. She called it right – she has values and principles that are beyond reproach whether you agree with her politics or not.

5. CAM SLATER – WHALEOIL.

Yes he’s a dirt-bag, muck-raking, scum-bag attack blogger, but he likes it that way. He doesn’t play by any rule book yet he’s been judged a journalist by the courts. Despite having his dirty laundry aired for the world to see he remains talked about, his blog gets more hits than ever, he breaks stories and the PM returns his texts. Oh and he wins mainstream media awards.

LOSERS

1. KIM DOTCOM

Threw millions at trying to rig an election, but the public weren’t fooled. He’s now fighting to stay out of jail. Rest my case.

2. HONE HARAWIRA

He picked the wrong rich friends. Should have stayed poor. At least he’d still be in Parliament. Woeful judgement.

3. LAILA HARRE

See above.

4. JUDITH COLLINS

Was on track to be the next National Party Leader – now she’s struggling to be heard from the backbenchers. Huge fall from grace. Career in tatters.

5. DAVID CUNLIFFE

Came across as a fake and then apologised for being a man. Do we have to say anything more? Awful defeat.

(Close mention: Grant Robertson, rejected twice as Labour’s future leader. That will hurt and in politics if winning if everything, Robertson has twice failed. Ouch. Still, he has huge chance to recover well.)

That’s a pretty good summary.

The Green ceiling

The Greens had high hopes for their party vote this election, expecting an upward trend to continue. Targets and claims were 15% and higher. If you believed their hype like Greens did a significant improvement was not only feasible, it was a certainty.

Green reaction to a mediocre result shock, disbelief that their rising greatness wasn’t reflected in the polls. Depending on the special vote count they may barely get the same as in 2011, which to Greens is a pounding of their pride and expectations.

But from outside the Green bubble it is not surprising, despite Labour’s weakness leaving many left wing votes up for grabs.

While many people have some admiration for Green advocating on environmental issues there are strong concerns for too much Green influence, especially anywhere near Government. This is due to extreme stances, such as moratoriums and bans on anything to do with fossil fuel and mineral exploration and extraction.

And it’s due to their strong socialist leanings and policies. Greens try to disguise their socialism with do-good fronts like lifting children out of poverty, but many voters see through their solutions, which invariably mean giving everyone the same amount of money and housing, all provided or imposed by the State.

Making things better for kids and poor people is admirable and should be given more political attention. Greens have succeeded there. But there is not a lot of support for their blanket ‘handout’ approach, which many people see as idealistic and unworkable.

A major push for Green growth was based on giving much more attention to their economic credentials and ambitions. Instead this helped fix the Green ceiling in place.

A common phrase that’s associated with Greens having anything to do with running the country’s finances is “scare the bejeebers”.

At a time when the country is just emerging (relatively successfully) from the worst world financial situation in generations there is a wariness of starting a Government spending spree, handing out money and houses to every poor person who “deserves” as good as anyone else regardless of their efforts.

It’s ironic that a party that campaigned hard on having a forward looking “smarter cleaner” economy wants to achieve their aims through last century socialism.

There’s also a number of conflicting images.

Rod Donald, Jeanette Fitzsimons and Nandor Tanczos looked and acted like real Greens. Sue Bradford looked and acted like a sleeves rolled up social campaigner.

While Greens transitioned to new leadership very successfully and improved their vote Russel Norman and Metiria Turei look  very different to their target constituency. Bradford left the party when she missed out on the leadership (and this year she left the Mana Party when they betrayed their principles by joining forces with Kim Dotcom).

Green election results:

  • 1999 – 106,560 votes, 5.16%
  • 2002 – 142,250 votes, 7.00%
  • 2005 – 120,521 votes, 5.30%
  • 2008 – 157,613 votes, 6.72%
  • 2011 – 247,372 votes, 11.06%
  • 2014 – pre-specials 210,764 votes, 10.02%

Greens will have picked up a significant share of Labour’s decline in 2011 but although Labour kept shedding votes this year Greens weren’t able to capitalise.

The Greens seem to have hit a support ceiling and unless they change markedly 10-12% is likely to be their limit.

And they will be a little nervous about Gareth Morgan proposing a ‘blue-green’ party that is prepared to promote environmental issues with any government with a more pragmatic and effective approach, and without the socialism.

Greens do contribute significantly to Parliament and will be partly responsible for National paying more attention to environmental and “poverty” issues. But they haven’t yet been a part of Government after nearly two decades of trying.

And a support ceiling won’t prevent them from declining due to competition and ongoing impotence.

Minto on Mana/IP alliance pros, cons and questions

John Minto has posted at The Daily blog about the conference debate on the proposed alliance between the Internet and Mana Parties. It gives a good outline of party thinking and lays out how he sees the pros and cons.

Mana and the Internet Party – strategic alliance or wtf? 

The proposal for some sort of electoral relationship arose from a meeting between Mana leader Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom earlier in the year. The first benefit to both Mana Movement and the Internet Party – and the country for that matter – is to ensure all votes cast to get rid of the National government are counted. Under current law a party which falls short of the 5% threshold has its votes wasted – potentially up to 130,000 anti-National votes not counted.

This fundamentally undemocratic aspect of our MMP system is a result of pressure from National and Labour to keep parliament as a cosy duopoly and disenfranchise thousands of voters in the process.

So the AGM debated at length whether to proceed to formally explore a possible alliance. It was a riveting four hours as speakers spoke for or against the idea.

As part of the discussion I was asked to present what I saw as the “pros” and “cons” of a possible “strategic alliance” with the Internet Party.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pros

1.    Increased profile for Mana and as we are seen as more relevant with a larger combined party vote with the Internet Party.

2.    Creation of interest and even excitement among many younger voters and non-voters.

3.    A greater likelihood of getting Mana Movement list MPs through a combined party vote.

4.    Greater resources to fight a party vote campaign.

5.    Greater resources to help inspire and enrol current non-voters and get them to the polling booth.

6.    There is already some areas of strong policy agreement with the Internet Party to: stop GCSB spying, withdraw from the “five eyes” spy alliance, provide internet privacy rights and cheap/free access to the internet, provide free tertiary education and oppose the TPPA.

7.    Ensuring that the Internet Party and their supporters are committed to changing the government.

8.    MANA brand remains in Maori electorate campaigns which are a key focus this election.

Cons

1.    Damage to the public perception of Mana:

  •  Mana may lose respect as a kaupapa Maori movement and damage our chances in the Maori seats.
  •  Mana Movement may lose respect as a movement for the poor and dispossessed if we have an alliance with a high-profile wealthy partner.
  •  Mana Movement may be seen by some as compromising our principles for money (irrespective of the truth of this)

2.    A potential watering down of our policies to create a joint Mana-Internet Party vote campaign.

3.    A potential loss of control of Mana policy and direction to a new joint venture.

4.    A risk of ending up with fewer seats than we would have on our own.

The three key questions which arose from this are:

1.    Would an alliance enhance or damage Mana as a kaupapa Maori movement?

2.    Would an alliance enable us to gain greater parliamentary representation without compromising our policies or principles?

3.    How would we retain our integrity, and be seen to retain our integrity, in such an alliance?

 All speakers recognised the risks to the movement and to the individuals involved – we all value our integrity – but after four hours a clear consensus emerged that we should take the step to see if an arrangement agreeable to Mana can be reached. (Each of Mana’s seven rohe supported the decision to keep talking with the Internet Party).

Mana Party members agreed to “move forward in negotiations” (NZ Herald):

The Mana Party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

Minto:

We are withholding judgement till we see what emerges from further discussion. At that point any possible agreement will be discussed by Mana rohe and branches before a final vote is taken. 

However Hone Harawira seems to have decided already and intimates it won’t be decided by a party vote…

Asked whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Harawira said: “I’d certainly like to think so.”

And while the party is consulting the executive (led by Harawira) will decide.

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

See  Harawira’s way or the highway.

In the meantime opposition continues – Dotcom a neoliberal millionaire who sounds like John Key – Mana’s Sue Bradford

  The Internet Party leader did not manage to seal an alliance with Mana when he visited the party’s AGM on Saturday (although talks will continue). And his charm seems to have singularly failed to winover one of Mana leader Hone Harawira’s key lieutenants, Sue Bradford.

Instead, Bradford hardened her opposition, and walked out of the meeting before the key vote – creating a schism Mana can ill-afford given Labour candidate Kelvin Davis is polling ahead in Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) seat.

“Getting into bed with a neoliberal millionaire who’s facing legal challenges is quite a curious proposal for a party like Mana that has stood so strongly and staunchly on its reputation for fighting for those who have less … and for standing up against the neoliberal agenda that John Key that others are running,” Ms Bradford told Firstline this morning.

“It’s not compatible and undermines everything Mana has achieved over the past three years … When I heard him speaking on Saturday, it was like listening to John Key,” Ms Bradford said.

It could be a challenging time for the Mana Party over the next month of consultations and decision making.

In the meantime the Internet Party remains in limbo, leader-less, candidate-less and alliance-less.

Harawira’s way or the highway

It’s apparent that Hone Harawira wants his way on the proposed Mana/Internet Party alliance, and he’s happy for anyone who doesn’t like it can choose the highway out of Mana.

Asked whether he thought the deal would go ahead, Mr Harawira said: “I’d certainly like to think so.”

He doesn’t seem to care about party dissent – Harawira shrugs off defections danger over Dotcom deal.

But there was strong dissent within those groups, including from veteran activist Ms Bradford, who Mr Harawira said left the meeting before the vote was taken.

Ms Bradford later told the Herald: “There was deep debate, deep dissension and resistance to the idea of going into an alliance with the Internet Party.

“Some of us, both Maori and Pakeha, are really disturbed by the idea of going into an alliance with a neo-liberal millionaire.”

After Mana president Annette Sykes said she was concerned the party was proving to be “fragile” over the issue, Mr Harawira said he accepted that not everybody in the party was going to agree on a deal with the Internet Party.

“There’s always going to be people who come in and out for various reasons and that’s fine.”

And he doesn’t seem to care about party members who choose the highway over his way.

Mana Leader Hone Harawira said there was always going to be differences of opinion over a proposal like the Internet Party alliance.

“Will there be resignations, quite possibly. There haven’t been today.”

He said he had the greatest respect for Ms Bradford, “the fact she disagrees where we’re going with this does not change that”.

“Should she decide to leave Mana I will still respect her ability and the strengths she brings as a campaigner for the poor and dispossessed but we can’t determine Mana’s future on the feelings of one activist or another.

It sounds like he’s happy if dissenting members just got out of his way.

Bradford walks out of Mana AGM but she hasn’t walked out of the party – yet. It was reported that Saturday’s delegate vote was to put the issue out to the party members for consultation.

After discussions which went into the night at Mataikotare Marae near Rotorua yesterday, Mana’s branches “unanimously” agreed to move forward with the negotiations.

Mana’s deputy leader has more concerns….

However, Mana President Annette Sykes this morning said : “Our movement, I was concerned that it may be fragile and some of our membership – I don’t know whether some have chosen not to come back today.”

“There’s quite a number. We’re not talking hundreds, but we’re talking people who I think are leaders young and old and they are principled people who I have respect for. They’ve gone back to reflect with their branches.”

Unlike Harawira Sykes recognises differences and potential division…

Meanwhile, Ms Sykes said there was “a very clear recognition that there are certain gaps that need to be fleshed out before any final decision was made”.

The party has given its leaders a month to negotiate, before they put any proposed alliance out to the party’s local branches for consultation.

She said the vote to continue discussions “was a unanimous outcome the way we vote regionally but within those regions there is dissent and we have to respect that dissent so there are some limits on the next steps and the way they negotiate forward”.

That sounds like a good process, until…

Mr Harawira indicated the final decision would be made by senior party figures rather than a wider vote.

“It will probably be made by the executive in the final analysis.”

A done deal with token consultation? It sounds like Harawira has already made his mind up. And anyone who disagrees is dispensable.

He was happy that Mana had seen “hundreds and hundreds” of new members sign up since the party had begun talks with the Internet Party.“You win some you lose some.”

Harawira has indicated he wants to win his alliance with Kim Dotcom and the losers can choose the highway.

“Will there be resignations, quite possibly. There haven’t been today.”

“There’s always going to be people who come in and out for various reasons and that’s fine.”

“We can’t determine Mana’s future on the feelings of one activist or another.”

Unless it’s the feelings of the activist Harawira. It sounds like it’s his way or the highway.

How much mana is there in that?

Sue Bradford and Mana-Internet “wouldn’t be possible”

Sue Bradford has continued to speak against any deal between the Mana and Internet parties, saying that if anything happens she would walk away from Mana.

Bradford on RadioLive via 3 News: Dotcom a deal-breaker for Bradford

Mana Party candidate Sue Bradford says she’ll walk away from the party if it enters an agreement with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party.

Ms Bradford, a former Green Party MP who has been with Mana since its inception in 2011, told RadioLIVE there aren’t many similarities between the two parties.

“I find it incredible that a party with the kaupapa Mana has should be considering going into an alliance with Kim Dotcom – a man who tried to buy off the right and failed and now he seems to have turned to the left to buy the left off,” she says.

“This is so far from the kaupapa I’ve dedicated my life to and I find it quite extraordinary.”

She says it “wouldn’t be possible” for her to stay with the party if it did do a deal with Dotcom.

“I don’t think doing deals with right-wing internet billionaires who are facing a number of legal challenges is the way forward for any party that adheres to the principles of social, and economic and treaty justice that I believe in,” she says.

“We should really be thinking twice about this.”

Ms Bradford says there are others in the party who think the same way she does, and has expressed her views to the party leadership.

It could be a “short-sighted conversation” and a “bubble in a tea cup”, and nothing could come of it in the end, she says.

She also had questions about how Dotcom treats his own staff, who have complained about poor wages and not being paid.

And  via Twitter:

To left friends, re proposed Mana/Dotcom alliance: there is no shortcut to building a genuine movement of the people.

@MorganGodfery makes a good point.

Hone has been pushing for a merger for some time. First with the Maori Party, now it seems the Internet Party. Neither option makes sense.

Harawira must be frustrated by lack of progress with the Mana Party on it’s own, but it could go backwards if it joins up with Dotcom in any way.

See also:

Myths about the smacking bill

I’ve seen many claims made about the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill, often referred to as the smacking bill or anti-smacking bill. More have appeared on Kiwiblog today in discussions about a news report on how the bill has been working – Fewer parents being investigated despite ‘anti-smacking law’.

For example kowtow:

Eight parents prosecuted in the 5 years since the legislation was brought in,seven for smacking the head or face…….

so not one of those cases was a serious “assault”.

In the same period how many children were murdered by a “care giver or guardian”?

The bill was foisted on us on that pretext……hasn’t stopped the dangerous stuff.

And ‘dime’:

the difference being they sold us the anti-smacking law like it was going to stop all violence towards kids. just your typical lefty lie

That’s typical opponent exaggeration.

Sue Bradford’s Third reading speech had no promises of stopping all violence against kids. She said “Law change alone is not enough”.

What we have been simply seeking to do is remove a defence that has allowed some parents to get away with quite badly beating their children and, most significantly, that has stopped police from taking action in many situations of violence against children.

She states one of the primary goals was so “children will finally receive the same legal protection as adults”.

She says more needs doing, and the law change needs monitoring to make sure it works ok.

The full speech makes it clear what was claimed (and it doesn’t claim many things that have been blamed on it):

Bradford, Sue: Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill — Third Reading

[Volume:639;Page:9284]

SUE BRADFORD (Green) : I move, That the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill be now read a third time. Nearly 2 years ago my member’s bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act was drawn from the parliamentary ballot. Although I was certainly well aware of the controversial nature of the issue that the bill deals with, after facing hostile audiences when on various election platforms around the country, little did I realise back then the full extent of the difficulties that were yet to come.

I came to Parliament after many years of working for the rights of unemployed people and beneficiaries, and was very used to our groups and ourselves being seen as outcasts—koretake, blamed, and despised. I was used to being physically assaulted when on street protests and, often enough, arrested as well. However, none of that prepared me for the level of vitriol and for the ugly lies and threats cast at myself and others, simply for standing up for the right of our babies and our children to live lives free from violence.

I thought that in a country that prides itself on being a great place to bring up kids, and where people from all parts of society talk constantly of their love for children, it would be like motherhood and apple pie to work for a law change that benefits children. Instead, the debate over whether to get rid of the defence of reasonable force for the purpose of correction has shown quite starkly that some people believe that the right of parents to legally beat their children is so important that they have stooped to threats of violence and other abhorrent tactics. However, it has in the end been a wonderful thing that despite the ugliness of some aspects of the public discourse, so many members of this Parliament from almost every party have chosen to support my bill in its amended form.

I acknowledge and thank all involved, from all sides of the House, for their support within this outbreak of consensus politics, and I regret, on behalf of Peter Dunne and Judy Turner, that this bill has seen their party break apart because someone called Mr Gordon Copeland is so dedicated to fighting for the right to beat children that he has abandoned his long-term allegiances.

The bill in front of us tonight fulfils my original goal of removing the defence of reasonable force, while at the same time dealing with some of the fears expressed at different times by both the Labour and National caucuses, and by some members of the public. The Labour-led amendment that came out of our select committee consideration of the bill is aimed at reassuring parents that they will not be prosecuted if they use reasonable force when doing things like putting a child in a room for time out, forcibly removing a child from danger, or restraining a child from causing damage to people or property. I am aware that some lawyers believe that this new provision may be misused as a legal defence for having hit a child as part of control, and because of this I believe that its use as a defence in future must be monitored to ensure that it is not used this way in practice.

The second significant amendment to the bill has been the one put forward just 2 weeks ago by Peter Dunne, which was agreed to by both Labour and National through John Key’s leadership. It encapsulates within the bill the long-established police discretion regarding the action they take when deciding whether to prosecute in very minor cases where there is no public interest in proceeding. This new provision simply affirms in law what is standard police practice under their existing prosecution guidelines, but I think it is useful in helping to calm some of the unnecessary fears that have been driven up by the bill’s opponents.

Neither the select committee, myself, nor anyone else supporting this bill has ever intended that all parents who ever lightly or occasionally hit their children should be subject automatically to investigation and police prosecution. What we have been simply seeking to do is remove a defence that has allowed some parents to get away with quite badly beating their children and, most significantly, that has stopped police from taking action in many situations of violence against children.

Some of the most powerful submissions to the select committee came from paediatricians, who talked about the injuries they see constantly and about how most of those injuries are inflicted in the name of child discipline. Only last week we were made all too aware of the case of the 3-year-old Ōtara boy who was killed as a result of beatings inflicted in the name of toilet training. The police officer who led the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Richard Middleton, said, among other things: “… what I will say is keep your hands off your kids. Don’t hit them. It’s not on. There’s no need for it.” I think it is a red-letter day when a senior police officer feels able to make such an unequivocal statement in the national media. Police, like paediatricians, see the daily consequences of what happens when people assault their kids just to teach them a lesson.

Some people say that smacking or spanking is not violence. I ask them: “What else is it? If a burly gang member, much larger than you, smacked you in the pub tonight, what would you call that?”. Some people say that the deaths of children like James Whakaruru or the little Ōtara boy have nothing to do with this bill. I say that they have everything to do with it. There is a spectrum of violence used against our babies and children, and one person’s light, occasional tap is another person’s beating or shaking to death—all in the name of so-called correction.

I have been much criticised by the bill’s opponents for my unwillingness to support the early amendment put up by Mr Chester Borrows, which attempted to define the nature and level of force that parents could legitimately use against their kids. I simply reiterate that to support any such definition would make things even worse for children, by having the State define acceptable violence and by entrenching the legal and social concept that it is OK to beat children but it is not OK to beat adults.

It is important that as we finally vote this bill into law we also look forward to what else needs doing. Law change alone is not enough. To be really effective, the bill we are passing tonight needs to be accompanied by a well-planned public information campaign that tells people the intentions and implications of the law in a way that does not make people feel frightened or guilty. The Government also needs to make an ongoing commitment to maintain and extend the SKIP programme, so that strong, clear messages about alternatives to physical discipline are available to all parents around the country.

Funding for community groups that support children, parents, and families needs to be increased. We need research on, and monitoring of, the attitudinal change that I feel sure will result from this new law—as it already has, I think, during the 2 years of public debate. The interpretations of the new law, and its implementation by the courts, police, and Child, Youth and Family, all need to be monitored well. I welcome the 2-year review that was instigated by the Minister David Benson-Pope. I also strongly recommend that the Government works closely with the relevant non-governmental organisations, following the bill’s passage, on an action plan to ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved for children and families.

In conclusion, I would like to take a moment to thank some of those who have played such a critical role in championing and supporting this bill in getting it to the stage it is at tonight. An enormous number of organisations have worked tirelessly for reform over the last 2 years, including Plunket, Barnardos, Unicef, Save the Children, the Families Commission, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, EPOCH, Every Child Counts, the Body Shop, the Child Poverty Action Group, Parents Centres, and many, many others. I am sorry I cannot name them all.

Many individuals have also played a key role—people like Beth Wood, the Ritchies in Hamilton, Mike Coleman, Deborah Morris-Travers, Megan Payne, Ian Hassall, Cindy Kiro, Kaye Crowther, Robert Ludbrook, Sonja Hogan, Rhonda Pritchard, and David Kenkel. I salute all of them and apologise to all the many others I do not have time to mention tonight.

I also say a special thanks to the Reverends Anthony Dancer and Margaret Mayman, and to all the other clergy involved in hosting the moving ecumenical service that a number of us attended in the cathedral up the road a couple of weeks ago, for their assistance in mobilising Christians in support of this bill. I also acknowledge the huge amount of work done by the MPs and officials involved in the very long select committee process, including the sterling efforts of our Parliamentary Counsel Office adviser, Elizabeth Grant.

Finally, I say a huge thanks to all the MPs who stood firm in support of this bill during some fairly dark days, including Helen Clark and the Labour caucus, the entire Māori Party caucus, all my own Green Party colleagues, Peter Dunne, Brian Donnelly, Doug Woolerton, and Katherine Rich. Those members are all heroes in their commitment to a vision of a country where children will finally receive the same legal protection as adults. I also acknowledge the lead that John Key took in working to find a way through a seeming impasse, so that his party, too, could lend its full weight to the mana of this bill.

But, in the end, this bill is not about us here at Parliament—or, indeed, about adults at all. It is about our children, and what I believe is their God-given right to grow up secure in the love of their families, valued as equal citizens to the rest of us, and without the constant threat of legalised violence being used against them.

http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/speeches/48HansS_20070516_00001048/bradford-sue-crimes-substituted-section-59-amendment

That speech should be shown whenever any outlandish claims are made about the bill.

Mana Party and Socialists

Mana is well known as the Hone Harawira party and as a party promoting Maori interests. Not so well known is the strong socialist connections with Mana.

Socialist Mana is not obvious from their website. There are signs of socialist inclinations, but nothing obvious or open.

From the Home page

MANA | Movement of the People | Nau mai haere mai and a Warm Welcome to all.

And a home page slide gives a hint:Mana revolution

From Kaupapa | Vision

Mana, the Movement of the People

MANA, movement of the people, is Aotearoa’s newest political force, led by Hone Harawira, Independent MP for Tai Tokerau.

MANA also speaks to the pride and dignity of workers who built this country into the special place that we all call home.MANA is born from a need/ or desire to be a truly independent Maori voice in parliament.”

MANA is also seen as the natural home to a growing number of ordinary Kiwis cast adrift by this National government, and despairing of Labour’s inability to provide a viable alternative.”

“Government is giving tax breaks to the rich, bailing out failed finance companies, selling off our natural resources, turning prisons into private profit ventures, and spending $36 million on a yacht race on the other side of the world, while ordinary New Zealanders are starving, workers are being forced into slavery by the 90-day bill, and Maori rights are being drowned in the Raukumara Basin.

“In the land of milk and honey, those massive inequalities are unacceptable.

MANA will promote policies that allow all New Zealanders to lead a good life.

MANA will guarantee a measure of people power and accountability from its MPs, that has never been seen before in this country.

MANA is a principle we bring out of our history, to serve us in the present, and to provide us with the platform to transform this nation.

Some general anti rich, anti profit, pro poor, and claiming to represent “the people” and promoting “people power”. But nothing specifically socialist.

Founding Principles:

MANA Founding Principles

The mission of the MANA Movement is to bring rangatiratanga to the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed.  It is they who carry the brunt of government by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.  We will lead the fight against welfare that punishes children, against greed that is rewarded by corporate payouts, against the damage to Papatūānku by pollution and oil drilling and against governments who fill the pockets of foreign companies at our expense.

The MANA Movement will support Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the basis of the New Zealand Constitution and will uphold Te Reo Māori as a taonga and ensure its protection.

We stand for the right to fulfilling work with a decent living wage.

We stand for full employment so that everyone can give back to their communities in a meaningful way and with dignity.

We stand for a tax system that abolishes GST and levies financial transactions, taking away the heavy tax burden that falls on the poor and middle income earners.

We stand for every family’s right to secure, healthy housing.

We stand for every child’s right to a free, high quality education that prepares them for their world.

We will support students’ right to enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.

In short, we will fight to bring the voice of the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed into Parliament.  And we will fight to give Te Tiriti o Waitangi the mana and life that was envisaged by those tūpuna who signed it in 1840.

A mix of Maori/Treaty and general socialist orientated principles without being specific.

A site search on “socialism” has one hit, a news item by Harawira, and this makes some socialist connections clear.

Posted on April 9, 2013 by admin in Ae MarikaNews

On Saturday night I was privileged to host my first ever citizenship ceremony as a Member of Parliament. The ceremony was for a good friend of mine, Mike Kyriazopoulos and his wife Joanne. Mike is a mix of Greek and Jewish ancestry, and used to live and work in England where he met his wife Joanne.

Their citizenship application was finally approved a couple of weeks ago, and the ceremony was held at the Auckland Trades Hall in Auckland as part of a special tribute evening for Mike who is a committed socialist, a union activist, and chairman of the MANA branch of Te Raki Paewhenua.

Mike gave his oath of allegiance in Maori and followed that with his own personal vow to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles of international socialism.

That’s  celebrating a Mana branch chairman who is a committed socialist with his own personal vow to honour the principles of international socialism.

And a search on “socialist” finds: Public meeting about the Mana Movement in Melbourne

Posted on November 13, 2012 by admin in Korero, Speeches
The following speech was given by Grant Brookes who delivered it to people who were interested in the MANA Movement in Australia.  If you want further background to the event, contact Grant Brookes –  grant_brookes@paradise.net.nz.
MANA – A movement of the people in Aotearoa/New Zealand 

Talk to Socialist Alliance public meeting, Melbourne

And in this speech:

I speak also as a socialist, and a member of the Workers Party. And I am a member of MANA.

The three main socialist groups in Aotearoa have also backed MANA and are active within it – Socialist Aotearoa, the International Socialist Organisation and my group, the Workers Party.

And if you look at those groups you find a more open connection between Mana and socialists.

Socialist Aotearoa

What is Socialist Aotearoa?

Socialist Aotearoa is an activist organisation of anti-capitalist workers and students. We are involved in the union movement as activists, delegates, and organisers. We support theAotearoa is Not for Sale coalition against privatisation. We work withGlobal Peace and Justice Auckland against imperialism and war. We are part of the MANA Movement.

International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand

WHO ARE WE?

The International Socialist Organisation is a group of revolutionaries in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We are active in campaigns, protests, on campuses, and in the trade unions. We are part of the Mana movement.

Workers Party

Fightback (formerly the Workers Party) is a socialist political party active in campaigns nationwide.

We aim to build a new political movement based on the interests of workers in Aotearoa/NZ and internationally.

Our activities include organising in workplaces, campaigning against imperialism and supporting the Mana movement.

Fightback stands on the following platform:

1. Opposition to all New Zealand and Western imperialist intervention in the Third World and all Western imperialist alliances.

2. Secure jobs for all with a living wage and a shorter working week.

3. For the unrestricted right of workers to organise and take industrial action and no limits on workers’ freedom of speech and activity.

4. For working class unity and solidarity – equality for women, Maori and other ethnic minorities and people of all sexual orientations and identities; open borders and full rights for migrant workers.

5. For a working peoples’ republic.

There are some strong union connections with Mana:

Mana Kaimahi Network established

Syd Keepa (Mana Movement spokesperson on employment and industrial relations) and Mike Treen have agreed to establish a network of unionists who support the Mana Movement. This group will be called the Mana Kaimahi Network and they want to encourage active participation of working people in the Mana Movement leading up to the election on November 26.

In the first instance they would like to invite active unionists and union officials to join an email network and/or facebook group to coordinate activities. Until the election they will focus on distributing Mana election material in workplaces, communities and unions; enrolling potential Mana voters; and identifying Mana supporters within the trade union movement to join Mana.

In the near future this group will look forward to the possibility of forming workplace, union or cross-union branches of Mana members. Their aim is to have an active role in promoting policy that upholds the interests of working people.

Mike Treen has had socialist associations for a long time.

And other prominent Mana members are are also prominent socialists.

John Minto, Mana list candidate last election and Mana Auckland mayoral candidate.

Sue Bradford is known to be very left wing with a socialist past.

Matt McCarten is another unionist/socialist involved with Mana:

McCarten has an interest in New Left and socialist views, calling into question capitalism and the Establishment.

Mana was built on Hone Harawira is more Maori nationalist with socialist tendencies, similar to Annette Sykes who is also prominent in Mana. But strong socialist elements have also been prominent in the establishment of Mana.

It’s curious that the socialists are open about their Mana connections but Mana seems coy.

On Labour-Greens and Mana in coalition

A comment on coalition options from Populuxe1 at The Standard:

I am yet to be convinced that a Labour-Greens coalition would be anything but dysfunctional, and there is no way in hell that Labour will even entertain the idea of coalition, or even a ten foot barge pole, with Mana. Mana is political poison – it will only ever be a cross-bench party, and not a long-lasting one.

The problem with Mana is this: It’s an unstable Frankenstein’s monster sewn together for convenience from Maori activists alienated by the Maori Party, and old skool trade union socialists. Tino rangatiratanga is at the most basic level incompatible with State ownership and citizen equality. Eventually it will fall apart.

Labour and the Greens are shambling centre-wards and have little rapport with people like Minto and Bradford, and every time Harawira opens his mouth he offends around 73% of the population. I’d almost be willing to bet money it won’t happen.

Hone Harawira and Mana would be very difficult coalition partners, but if they remain a one MP party the odds are they won’t be necessary to make up the numbers for a centre and left coalition.

It will be difficult enough for Labour and Greens to work together in coalition, especially if the junior partner is led by a determined and focussed leader alongside a fuzzy uncertain Labour leader.

More comment (from ‘fatty’):

“The problem with Mana is this: It’s an unstable Frankenstein’s monster sewn together for convenience from Maori activists alienated by the Maori Party, and old skool trade union socialists. Tino rangatiratanga is at the most basic level incompatible with State ownership and citizen equality.”

I’ve heard many political scientists say that…but its because Mana doesn’t subscribe to classic political ideological paradigms. From what I can see, their policies are far more coherent than the ‘third way’ shambles that Nationa/Labour have delivered us since the 80s. The neo-tribalism we have thanks to the Pakeha definition of biculturalism is not normal, nor should it be accepted.

I think many will question the coherence of Mana and Harawira, and how realistic and practical Maori orientated socialism would work even within the tribalism of Maoridom.

Mana want reduced economic inequality, equity, and cultural equality…its not that hard to get your head around.

The ideals aren’t hard to get your head around, but how to achieve them fairly are much more difficult nuts to crack.

Also, this ‘Frankenstein’s monster sewn together for convenience’ is an illusion perpetrated by right wing bloggers and an ignorant media. Sue Bradford, John Minto, and Matt McCarten are all class focused but have a long history of activism for Maori rights. Hone is Maori focused, but has also focused on economic inequality.

I think there will be far more than “right wing bloggers and an ignorant media” who would view a Harawira/Bradford/Minto/McCarten deciding vote bloc in a coalition with some concern.