“You have useless Māoris”

A Labour list MP attacked National Māori MPs in Parliament yesterday. A non-Māori person could not have made this speech without being damned widely.

I want everyone to tell Simon today, the Māori support him in Labour. He’s got our full support. Peeni Henare, has offered to do a waiata for him. Willow-Jean Prime will help him with his reo, because it’s so tragic. We will support Simon, even though the National Party won’t.

Look, I understand most of the Māori in the National Party are useless. We understand that—apart from our good man, Nuk Korako, who’s going today. What a good man, sad he’s being [Interruption] it’s so sad he’s being booted out of the National Party because he supports tino rangatiratanga and the Māori in Labour.

So the only good ones in there: Nuk; Shane Reti because he delivered Peeni Henare’s babies; and Harete Hipango.

That’s about it, the rest are useless. Paula Bennett, well, she doesn’t know if she’s a Māori, some day’s she does and some days she doesn’t; Dan Bidois, he needs to go back to Italy; and Jo Hayes, Jo wouldn’t have a clue. A great example of that with Jo was when she did her whānau ora attack on us and failed miserably…

So I want to say to the National Party today, who are split and divided, yes, you have useless Māoris, apart—but the good one is going today, one of the best is going today, Nuk Korako. However, we’re backing Simon. Please get that message to him, because he’s desperate. We saw him today. He’s desperate there, grovelling for more support, shocking the way he was insulting us. But he’s from Ngāti Maniapoto, I’m from Ngāti Maniapoto, and I’m obliged to help him. Kia ora tātou.

That speech should be seen as disgraceful from anyone. And while Willie Jackson may have delivered it without any sign of shame, it should have embarrassed his Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

In particular, questioning a person’s Maoriness was condemned.

 

Henare fined for breaching name suppression

Tau Henare has changed his plea to guilty for breaching name suppression, has apologised to the court and has been fined $1200..

He was charged in November – see Tau Henare breached sex offender name suppression.

Initially Stuff diodn’t mention his name but was revealed when he initially appeared in court – Tau Henare in court over suppression breach charge.

Henare appeared in the Waitakere District Court today charged with breach of suppression for allegedly naming a prominent New Zealander who was convicted of indecent assault.

“In this case it is completely outrageous that the victim of his crime had to fight tooth and nail to get her name out there. It’s weird.

“If the victim in any case wishes their name and the culprit’s name to be out there in public (it should be),” he said.

Henare said he could have named the man when he was an MP and been protected by Parliamentary privilege but he believed that the use of the protection was “bullshit”.

“If you’re not willing to say what you want outside, don’t say it inside (the House).”

He did not enter a plea which Judge John Bergseng took as a default not guilty plea

He spoke afterwards outside court:

Outside court today, Henare said he was “chuffed” that he had received an email from the woman the man had assaulted.

“She was really nice. I appreciate her support,” Henare said.

“If I get done for it I expect I’ll get the same treatment was meted out to the so-called victim (the prominent New Zealander).”

Asked if would apply for name suppression himself, Henare said with a smile: “I thought abut it.”

He didn’t seek name suppression.

Now NZ Herald reports:

MP Tau Henare has been fined $1200 for breaching a high-profile name suppression order online.

He appeared in Waitakere District Court today, two months after pleading not guilty to the charge.

Then he had said “I think the law’s an ass,”

But today he said he had reconsidered his position and asked to change his stance.

“Your honour, it’s not an excuse but when it happened I was in an argument on social media about another issue and I thought I’d use that as my argument,” Henare said.

“Really I have no more to say other than an apology to the court for wasting its time, the police department for wasting its time and really I should’ve known better, but there we are.”

Judge Kevin Glubb said breaching court-imposed orders was “a very serious matter” and warned him doing it again would result in a more serious penalty.

Henare was ordered to pay $1200, plus court costs.

That’s less than the $6500 the accused person paid his victim, but Henare’s indentity has been well publicised.

The case that is under name suppression has received a lot of attention. The accused seemed to have done a deal to get lenient treatment, then later appealed and was discharged without conviction.

The victim Louise Hensley got suppression lifted on her identity but the offender has remained protected by name suppression – sort of.

See Two versions of a sexual encounter and of justice.

She offender remains legally un-named but it doesn’t take long on Google to find out who he is.

Henare blatantly breached name suppression as was initally un-repentant, but has now apologised.

The offender appears to still be in denial about his sleazy behaviour. He has even tried to portray himself as a victim.

It has been widely reported that it was a Central Otago man who is a ‘prominent New Zealander’ (although his fame has faded somewhat). Some websites in Australia and New Zealand have openly identified him.

The man who someone referred to as ‘the groper’ won’t be identified here (the law’s the law) but anyone who wants to know has already found out.

Henare was just an unlucky identifier, albeit blatant, who happened to be targeted by the lawyer of another ex-National MP.

Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalking

Recently retired MP Tau Henare appeared on the panel of The Nation yesterday. He accused them of stalking Jason Ede of ‘Dirty Politics’ infamy.

There’s a few questions I’d like Ede to answer. It would be very interesting to know to what extent he worked with Cameron Slater to attack and discredit political opponents. It would be particularly interesting to know to what extent he worked with the approval of John Key, and whether he went rogue or not.

Key and Ede have done everything they can to keep a lid on how things worked in ‘black ops’ department of the Prime Minister’s office.

TV3 (The Nation) went In search of Jason Ede.

Former Beehive spin doctor Jason Ede, has gone to ground since the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.

Mr Ede was accused in Dirty Politics of working with right-wing blogger Cameron Slater to attack opponents in a so-called ‘black ops’ role.

When he wouldn’t return our calls, reporter Torben Akel headed to Wellington in an attempt to get some answers.

The on-air item opens making it clear that Ede is a reluctant interviewee.

We’ll see whether New Zealand cops much flak in Lima this week but one man copping plenty since Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ was released is Jason Ede. For months the former Beehive spin doctor has refused media requests for an interview, so when he wouldn’t return our calls Torben Akel headed to Wellington in an attempt to get some answers.

The item began with a good background of Ede’s known involvement in PM PR. But then it shifted to Ede’s house, and Akel said:

Media are even barred from knocking on Ede’s door.

Ede, having been a journalist before switching to political PR, knows what journalists can and can’t do.

EdeWindowNoticeThis notice makes it quite clear that Ede wasn’t want to answer questions from journalists.

The item then shows what appears to be covert footage of Ede and his his, including shots of activity inside the house. This is creepy.

It was obvious from comments made that they spent “hours” waiting outside the house. When Ede’s wife appeared in the driveway they approached her and asked her questions. She shut the gate on them.

Then on the panel:

Lisa Owen: I want to move on to Jason Ede and ther ‘Dirty Politics’ situation. Now this guy obviously was heavily involved, the black ops man  as he’s been referred to, does he need to man up, come out, do an interview, give us some answers? Brook?

Brook Sabin: Absolutely. Well I mean I looked for him for a couple of weeks on the election campaign and I actually call him Edini because I can’t find him. I stood outside his house for a couple of hours.

I mean we saw with the IGIS report that he deleted emails, that he used private accounts. Those are serious matters and he does need to, I actually don’t agree with Cameron Slater a lot but in this case he does need to man up and come out.

They are serious matters. But Ede does not have to “man up and come out’.

Lisa Owen: Phoebe this man’s resigned thiough, does he have an obligation to tell us stuff like was he in Labour’s computer, did the Prime Minister know, who told you to do it.

Phoebe Fletcher: I think he absolutely does, you know and I think that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, her report on the fact the Key had had contact with Whale Oil as well, these are massive issues that were unleashed by that book ‘Dirty Politics’ and it deserves an inquiry, and Jason Ede should man up and come forward. He was, you know, in the Prime Minister’s office.

Lisa Own: Ok Tau, laughing to yourself there, you’ve just bowed out of this so what are you thinking?

Tau Henare: Whatever. This guy is a private citizen. He owes you, and especially the media, nothing.

Lisa Own: He wasn’t a private citizen…

Tau Henare: Hang on, you’ve had your say. Has he done anything illegal? No he hasn’t. The the the SIS, the GCSB and whoever haven’t said he’s done anything illegal. Look the fact of the matter is he hasn’t raped anybody, he hasn’t murdered anybody, all he did…

If he was found to have committed a crime he would have the right to remain silent.

Lisa Own: Sorry, can I just say he was on the public purse at some point, so you don’t think he owes an explanation for activities he may or may not have been undertaking…

Tau Henare: No.

Lisa Own: …while he was getting paid by the taxpayer.

Tau Henare: But he’s not there now.

I’m not aware that people who are paid by the taxpayer have any special requirement to answer media questions.

Lisa Own: So are you comfortable, can you tell me you look at this situation and you’re comfortable with everything, as a guy who’s just got out of politics, you’re comfortable with everything you saw, you’ve seen that happened?

Tau Henare: Well look I’m very comfortable, apart from the answers to a few questions by a few of our top politicians.

I initiated what turned out to be a major debate on Twitter supporting Henare’s stance on this. And it also turned into a debate about staking out versus stalking:

@LostArcNZ @AndrewLittleMP @PeteDGeorge @RusselNorman @tauhenare @johnkeypm Yep, that’s why we staked out Ede. Core biz is to ask pols ?s

Staked out? #Stalking more like it. he doesn’t have to answer ?

As a result Stuff reports that Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalking:

A former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor.

Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former advisor to the National Party Jason Ede outside his Wellington home.

Journalists spent two days outside Ede’s home and had a brief encounter with Ede’s wife, and got Ede on camera but he refused to answer questions.

Two days outside Ede’s house? When it was very clear Ede had no intention of talking to them? That sounds excessive to the extent of being gross.

Former National MP Tau Henare, both in a panel segment and on Twitter said The Nation’s tactics had more closely resembled “stalking” than a stake-out and Ede did not have an obligation to answer questions from the media.

Henare makes a good point. The media should seek answers to questions, but no one is compelled to answer them, and a two day stake out seems way beyond reasonable checking to see if they can get a response.

The time spent, the intrusiveness, the creepy breaches of privacy and the selection of footage – which includes a fairly extreme claim from Russel Norman – looks more like a form of retribution for not complying with their demands.

I’ve seen this from television media before, where if someone won’t comply with their insistence for an interview they harass and stick the journalist boot in, with any semblance of balance flying off unhinged.

Media are an essential part of a healthy democratic system. They are a negative influence when they abuse their power.

As a media organisation TV3 should seek answers. They should seek interviews. But to what extent?

No one is compelled to answer media questions. We all have the right to free speech, to an extent. And just as importantly we have the right to remain silent if we choose.

How persistent should journalists be in trying to interview people of interest? And when does it become harassment?

Henare is not the first to accuse journalists of stalking and harassment, but he makes a valid point.

Journalists should seek answers, but they have a responsibility not to become judge, jury and executioner if they don’t get their scoop.

Tau Henare breached sex offender name suppression

It has been reported over the last couple of days that ex-National MP Tau Henare named a sex offender whose identity is supposedly protected by name suppression.

Media didn’t name Henare but in reporting the breach they provided enough information to make it very simple to find out who the ex-MP was, and what he said – as of now this can still easily be found.

Stuff reported:

A retired National Party politician has named a prominent New Zealander who escaped conviction over a sexual charge in Central Otago.

I won’t link to that report so if you are one of the few people who don’t know about this it might take a few seconds longer to find out.

A complaint has been lodged with the police over the breach. In a follow up Stuff report:

A complaint has been lodged with police against a former MP who published the name of a prominent Central Otago man with permanent name suppression.

The man’s lawyer, Jonathan Eaton QC, confirmed a formal complaint was made last night in relation to the comments on social media.

“The breach certainly appears to be quite deliberate and I would expect the police to treat the matter seriously,” he said.

After naming the man, the former National MP wrote online: “I’ll cop whatever comes. Lol may even apply for name suppression haha.”

Henare’s identity has been widely circulated in social media so there are many ways to have been exposed to a dirty secret that hasn’t been so secret for months.

But one of a number of ridiculous things about this is the identity of the offender has been widely circulated in social media already.

A New Zealand blog has openly disclosed details for about a month.

It was originally exposed on an Australian blog in July and has been highlighted (without revealing the actual name) by ex-Act leader Rodney Hide a number of times in Herald columns.

A candidate had a blog post openly revealing the identity during the recent election campaign. That was easily findable via Google – as it seems to have been removed now I can name the candidate, Steve Taylor. He stood for the Conservative Party against David Cunliffe in New Lynn.

So why has a complaint been lodged against Henare? He was open and blatant about it but he’s far from the first, and he’s saying in public what many people already know.

Instead of making a complaint against Henare the offender would do far more good for himself by fronting up and admitting what he did was sleazy and wrong – he as already admitted it in court but that is suppressed with his name.

Since this became public knowledge in July the offender has tried to downplay and make excuses for his actions, and claim he has been victim.

It might be a bit unfair that his case has been highlighted when other sex offenders successfully hide behind name suppression – but it’s far more unfair on women and children (and men) who are abused and the abusers escape having to publicly account for their actions.

The best way to limit the damage would be for this offender to front up, but this sort of offender is often gutless when the power is not in their hands.

Henare broke the law – along with others – but it seems ludicrous that his offence be singled out for police action.

In this case the victim doesn’t want to be protected by name suppression – she had to go to court to be able to reveal her own identity – Louise Hemsley. She has appeared on TV talking about the case.

If is charged, I reckon I’d have fun defending him 🙂

Graeme didn’t say why, but the identity having already been breached and the ease with which anyone can find out come to mind as possible defences.

Henare has taken a calculated risk. In this case the law is an ass.

And the offender is also an ass if he tries to pursue this via the police. All he is doing is attracting more negative publicity.

He is defending the indefensible – his sleazy behaviour. The sleaziness doesn’t diminish by trying to hide – it just keeps looking worse.

On Tau Henare’s retirement announcement

National list MP Tau Henare confirmed he was retiring from Parliament at the end of this term.  This was an expected announcement. He did this via Twitter.

Well, I’m on my way to caucus to inform my colleagues of the that I intend to retire at the upcoming General Election.

It’s been a pleasure and a privelige and a very humbling experience. Thanks heaps folks.

Best friends and comrades have been wife and kids.

There’s been a few reactions from MPs.

Strangely sad to wake to the news that is retiring. One of Parliament’s true free thinkers and a great champion of LGBT rights.

Still at least you’ll be free now to speak your mind on twitter

Gonna miss you.

You too sis. Good luck.

Others:

Best of luck with everything .. Your a good bloke and I’ve quite enjoyed the yarns we’ve had over the years .

Tau, we’ll miss your wicked sense of humour and your huge support of us & our causes. Best of luck for the future 🙂 

the very best of luck on the next adventure. On a personal note, holy heck I’m looking forward to seeing what you tweet now haha

But more seriously, with Tau retiring w’ll have lost something important — an MP who’s willing to speak his mind. Kia ora 

Sorry to hear that Tau, you were always my favourite in National’s ranks. Congrats on your legacy, & best of luck for the future!

And Ruminator brings up a guest post written by Henare last year:

Tau Henare: Culture – all the good stuff

National Party MP Tau Henare writes on what he feels Maori Culture is, and how it can help society as a whole.

With all the talk of recession and how to get out of it, I remember only too well the last one. The 80s downturn for us in Otara was like a bald-faced gate crasher who arrived early, wrecked the place and wouldn’t leave.  Sixth form certificate wasn’t enough to get me a job. 30 years of service on the railways wasn’t enough to protect my father from redundancy. Yet as bad as things may have appeared to others, it was still one of the most upbeat times of my youth. I owe this to the rise of Maori culture. A culture largely forgotten by many of my father’s generation as they settled into the gentle pace of urban life. But its timely revival in rough times had given my own generation enthusiasm mixed with hope.

He concludes:

As someone that has traversed the full spectrum of political thought, and indeed started a party based on this very concept of culture, I have come to the conclusion that it has no natural political home but that culture should be woven into the fabric of all ideologies, because its true worth, particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty, is that it encourages the energy, enterprise and intellect in people to aspire to a greater cause or as my old uncle would say “all the good stuff”.

Tau Henare: “the PM’s got a team to run, if I don’t like it I can leave.” Says he likes everyone in Parl and won’t go kicking & screaming.

Tau also rules out returning to Parliament with another party.

Audrey Young: Memories of Henare

Mathers story seems odd

Just about everything about the story about the Mojo Mathers seems odd – see Taxpayer Union versus Mojo Mathers (the story has developed since then).

Summary

There was an article in the Herald on Sunday by Patrice Dougan about deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers that asked more questions than it answered.

Mathers is a very unlikely and unwise target for a petty political attack regarding MP travel when many questions could be asked about use and possible misuse of travel.

Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers’ Union poorly answered questions put to him by the HoS but he denies initiating the issue and he went into damage control quickly.

David Farrar, also involved with the Taxpayers’ Union, had no apparent involvement until making a late comment on Facebook, and posted nothing on Kiwiblog.

Through the day a number of Greens, including co-leader Russel Norman and communications director Andrew Campbell, kept trying to link John Key and National to the attack on Mathers.

Blogger Danyl Maclachlan (who’s partner works in the Green communication team) posts twice making serious accusations about funding of the Taxpayers’ Union and links with the TU and National and reacts aggressively when confronted.

There was no apparent involvement of Labour with no post and from what I can see no mention of this at all on The Standard (very unusual for something like this). Grant Robertson jumped on the bandwagon late yesterday.

The first question asked by the Herald remains unanswered – who asked it in the first place?

The Article

It started with an article in the Herald on Sunday this morning. It was odd. It was by Patrice Dougan – not a name commonly seen associated with political stories. It began:

Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.

It then detailed Mathers’ trip to Masterton, and quoted her explanation. It then said she “did not know the cost of the trip” but then provided a detailed cost estimate.

It then closed with:

The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.

“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said.

“The only silver lining is that the time spent travelling to go on the station in the middle of nowhere is less time spent dreaming up new ways to spend tax payers money.”

Much criticism of Williams and the Taxpayers’ Union ensued. But Williams later claimed that he didn’t initiate the story or ask any questions, the Herald cam to him and asked him for comment.

Back to the opening sentence – “Questions are being asked about…” – who asked questions? That wasn’t answered, but it was implied that it had been the Taxpayers Union.

Green indignation

Social media was buzzing with Green indignation and criticism through the day. Much of it was the usual sort of quick reactions common when something controversial and potentially damaging politically.

But there were some unusual Green reactions as well.

@RusselNorman
The National Party’s ally doesn’t want Mojo speaking at a rural disability event. Seriously?

John Hart@farmgeek 
If you had any doubt the @TaxpayersUnion is a right-wing attack organ…

@RusselNorman
Whaleoil, Kiwiblog, Taxpayers Union, John Key. The four legs of the National Party attack dog.

Except Whale Oil and Kiwiblog do not appear to have been involved in this story. Slater reacted late in the morning – he is likely to break stories he is involved with. And Farrar was away on a walk for most of the day and still hasn’t posted on Kiwiblog about it (he covered it on his Facebook page late this afternoon).

@louise_bee
@RusselNorman
Interesting that they’re going after the Greens so much. They must consider you a bigger threat than Labour.

It’s common to see Greens talking up their importance like this when a scandal breaks, there was a lot of it during the Turei jacket episode.

@Andr3wCampbell 

Really glad @mojomathers gets out to rural communities to talk to people with disabilities. National’s attack petty.

@nzheraldnznews are people with disabilities in rural communities questioning the trip? Or just a @NZNationalParty aligned operative?

in actual news @JordNZ, here is a real story on tax payer spending @NZGreens uncovered whole you were chasing $500.

I think Andrew Geddis sums up the National Party attack on @mojomathers pretty well here http://pundit.co.nz/content/lets-all-pick-on-the-deaf-girl …

Andrew is “Aotearoa New Zealand Green Party Communications Director”.

Repeatedly linking National to the story and to the Taxpayers’ Union.

Support act

Danyl Mclauclan used to be an accomplished satirist at his Dim-Post blog, but he has evolved into a usually occasional political commentator/activist. Unusually he posted twice today, both on this topic.

Another question for the Taxpayer Union

Here’s my question for the Taxpayer’s Union and the journalists who run their copy. How much of the revenue of the various companies, consultancies and law firms run by the founders and directors of this ‘union’ is taxpayer funded? Given the individuals involved – eg Jordan Williams, David Farrar – I’d be shocked if the taxpayers were paying less than a million dollars a year to the people involved in this organisation who run around planting attack stories against opposition parties.

And:

Slightly more thoughts on the Taxpayers’ Union

Here’s how I’m guessing this works. The (taxpayer funded) opposition researchers in the National Party find a smear story they like. They pitch it to an editor at the Herald and – because they can’t provide comment themselves for obvious reasons, such as John Key’s taxpayer funded golf game – they say, ‘Call Jordan Williams at the Taxpayers’ Union and he’ll give you comment.’

So, that’s sort-of how political media works.

That sounds odd too, as if he is trying pin something on an opponent. Danyls insists he isn’t a Green but has been open about the fact that his partner works in the Green communications team.

I suggested to him on Twitter that “As much chance that #NZGreens could be playing this game as easily as @NZNationalParty are? Party and surrogates could be spinning?”

He usually ignores me but this time responded:

When is the last time you saw me quoted in a media story, vegetable?

And to a tweet from someone else:

Where did you get the idea that I was a member of the Green Party or shared their values? Fuck off lick-spittles.

That’s uncharacteristic and could suggest some sensitivity.

Labour’s involvement

What’s most notable about Labour’s involvement was the absence of any. The Standard didn’t post on it and remarkably there seems to be absolutely no comment on the most talked about political issue of the day.

Grant Robertson joined the issue very late, 8.36 pm last night, with a single tweet.

@grantrobertson1
Lets be clear Jordan Williams and his so called Taxpayers Union are simply a right wing political front. They should be reported as such.

Labour to have been right out of this loop

National’s involvement

Tau Henare tweeted early in support of Mathers…

@tauhenare
@mojomathers
Dear Mojo, tell these self serving pricks to go find something else to do. You are doing your job. #Endofstory

…and reacted to accusations later:

@Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Ok bro so there are NO #NatMPs involved as far as we know. Just tell the truth FGS

@Andr3wCampbell And where’s the answer to my question. What MPs belong to #TPU? Answer the blinking question!

This is the face of the @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope 2. dear #TPU, thanks for nothing.

The @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope,Liar pic.twitter.com/W7eFU7SNcI

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Shutup you backed the greens Coms director, he said it, you tried to support him! U got caught, you deny it

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP and BTW don’t woah me. Your supposition isn’t the point. There are no MPs and it’s not Nat party apparatus.

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP I have no raw nerves, your mates lied and you over cooked it. Our MPs wld be outrAged at #TPU stupidity.

Judith Collins was only briefly drawn into it.

@JudithCollinsMP

@tauhenare: @Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?”Tau, you can’t expect the Left to tell the truth

Where does this leave it?

I’ve seen many attempted political hit jobs in media and online and this looks quite different to normal. There’s no sign David Farrar was involved and Jordan Williams did not appear to be pushing the story, to the contrary, he tried to retreat from it. He said it was “a hard lesson learned.”

It looks like a job done by people who are not practiced in the dark arts of politics.

While it’s possible it was opportunist reaction to the story Green leadership and their communications team were actively pushing a wider story, trying to taint the Taxpayers’ Union and also trying to smear National and Act.

But this currently left where it started in the Herald article – “Questions are being asked about …” – what questions? And who asked them?

We know who kept asking questions through the day, but we can’t be sure who put the question to the Herald in the first place.

The Herald is based in Auckland. It reported on a minor trip to Masterton by a Christchurch MP with a low profile. And it’s primary question seems to have deliberately implied something mischievous without answering the question.

There is something very odd about this story.

Winston Peters shystes on marriage bill

Tau Henare, following Winston Peters in the Marriage Equality Bill third reading, and Peters’s diatribe “the biggest shyster speech I’ve ever heard”.

Winston called a point of order, but David Carter put him down with a firm “… That’s not a point of order.”  Peters slunk back into his seat.

It was a cranky, shitty speech from Peters that put a dampener on a historic occasion in Parliament.

Here is the video: Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – Third Reading – Part 5

Ex NZ First colleague Henare gave Peters a deserved blast before closing with his own words:

Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill – Third Reading – Part 6

A shyster is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, politics or business.

Shyster is derived from the German term scheisser, meaning literally “one who defecates”.

Appropriate. Sadly.

Sad for the occasion, sad for NZ First supporters who were embarrassed.

Draft transcript:

MARRIAGE (DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE) AMENDMENT BILL

Third Reading

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First):

New Zealand First believes in the use of public referendum, and we have for a long time.

In 1997 some will recall that we put a referendum to New Zealand voters on a savings regime similar to Australia or Singapore. Sadly, it was voted down, and 60 years later we are broke and in the clutches of foreign banks and foreign money.

We could have just rammed a bill through Parliament, but we went and took it to the people, and those are our bona fides on the issue of a referendum. We have spent the better part of the year debating Ms Wall’s bill, and, sadly, the public are not much the wiser for it. In fact, there has hardly been a debate.

What we have had is a small yet vocal minority telling the rest of New Zealanders that there is a law change that everyone wants, and anyone who disagrees has got to be a bigot.

Then on the other side of the so-called debate we have got those who would like to see the State police themselves police morality in the bedroom.

The truth is that most New Zealanders sit somewhere in the middle. That might be tawdry and uncomfortable, but it is the way a society works.

Some support the change; others do not. But their reasons for supporting or opposing it are never as sensationalist or extreme as some on either side would have us believe. No one really knows what side the majority of the public opinion sits on.

Some claim, as Ms Wall and her supporters have, that there is a huge groundswell for change. Well, is that true, and if so, how do we know?

As far as we are aware, the issue never came up at any of the meetings that we held in the 3 years out from the last election. Nobody lobbied us and no journalists called to ask where we sat on the issue. There was no words spoken on the campaign trail about same-sex marriage whatsoever.

That is not the issue, and Ms Wall has every right to draft a bill and present it to this House, but a lot of the bile in this issue would not be present had the process been different.

It came upon us, this bill, out of the blue. The manner of this bill’s emergence, the process by which it got before Parliament, needs to be publicised.

It is why many fair-minded Kiwis feel confused. They are confused because Ms Wall and her supporters have not told them how it happened.

Why did they not, upfront, go to the last election, in the campaign, and say “We will introduce same-sex marriage.”, instead of using some woolly language like “We will review relationship and property law.”? Who up in the gallery thinks that that is what they wanted?

The only explanation has to be that they were afraid. They were afraid that their party supporters might not like it. We can make all the pretentious and glorious statements tonight, but, in the end, it is what the people think. In fact, Ms Wall, sad to say, was not even upfront with her own party.

The normal process of the Labour Party—

Hon Member: Come on.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —I am coming on with the facts here—is for members’ bills to be taken to the Labour whip’s office for the Labour whip to lodge after the bill is approved by the Labour caucus.

That is the process every party follows, and it has to be followed because the system will not operate without it. But Ms Wall did not. It is a fact. Make all the statements they like now, but the first the Labour leader’s office knew was seeing it on the list of bills lodged. That is a fact. So tell us why the Labour whip’s office was not told at caucus first, before the bill was lodged—

Hon Lianne Dalziel: It did go to caucus.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I am getting it from the best of authority that that is what happened—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Yeah, after the event. That is true—after the event.

Moana Mackey: We were there.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: So you were in the whip’s office? No, you were not, and that is a fact. My evidence is of somebody who was, and it suggests that the Labour Party was hijacked on this issue.

Ms Wall, what do the people of Manurewa think? What do the people out there in South Auckland, in Manurewa, think?

Well, utter silence now, but this is about democracy and representation.

That is why so many Labour supporters are telling us that they support our referendum stance, because they feel they have never been asked, that somehow they have been left out; even more think that somehow they have been cheated.

This is supposed to be a democracy. This is supposed to be a place where the people’s voice matters. This is supposed to be a Parliament where one would be proud to face up to their caucus and say “I think this bill should come before Parliament.”

Oh no, no, I am sorry; that is what they are saying now, because they could not say anything else, in the same way that many National members over there who are going to vote this bill know full well that the so-called protection for religious dissidents, whether they are celebrants or otherwise, is not in this legislation.

If a church so deems someone’s objection to be wrong, then that person could be punished. That is all they asked for. Is it too much for that to happen?

That is why we call this House the House of Representatives, representing not ourselves, but the people.

Here we are as a Parliament about to circumvent any expression of public opinion yet again. Why? Do they think that if the public is asked, they might lose?

I do not know, but I am prepared to trust the public. I do not wish to hear from polls; I want to know what the public exactly thinks. On Campbell Live tonight, I think the poll that it had, strange as it was—and I do not think it is remotely scientific—had 78 percent no and 22 percent yes. What say it is wrong by 20 percent?

The question is: what to the public think? And why are there so many people in this Parliament prepared, when it suits them, to circumvent the public’s will, when all the bile and venom of this issue could not have been in Parliament had we asked New Zealanders “Well, what do you think?”.

Shortly we go to Anzac Day. It is about democracy, and it is an inclusive democracy that they were fighting for, not just one vote every 3 years, and that is my point.

We are prepared to respect as a party, in New Zealand First, that we have many divergent party views within the party. We respect that. That is why we are prepared to all compromise and say as one group “Well, let’s ask New Zealanders, for after all, they should be the final arbiter.”

This is a rule not for us; it is a law for them.

We object to the people being taken for granted. We object to the view that we are here and we have temporary hold of the reins, and what Joe Public thinks is of no importance whatsoever.

For those who wish to ignore this message, then let me give this clear warning: there is a day of reckoning coming, electorally.

The manner of this vote tonight—[Interruption] Laugh now and cry later. The manner of this vote tonight is a game shifter, and it will be reflected in the next election results.

There are some issues that dissipate and there are some issues that stay around a long time.

All around New Zealand tonight and in the next few days, people will be saying “Well, if that’s the way they think, then our view does not matter, then I will never ever for them again.”

If one looks at the huge social and economic issues this country presently faces, and the desperate need for better solutions to them, then some in this House would have seriously sacrificed their colleagues and their party for a narrow, undemocratic—worthy or unworthy, I do not know—expression.

When the political wilderness years come, do not say you were not warned.

Tau Henare’s response:

Hon TAU HENARE (National): I will be splitting my call with the Hon Nikki Kaye. I did have a speech prepared, but that speech shot it to bits. Here is the bona fides on the New Zealand First referendum of the 1990s. The National Party said no to a bill.

That is why we went to a referendum, and when we went to a referendum, 82 percent of the country said: “No, Winston. We don’t believe in you any more.” That is what it said. It never went through caucus. It never went through caucus.

And that speech that I heard tonight was the biggest shyster speech I have ever heard—the biggest shyster speech I have ever heard.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You heard what the member said. He must be looking in the mirror. But he must apologise.

Mr SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Are you saying such an expression is parliamentary?

Mr SPEAKER: Sorry?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Are you saying that the expression he used is parliamentary?

Mr SPEAKER: I am certainly not ruling it out as unparliamentary.

Hon TAU HENARE: So it is OK for New Zealand First to have bills in the ballot. That is the democracy. But when Louisa Wall puts one in the ballot, that has to go to a referendum? How the hell is any country in the world supposed to operate on a system like that?

Who decides whether there should be a referendum or not? Him? I hope not. I hope not, because we would still be in the 1880s.

I feel sad that I was a member and even a deputy leader under that man. I used to look up to him. But I tell you what: that speech tonight is nothing more than pandering to the 10 percent on either side of this argument.

It is nothing more than pandering to those racist, redneck people who just love to get on the email. I want to say that I have been appalled with some of the behaviour of those for the bill and against the bill, because I for one do not think that those who are against the bill are homophobic just because they are voting against it.

It is their right to vote against it, and I will back my colleagues who vote against it all the way. I just do not agree with them. And they are going to lose tonight. But, however, to quickly run through what I was going to say, it is time.

The sky did not and will not fall in.

How does it affect me or anyone else in this House in this country? It does not. It just does not. Think about it for a minute.

If the institution of marriage was so sacrosanct, then why the hell are so many people getting a divorce? I do not say that in a facetious manner.

If it does belong to the Church, as I have been told by so many people on the email, then why do we have legislation outlining who can and who cannot?

If there was no legislation, I would back the Church 100 percent. But it is not theirs. It actually belongs to the Government. It actually belongs to this Parliament. It is a creature now of Parliament.

It is not a creature any more of either the Bible or the Church. Lastly, I want to say that it is actually about the equality of opportunity.

All we are doing—we are not forcing anybody to do anything in any way, shape, or form. But what we are doing is offering people the opportunity of equality, and they either take it or they do not. It is not up to me. It is not up to any one of us in this House.

I want to thank my cousin Cath, who unfortunately died some months ago. She would have been here yelling from the rooftops, and I seriously mean that she would have been yelling from the rooftops, because that is what she was like. I hope she is finally proud of her cousin, and I am sure she was in other ways.

Finally, a message to all LGBTI—and I finally got that out. My message to you all is welcome to the mainstream. Do well. Kia ora.

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.”