Posts Tagged ‘Maori Party’

Maori Party: Best cab on the rank

October 23, 2008

(Hat-tip: kiwiblog)
Colin Espiner has been talking to Peter Sharples. He sings Sharples’ praises, and rightly so. Then he provides some insights into what the Maori Party will do after the election:

“… when you push [Sharples], he admits that the chances of the Maori Party entering into any sort of coalition arrangement with National is extremely unlikely. I’ll go further. I’ll say this: the Maori Party will not go into a coalition government with National…

“Note that I’m not saying the Maori Party won’t offer confidence and supply to National (although I think this, too, is highly unlikely) or that it wouldn’t consider abstaining to allow National to govern. But I believe a coalition is out of the question.”

Anybody who ever thought that a coalition deal between the Maori Party and National was possible needs their head read. Urgently. Nothing new there.

But Espiner is wrong to say that confidence and supply is “highly unlikely”. Even more likely, should the numbers fall that way, is a tacit understanding that the Maori Party will abstain on confidence and supply, but retain the right to veto anything that it considers seriously unacceptable to Maori.

This scenario fits what Sharples is saying. Better still, it would work really well for both parties. Periodically, National would push something that excites its base but is cruel to, say, the low-paid (for whom both National’s big money backers and redneck supporters have it in). The Maori Party sink this, to the great delight of their supporters. National also get to play to its base, “Oh, if it weren’t for MMP just look at what we’d be doing.”

Note: On 1 June, I posted: “In the rough and tumble of post-election deal making, the Maori Party may be looking for some fairly iron-clad assurances about the treatment of the low paid and beneficiaries, in return for abstaining on confidence & supply, say.”


The day after (the election)

September 6, 2008

John Armstrong writes in today’s Herald:

“The ramifications of Key’s decision [ruling out a post-election deal with NZ First] are vast, not least in putting the Maori Party in the box seat after the election.”

Well, yes, some of us have been saying this for some time. Armstrong goes on to speculate, “… the way the numbers fall in Parliament may well force the Maori Party into a formal confidence-and-supply arrangement of the kind NZ First has with Labour.” As opposed to just abstaining.

Armstrong’s mostly right. What I think he understates is the urge to deliver.  Pita Sharples and Hone Harawira and others in the Maori Party are activists. It’s not in their natures to spend time on the sidelines and watch while others get to make the decisions. They’ve now had three years sitting impotently on the cross-benches, and they’re not interested in repeating the experience.

Also, I think people need to look at the obvious points that the Greens and Maori Party have in common. Environmental and social justice issues are core concerns for both, and the Green Party’s Tiriti o Waitangi policy is much closer to the Maori Party’s than anyone else’s.

They look like natural partners. Soul mates even. And if they were to hold the balance of power after the election and get together to negotiate a common platform with the two main parties… That would amount to a seismic shift in the political landscape.

Maori Party — here’s your chance

August 28, 2008

08 wire points out that the Maori Party has the chance to come to our our aid. Like me they’ve concluded that Winston Peters’ “version of events surrounding big donations to his legal fund/New Zealand First … is becoming hard to swallow.”

But also:

“The government, rightly in our view, see the immediate passing of some form of ETS as crucial to New Zealand’s battle against GHG emissions. We, like the Greeens, want a better ETS in due course. But we, like the Greens, want to make sure there is a framework in place to improve upon.”

Absolutely correct. I think that the meme that Labour wants the ETS as some form of “legacy” is overly cynical. After all, the news on the climate change front just keeps getting worse. It’s important, and the Nats will more than likely give us a Claytons ETS. That’s what their big business backers want.

08 wire say:

“If the government can convince the Maori Party to pledge support for the ETS, then it can suspend Winston’s warrants almost immediately.”

Interesting thought. See their post for further analysis.

Maori Party options open?

August 19, 2008

An interesting insight into the possibility of the Maori Party propping up a National-led government in the not-so-distant future is provided by Tim Donoghue’s Inside the Beltway post, “Sheep the casualty in battle for Maori seats“. (Earlier posts here and here.)

The Maori Party ended a tour of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat with a dinner at the Wainuiomata RSA in Wellington last Thursday. Donoghue reports:

“Significantly, one of the attendees at this dinner was Hutt South National Party candidate Paul Quinn who, on current polling, looks like entering Parliament at number 48 on the Nats’ list later this year.

“Even Maori Party firebrand Hone Harawira has said in recent weeks he could work with a John Key National-led Government so Quinn’s presence at the meeting was far from coincidental. Indeed, it was an indication Labour’s 2005 slogan that a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for National might be more true this time around.”

Presumably, Quinn was invited.

This follows Hone Harawira’s recent revelation on Alt TV that Labour was not listening to Maori Party overtures, and is pursuing an unrealistic hard line on an electoral accommodation. Discussions with Labour, he said,  were “pretty forced” while “conversations with National are a lot more relaxed.”

Here’s what Harawira said, when asked whether the Maori Party could form a coalition with National (courtesy of TUMEKE!):

“I don’t see why not. I mean our role as the Maori party is to defend Maori rights and advance Maori interests for the benefit of the whole nation. It doesn’t matter who the government’s going to be – as long as we are there to ensure those things happen. Why not? Now people say to me, ‘How on Earth could you think of going into – of jumping in bed with – National?’ and I answer the question: And what’s Labour done for Maori in the last nine years?”

Now, we mustn’t forget that the Maori Party normally determines its post-election strategy in a series of hui. But they learnt last time that it doesn’t pay to be “last cab off the rank”, as Helen Clark put it dismissively.

Who Shall Go to the Ball?

June 7, 2008

Watching the various small parties position themselves in recent weeks, the words “rats” and “sinking ship” come to mind. But as Matt McCarten points out in today’s HoS column, Labour may be partly to blame for its predicament.

Matt reminds us that after the last election Winston Peters and Peter Dunne refused to support a Labour-led government if the Greens were in it. He argues that this “set up the situation where Labour’s hegemony of the minor parties would ultimately fracture.” And so it seems to be coming to pass.


Maori Party & balance of power

June 1, 2008

In recent threads on other blogs speculating on the outcome of the election, left-bloggers routinely take Maori Party support for a left bloc for granted.

That’s because they see a big difference between the way that Labour and National have approached Maori issues, culture and status over time. I’m inclined to agree with that assessment of the differences, but then, you see, I’m pakeha.

Maori don’t necessarily see it the same way. So it is foolish to take their post-election support in Parliament as a given.