Thursday, 17 November 2011

Kia u ki te mataara!...

Who you lookin at?

I have just returned home from the Native Affairs Hauraki-Waikato debate. It was a fantastic debate, with excellent quality candidates and korero. I think this electorate should be proud of their quality crop this year, but what I was most impressed with was the hau-kainga, and the way they were able to manaaki, and acknowledge all people no matter which 'section' of the stands they were sitting in - it was whanaungatanga in practice - and it made a noticeable difference compared to my last experience at the Tai Tonga debate.

One of the issues that came up from both the Labour and the Mana candidate - was that Maori need to vote strategically to keep National out - and both made statements that the Maori Party would be 'used' to get National back into power.

This is false, and I just want to address that here.

The most recent Colmar Brunton polls (plus most others) show that National could easily govern alone with a party vote of 54%, Labour is way behind on 28%. Even if all Maori miraculously united in giving their party vote to Labour - we would only be able to make a 7% difference - that's right 7 plus 28 = 35% - meaning Labour is still on the out, and you have National governing alone. (raw data)

Of course there are variable unknowns such as NZ First, Act, Conservatives - who are all on the right of the spectrum. (All of which have anti-Maori tones in them, yes even Winston).

My point here is that it is not strategic to keep giving our Party votes to Labour - because it is a wasted vote. The truth of it is, it is non-Maori who decide the fate of major parties - Maori voters make very little difference unless it is a close election - which this year it is not.

So what does that mean? It means National will more than likely govern, and if we are not strategic they will govern alone. (SCARY!)

The assumption by many is that the Maori Party would work with the National Party - but the truth of it is, our fate lies in the hands of the voters, and in the hands of those who attend the post-election consultation hui. If they tell us to stay away from National then we will.

On the other side of this equation is what is happening with the National Party. I am suspicious as to why they would all of a sudden put out a Maori Affairs policy (which slipped under the radar) after years of ignoring, and even campaigning against Maori rights.

On one hand you can see the impact that the Maori Party has had in terms of raising awareness and support for Maori issues, on the other hand, you can see a move towards taking it upon themselves to speak for Maori - which is dangerous if you think of their history with Maori issues. Also, their depth of engagement in our struggle, our kaupapa, tikanga and matauranga is lacking.

I think we as a Maori community need to tread carefully here. My instinct (which is usally very good) is telling me they are preparing to govern alone, or with Act.

Im not sure how you feel, but the idea of a National only government is scary. The progress we have made as a Party is also under threat.  As a community of Maori we need to ask ourselves these patai:

  • Whanau Ora - do you really want to loose this?
  • Constitutional review - who will advocate for the Maori/Treaty view if it is only National?
  • The Maori seats - will they stay or go? 
  • Maori representation on local government councils - will it happen? 
  • Targeted Maori housing insulation, health programmes, education funding, economic development projects, social service projects - will they stay or will they be thrown out?
  • Who will defend our rights as Maori in cabinet?

We have so much to loose by letting them govern alone.

You might think that your candidate vote will be enough for the Maori Party - but four people cannot stop a hell of a lot to be honest. You need a strong and solid voice at the table of power to stop National from steam rolling over our rights. We also need a variety of voices to represent our diverse Maori views.

Our vote share as Maori is 7% maximum - it wont make a lot of difference to Labour in this election, but it can make a difference for our communities. I'm sick of Labour always scaremongering our people into voting for them, and for what? Their track record on Maori issues is just as bad as Nationals.

So I still advocate for our Party votes to be given to minor parties - because 7% makes a huge difference to us, and the lay of the land. This is strategic voting - not continuing down the same path that colonised us in the first place.

If Labour get up to a close margin that's great too - we have more bargaining power and will wield more influence. Bearing in mind what I said in my last post about the Maori Party committing to consult before making any decisions as per the 2008 election. (Check this link for info about those hui. And no - it's not a mistake - that really was the spokesperson).

So remember your party vote is a vote for the kaupapa that you believe in. Use it wisely, and use it to advance your interests, not the interests of the major parties.


  1. Thank you for the post. I am understanding little of the politics there. However, because of Maori seats, here in Canada, it is held up as the way to govern. In reality we know that government, real main stream government does anything and everything to keep power away from the Indigenous folk. I hope you guys keep fighting away over there for your Rights. We have elected Natives in government, but really what can they do in a system that is geared towards main stream?

  2. P.S. I really like your page background.