Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Fallout

It looks like Don Brash's nonsensical claim that Maori don't exist - one he has been repeatedly making since his hugely divisive Orewa speech a few years ago - has caused some fallout. Quite apart from having his stupidity publicly pointed out by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, there's this snippet in this morning's Independent:

Meanwhile, in an interview with Radio Waatea this week Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia revealed Brash had sought a meeting with her after the current parliamentary recess. But given his latest efforts about the blood quantum and his apparent inability to accept another world view except his own, she would not be meeting with Brash, Turia said.

Why is this significant? Because currently, the Maori party effectively holds the balance of power in Parliament. If National wants to pass legislation or topple the government, it has to convince them. And this situation looks likely to continue, particularly if they increase their voter share. Put simply, National's ability to govern in future is likely to depend on good relations with the Maori Party.

Wiser heads in National have recognised this, and pushed for a more accomodating policy stance on Maori issues. Brash hasn't, and continues to reflexively Maori bash whenever presented with the topic. It's yet another example of his poor political judgement, and it may very well cost him any chance of power.

12 comments:

If the current poll results can be extrapolated to the next election, we can expect only the Greens and Maori Pary to have any significant presence of the minor parties. The others may only survive with one or two MPs each.
So, both Lab and Nat will need to think long and hard about their campaign and negotiation tactics next time.
IMHO, they've both made a complete hash of it so far and a lot of pride swallowing will be the order of the day.

-tochigi

Posted by Anonymous : 9/27/2006 03:00:00 PM

I/P, I entirely agree with you and assume that there's more wise heads in National examining the polls beyond the head to head result. I don't believe that it is possible for either party to win outright, therefore I am grateful that, to date at least, few of the minor parties have decended to quite the same point that Lab and Nat have.

Posted by backin15 : 9/27/2006 03:19:00 PM

I'd have said there's a decent bit of predicting in the comments of that post aboput brownlee's speech you link too.

Unless you can forge dates of comments.

Posted by Lyndon : 9/27/2006 05:28:00 PM

Well spotted, Lyndon. Very interesting indeed!

Posted by stephen : 9/27/2006 07:03:00 PM

Lyndon: I can't. I do remember the comment (though I had no idea what post it was on), because I was concerned at the time that it was sleazy and possibly defamatory (and someone reminded me of it inthe last coupel of weeks).

I guess Frederick Aloysius Weld is far more plugged in to beltway gossip than I am...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/27/2006 09:15:00 PM

OTOH, there may well need to be 'cooler heads' on both sides. I think it's fair comment to say the Greens have been well aware of the fine line between exterting influence without becoming a netuered lapdog and (fairly or not) getting pinned as toy-throwers the instant anyone says, or does, something they don't like.

Or to put it another way: Did Mrs. Turia, and her party, think Helen Clark is (quietly) regretting saying Labout could never, ever work with a gang of "haters and wreckers"? Looks like 'cooler heads' on both sides managed to convince Clark and Turia to bury the hatchet somewhere other than their heads.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 9/28/2006 06:55:00 AM

I wonder where Fred hangs out so that we might pay much more attention to his musings next time.

Posted by Genius : 9/28/2006 07:30:00 AM

you're right on that comment by f.a.w. fantastic!

but on subject. i received an email from B. English several months back that suggested to me very clearly that there are persons within National with much more rational views on maori-mainstream relations.

let's hope they get closer to actual power.

Posted by che tibby : 9/28/2006 12:10:00 PM

Or to put it another way: Did Mrs. Turia, and her party, think Helen Clark is (quietly) regretting saying Labout could never, ever work with a gang of "haters and wreckers"? Looks like 'cooler heads' on both sides managed to convince Clark and Turia to bury the hatchet somewhere other than their heads.

That was a classic Clark blurt, although to be fair it's inevitably quoted out of context: she explicitly wasn't applying that misbegotten description to everyone on the march. It's still a prime example of the way her mouth gets her into trouble.

Don seems to have the same talent in a different vein, as witnessed by his dig-your-self-deeper comment about Turia on bFM today:

"I don't mind if she wants to think of herself as Maori."

Ouch.

Cheers,
RB

Posted by Russell Brown : 9/28/2006 12:26:00 PM

I can't help thinking Turia is as much of an impediment to the Maori party having sustainable success as Brash is to National regaining the Treasury benches. Sharples clearly has the capacity to deal on both sides of the political divide but Turia is determined to burn bridges.

Unless they think they can win upwards of 8 - 12% of the vote and play kingmaker, they'll have to work with other parties.

Posted by backin15 : 9/28/2006 01:18:00 PM

it's been pointed out to me that i should clarify my previous comment.

English wrote to me awhile back clarifying his position in regard to treaty politics.

i had misinterpreted a speech he made, and he pointed out where i went off track.

Posted by che tibby : 9/28/2006 10:41:00 PM

backin15:

Perhaps, but I understand that Turia has no part in managing the relationship between the 'haters and wreckers' and Labour anyway. I don't think Clark or her coalition management team are losing any sleep over that; and neither should Brash or the National Party.

I think Turia would do well to have a wee chat with Jeanette Fitzsimmons. Whatever else you say about the Greens, they seem to be walking the fine line between 'branding' themselves as a party with clear points of difference from Labour and being seen (fairly or not) as the tail trying to wag the dog. And I'm sure there's numerous occasions in the House where the Green caucus are tempted to retire to the lobby and slam their heads against the wall when Labour ministers have the call.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 9/28/2006 10:51:00 PM