Monday, January 17, 2005

Hikoi to the ballot box

Since the last year's Hikoi to Parliament it has been clear that the government will be facing a Maori backlash this election over its expropriation of the foreshore. And that backlash is looking larger and larger; the Maori Party has grown to 9000 members, which isn't too shabby for a party which didn't exist a year ago. Labour will be facing a serious fight in the Maori seats, with at least half of their Maori electorate MPs likely to be punished with de-election and the others having their majorities slashed. On current polling that isn't likely to threaten Labour's ability to form a government - but it is likely to establish the Maori Party as a possible coalition partner (especially if they get an overhang). Just think of the coalition negotiations that would cause...

Either way, it looks like the Maori Party is going to become a presence in Parliament - quite possibly for a long time to come.


The inability of Maori to get on with being part of modern New Zealand says more about the backwards looking mentality of victimhood that infects the likes of Tariana Turias every thought than it does about the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. It is indisputable that this issue could have been better handled by the government, and even not so good hindsight shows a better path, but to me the ongoing hysteria that has characterised Maori reaction is better explained by two things:

1/ Actually believing in their own internal racist propaganda that Maori are a bunch of brown Aryan victims whose failure to triumph over the inter-bred mongrels foisted upon them can only be explained in terms of it being someone elses fault all the time for everything.

2/ An inability to live in the 20th let alone the 21st century. The Maori sense of identity (see point 1/ above) is simply unable to deal with the concept of another native group having an indigenous common law right enshrined in law. To accept that is to accept the colonisation as a done historic fact. The whiteys are not going anywhere and in fact, they are developing indigenous rights that supercede those of Maori. From that flows the end of the apartheid (pipe) dream of Maori sovereignty.

I don't think being as critical of the Maori response make me a racist - I support the compensation process, I support special treatment where special treatment is requied to lift Maori income and health stats, etc etc. But to me, this controversy is really a cypher about a deeper issue of identity.

I believe Labour should say good riddance to Tariana and her bunch of merry victims. Time will tell if the Maori Party (who WILL win seats) can actually be part of the solution for this country or will merely be a bunch of whining victims. Personally, I would go into to coalition with them under any circumstance, because thier fanaticism will simply result in the tailing attempting to wag the dog, which could possibly destabilise the government and kill MMP - a system just starting to bloom.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/17/2005 09:37:00 AM

How can there be a Maori party? Is this not based on ethnicity?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/17/2005 01:48:00 PM

The problem is that the Maori Party isn't very left; so far Tariana Turia has voted against civil unions and in favour of requiring parental consent for teen abortions. On that front at least, Labour is well rid of her.

And I agree; the incentive for larger factions to split off does encourage transparency.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/17/2005 03:06:00 PM

Anon: a political party to represent the interests of a particular ethnicity (such as they are) is no different from one representing the interests of a particular class. If we allow the rich to organise politically to form ACT and National, we must also allow Maori to do the same.

They only run into problems if they try and limit membership on the basis of ethnicity. As far as I know, the Maori party is open to members of all cultures.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/17/2005 03:14:00 PM

If I want to claim Maori ethnicity, what do I need to provide? Or is Maori ethnicity not legally existent?

What I mean is, do I just have to tick the box on the census to claim to be Maori and what status outside being a New Zealand citizen does this afford me in law?

In order to access certain Maori cultural things (like moko) I MUST provide my whakapapa. Is this so for the Maori party?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/17/2005 03:39:00 PM

Despite what Don Brash says, very little. Most "Maori privilege" is in the nature of statistically higher funding for government programs to deal with identified needs, rather than stuff which benefits particular individuals. You can change to the Maori roll simply by saying that you're Maori, though you may be challenged to prove it somehow. Treaty settlements are an Iwi membership thing, though - nothing to do with the government.

I don't know anything about having to prove whakapapa to wear moko; as for the Maori Party, there's no suggestion of having to be Maori. According to their rules you must simply be over thirteen, pay the fee, and not be a member of a competing party.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/17/2005 04:59:00 PM

The more I think about it, and believe me I wrestled, the more I think this MP is a good thing. It's visible, part of the system and I hope will be a conscience for both the left and the right.

Maori have proven themselves to be very capable nation builders with no more or less ( I could say more) finesse than Pakeha.

Enough or too much! Blake

Posted by Unknown : 1/17/2005 05:43:00 PM

There's no question it's a good thing. As TomV said, it puts the bargaining out in the open, with Maori dealing across the table rather than under it. And it's something which has been expected since the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System; what's strange is that it has taken so long (though that is also in part a consequence of MMP's undemocratic threshhold which denies representation to some and makes it difficult to establish new parties).

That said, I'm not voting for them, and I'm going to do what I can to point lefties away from them. Turia's position on moral issues effectively rules them out as a left-wing party.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/17/2005 06:50:00 PM

i would be a bit sceptical about the 9000 figure, as I know how Matt McCarten inflates these things, but there is no doubt that they are a sizeable party now.

i certainly don't think it's a bad idea. I think my joining it would be a bad idea, when they haven't shown their politics yet.

Posted by Span : 1/17/2005 07:14:00 PM

Why does a conservative stance on things like informing parents of their children having abortions or being anti civil unions have no place in a left leaning party?

That's not an economic position, it's a conscience thing.

Posted by Muerk : 1/17/2005 10:59:00 PM

They're human rights issues - generally something the left is strongly supportive of.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/18/2005 10:26:00 AM

I personally think that abortion and civil unions aren't a human rights issue, but aside from that the idea of human rights should be across party lines, not relegated to one side. That is, you could believe in Keysian economic policies and still think that refugees shouldn't be detained indefinitely or that slavery was an abuse.

Posted by Muerk : 1/18/2005 11:10:00 AM

The problem of what the Maori Party's politics will be is more of an issue that some think. There are conservative maori, liberal maori, environmentalist activist maori, rural maori, urban maori, etc. Labour appeal to Maori has largely been that they're better
than National. But (as with all youth constituencies) many Maori youth are voting Green.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/28/2005 04:11:00 PM

Muerk: of course you could - and likewise you could support neo-liberal economic policies while taking a strong stand on human rights. But for historical reasons, the (non-authoritarian) left has generally backed human rights, while the moral conservative element of the right has opposed them.

IMHO, any political party which does not back human rights simply is not worth the time of day - which rules out the Maori Party, ACT, National, and (thanks to Phil Goff) Labour. My only credible electoral options are now the Progressives and Greens...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/28/2005 04:40:00 PM