Monday, May 30, 2005

Is the Maori Party on the left?

One of the givens in political discussion is the left-right divide. The right traditionally seeks to defend privilege, the left to demolish it. So where does the Maori Party fit in? According to Jordan Carter, on the wrong side:

It seems to me that the Maori Party's ambition is to work back towards an illusory golden past of Maoridom, where individuality is subsumed under collective whanau, hapu and iwi identities. This is highlighted by the constant references to whanau, hapu and iwi in their speeches; by their hostility to the inevitable effects of modernity and the Enlightenment on Maori society; by their desire to see social services dominated by a Maori "Aristocracy" (also known as iwi-based service agencies) rather than the universal services provided by the welfare state.


That party stands for the antithesis of left wing politics, and of liberal politics...

Jordan is right. To the extent that the Maori Party works to advantage and entrench the tribal aristocracy, they are clearly a party of the right, and the only difference between them and National is whose privileges they are defending. But at the same time, I'm not quite so sure as Jordan about the evil, aristocrat-entrenching effects of iwi-based service agencies. David Slack touches on them briefly in Civil War, and points out that they (mostly) work and achieve good results. And if they work, and are more accessible to Maori than the welfare state, then why not fund things that way? Provided they are well-run, and provided that we are not abandoning people in need to be abused by their own iwi or hapu (in other words, provided these service agencies deliver the same universal services as the state would), then what is the objection?

I also wonder whether the Maori Party would be able to promote aristocratic privilege even if it wanted to. One of the consequences of their taking the Parliamentary path is accountability. If they succeed in getting funding devolved, and there are governance problems, then they will be held to account in Parliament. More importantly, if they fail to deliver - if the people who see this as a solution to their problems are disappointed - they will be held to account at the ballot box. And this I think is ultimately what will drive the Maori Party back to the left - because the key problems facing Maori are ordinary ones of health, education, jobs and welfare, and if the Maori Party wants to get re-elected, it will have to focus on solving them. They're riding an enormous wave of anger and hope which should see them safely into Parliament this time - but if they don't deliver on those key issues, then the tide will just as quickly go out.


You assume that a noble class will always behave well. They don't. And you can vote out democrats. You can't (easily) get rid of aristocrats who are there by right of descent.

I am quite happy to hold Maori to same standards as I hold everyone else. In this case, the standard is my belief that noble blood is bullshit built on historic crime, and the sooner the bearers thereof lose their hereditary privilege the better. The fact that a particular noble chooses to exercise their power for good does not mean that nobles generally deserve their power or should be allowed to keep it.

Relying on noblesse oblige works great right up until when they stop obliging...

Posted by stephen : 5/31/2005 07:59:00 AM

Actually, I assume that a noble class is a bad thing per se - as you say, its "bullshit built on historic crime" - and I would far rather that see iwi organisations that were internally democratic. But above, I'm talking about using iwi organisations as a service delivery mechanism. And surely these should be judged on their results, not on who is at the helm?

And I repeat: by playing the democracy game, the Maori Party has exposed itself to democratic accountability. And if they pursue and promote policies that advantage only a small segment of Maori, then they will find themselves out on their arses when their electors judge them and find them wanting.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/31/2005 08:37:00 AM

Parties are comparable to other parties. I see little reason to give the maori party credit of any worth for being involved in democracy - afterall many of the evilest people in history played the democracy game.

iwi organizations might be a good service delivery organization - but I doubt it. It will be difficult to correct the system to avoid it being racist. Because it might be plausible to have iwi organizations and plausible to have chinese association organizations but what about other miscellanious groups? Such a system sounds likely to systematically discriminate against minorities and those who are less connected.

Posted by Genius : 5/31/2005 07:48:00 PM

Whilst I pretty much agree with you about Maori aristocracy, you assume that Rangi-Blogs Maori _want_ democratic accountability.

What if they are satisfied with hereditary privilege due to it being their cultural and ethnic norm? What if they consider your position as just another colonial eliteist pushing his Pakeha agenda onto Maori? Where does the left go then?

Posted by Muerk : 5/31/2005 09:10:00 PM

Where the Left goes then is where it always has been, or where it should have been - people who don't like democracy can kiss taxpayers' money goodbye. We had enough of this with devolution under the last Labour govt.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 09:45:00 PM

I have read this blog and why am I not surprised what a crock of...tutai...No wonder the world is in the state it is in. People like you suffering an undiagnose mental illness have more say than should be legal. The Maori Party is neither left or right but that is the limite of your intelligence (I can see you all now trying to get your tiny little pea brains to work) What follie you indulge yourselves with what decadence of arrogance you display. Where I am sitting historical bullshit cuts both get ride of the westminster system including the education, law, welfare system and we can start all over again with equal distribution of resources and opportunity.

You are looking at yourselves with contempt you are not looking at MAORI.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/04/2006 05:06:00 PM

And while I am on A ROLE priviledge hey bay you can have my priviledge and I have your disadvantage...oh shit na we'er just getting our payout for the criminal acts of your priviledge.
I hear you cry we didn't do it we weren't there...but you will still claim the benefits from the ill fruits of your ancestore whats that recieving stolen goods!

Anyway food for you ill informed your thinking is becomming the voice of the void!!!! I am having fun thankyou all!!!!

Posted by Anonymous : 10/04/2006 05:17:00 PM

Also you would be the mob who would think that the criminal gene found in Maori is particular to Maori and therefore view it as equally and as exciting as sliced bread....Well Hey think about this..
According to Don Brash THERE are no more full bloody Maori..(well you all no how to shoot yourselves in the foot) cause if this is true then the findings of Maori having a criminal gene is wrong, could it be from your pakeha gene pool.
I can hear you screaming at me he he he!!!
As a point of interest was the sample taken from a full Maori if not again it is all TUTAI!!!
Read your mother ships news papers, Telegraph, Weekly, Guardian you find more hinus crimes amongst your relatives than what is happening here. So it must be a PAKEHA gene the scientist found...Howz THAT!!! Thinking or are you lost!

Posted by Anonymous : 10/04/2006 05:31:00 PM