Wednesday, May 03, 2023

What a shitshow

That's the only way to describe the defection of (now-former) Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri to Te Pāti Māori. Normally such defections are preluded by a long period of disagreement, for high or petty reasons. Instead, this has happened completely out of the blue. To have a backbench MP suddenly decide to bail like that is bad enough, but to have a Minister do it really suggests something is seriously wrong in Labour. For them to accidentally resign from Parliament because they don't understand the law they voted for twice would just be icing on the cake.

(I oppose Labour's anti-party-hopping law, but I'm happy to laugh at someone who hoists themself with their own petard like that).

Whaitiri was infamously sacked from Cabinet for bullying. Labour has since rehabilitated her - which you'd hope means there's been a change in behaviour - but she's also clearly at the bottom of the Ministerial rankings, the sort of mediocrity who will be dumped to make way for coalition party Ministers or new talent if Labour is lucky enough to be able to form a government after the election. Which makes her sudden switch seem opportunistic and driven by career ambitions, especially in the absence of any announced point of principle to justify the switch ("coming home to her whakapapa" is not a terrible reason, but seems a bit weak for this sort of sudden change). But I guess that's ultimately going to be up to the voters of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti to judge.