Who have been the best and worst Maori MPs for the month? No one Maori MP has set the world on fire, in fact if I can be a little critical, it seems as a group they're going through the motions. Yep, sure there's the obligatory condemnation of the Government's position on Maori water rights, but it's easy to moan and bitch about what's wrong, but no one seems to be creating anything that's particularly pro-Maori or pro-anything to be perfectly honest.
The exception being Louisa Wall, who has fronted the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill debate with dignity and eloquence, and at the same time showing those conservative bigots out to be, well, conservative bigots.
A quick and highly unscientific scan of the internet shows Hon Tariana Turia has been most prolific in terms of press releases and speeches - covering issues from deaths in Police custody, growing NZ's future doctors, a graduation somewhere, the Maori Council water claims and criticism of the Prime Minister on that same issue, ETS decisions, Trade Training investment and also plain packaging of tobacco. Brownie points to Tariana for sticking it to the Tobacco Industry.
Pita and Te Ururoa haven't set the world on fire having announced a bit of this and supporting a bit of that.
Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges
Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges, as Ministers, have churned out a few press releases, but nothing that does a lot for Maori, although I'm sure they'll argue otherwise. I know they have Maori whakapapa, but when I think of them as Maori the word plastic springs to mind.
Hekia Parata has been keeping her head down for the last few weeks, waiting for the remaining debris of her cock up last month to drift from the consciousness of the nation, and has announced a few low key initiatives such as a review of the Teacher's Council and issued a press release to tell us, "The Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum on Raising Achievement today discussed the importance of quality data in raising achievement, and improving teaching practice with a focus on priority learners." Ho bloody hum. Hell, schools have been talking about that for most of the last decade.
Brendan Horan has churned out a few releases regarding Kiwirail and something rather bizarre about wanting Treaty Settlements to be a bit more controversial so that the general public talk about them a bit more. Hmm, don't know what that's all about. I personally would have thought getting the Settlements out of the way so that Maori can get on with being successful would be in the country's best interests.
Winston has been Winston. Tau has been Tau
Labour's Maori Caucus
Shane Jones has had a Bill drawn from the ballot "Ombudsmen (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill," buggered if I know what that's about, but I have every faith in Shane's ability to turn the most tedious of kaupapa into an epic yarn worthy of a Pulitzer.
Nanaia Mahuta has had a few Questions in the House and has been on Hekia's case about her attitude towards the education sector and the pointlessness of League tables. Rino Tirikatene and Moana Mackey have been low key. Parekura Horomia has had a crack at the Maori Party on Water Rights. Sadly my Labour mates have been too quiet.
Metiria Turei, as Green Party Leader has to be more prolific, and has spoken out on everything from whaling, John Banks, the minimum wage, paid parental leave, child poverty, the Kahui twins coroner's report and mining, but to be honest the Greens aren't doing that much better on Maori specific issues. Catherine Delahunty, who has been included in previous lists because of her advocacy on Maori issues, has had a Bill drawn from the ballot Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill - a bit of a mouthful, but an attempt to prevent discharge into rivers and around the coast. Maori will probably get in behind this Bill. She's also been hot on 'debt collection' in schools and mining in Northland. She may be a born again Maori convert, but her heart is in the right place. David Clendon has been quiet.
Hone Harawira through gritted teeth has come out and said homosexuals should be able to marry just like everyone else, and that "strong and healthy relationships were the foundation of loving whanau and a positive and vibrant society", while he continues to put the boot into Auntie Tari, Uncle Pete and the bro Te Ururoa. Oh, yeah, John Key as well. But aside from putting the boot into others and the apparent revelation that discrimination against a sector of society is wrong - bugger all.
I have a suspicion that Northland MP Mike Sabin may have some whakapapa (but could be wrong). He deserves acknowledgement for putting together a couple of economic summits in Te Tai Tokerau. As we know Te Tai Tokerau/ Northland is one of the most economically broken arsed areas in the country. The hope is the economic summits aren't just blatant self promotion and talk-fests and that they actually create opportunities for our people up north. So good on him, if he can pull it off before his mob get kicked out of government, he'll have achieved more than the rest of us who have been MPs from the north. So I'll be watching that space with interest. He scores well below because I'm into politicians who are proactive rather than reactive.
The Maori Council
The biggest bouquet goes to the New Zealand Maori Council who have been driving the Water Claims. They have demonstrated real political nous, courage, integrity and leadership.
So here is a scoring system - ranging from -2 through to +2.
+2 = significant positive effect in politics and/ or on Maori in the last month
+1 = some positive effect in politics and/ or on Maori in the last month
0 = no effect whatsoever
-1 = some negative effect on politics and/ or on Maori in the last month
-2 = significant negative effect on politics and/ or on Maori in the last month.
Entirely subjective, extremely loaded with my own biases and prejudices, but suck it up. Here's my scores for July 2012.
Paula Bennett and
Simon Bridges -1 (point deducted for having Tory DNA more dominant than Maori DNA)
David Clendon 0
Te Ururoa Flavell +1
Hone Harawira +1
Tau Henare 0
Brendon Horan 0
Parekura Horomia 0
Shane Jones 0
Rino Tirikatene 0
Moana Mackey 0
Nanaia Mahuta +1
Hekia Parata 0
Winston Peters 0
Denise Roche who?
Jamie-Lee Ross gawd, he's a Maori?
Pita Sharples +1
Metiria Turei +1
Tariana Turia +2
Louisa Wall +2
Catherine Delahunty +1
Mike Sabin +2
NZ Maori Council +2