Aug 2, 2012

Kelvin Davis on the best and worst Maori Politicians

Morgan's comment: We should keep in mind that this post is pretty tongue-in-cheek. I think that is obvious. So when leaving comments, please keep that in mind. 

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.

Louisa Wall

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.

Tariana Turia

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

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

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.

The Greens

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

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.

Mike Sabin

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.

The Scores

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

Kelvin Davis


  1. I am amused at the inclusion of Catherine Delahunty in the ratings :-)

    1. Second month running too. She'll probably have a ta moko next month.

    2. Some thoughts from me on my inclusion on Frog Blog -

    3. Tena koe e te Rangatira,

      Thank you for that - an interesting and insightful post. For the sake of clarity, I've have never ascribed your contribution to Maori as an attempt to be a wannabe Maori, of Maori whakapapa or the like. I admire your work and your motivations. Nga mihinui.

  2. Really? Plastic Māori? Why does someone having different political views from you mean that they are somehow less Māori? I remember a time when Māori were considered a lesser form of human, I would like to think that we are more enlightened given our shared history to recognise that we can have differing political views within denigrating into such attacks. Being Māori is about whakapapa and not political ideology.

  3. Agree with Joshua. It seems that Maori on the left think that Maori on the right can't be Maori if they are advocating a different view.

    Which is a pity. We've got some honest problems, and I would have thought real debate over possible solutions would be welcome.

  4. Enjoyed reading the scoring system of the MPs, amusing as it was.

    In regards to both Joshua and Anonymous,

    "Let us not confuse Maaori whakapapa with Maaori advocacy"
    Marama Davidson (Native Affairs, 11/6/12)

    The fact that some MPs listed above whakapapa maaori is to be overlooked when their advocating is not consistent with tiikanga maaori, te aoo maaori and so forth...

    he aha ai? that i don't know, what I do know is that political is personal, personal is political,
    if you are or assume to be maaori...
    stand in your rangatiratanga and follow through as such.


  5. I also agree with Joshua. If they identify as Māori and they whakapapa then IMO they are Māori.

    I also thought the comment about horan was telling. I don't know of his plan but talking more about what the settlements are and what they mean can only be a good thing.

    "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."

    getting the settlements out the way? What do you actually think "success" for Māori is?

    As for your paragraph on Hone - that says more about you than him - it was spiteful and incorrect.

    1. Ae, if someone has whakapapa Maori then they're Maori and no one can diminish that or take it away. However, I see where Kelvin is coming from. Plastic Maori isn't a diplomatic term nor one I use, but it is a term that I would argue is common and widely accepted. That doesn't make it right, but it is a term that encapsulates National's approach to Maori. In any event, Paula Bennett and her party (as one example) could not be described as an ally of our people.

    2. "Paula Bennett and her party (as one example) could not be described as an ally of our people."

      It depends on who you include in 'our people'. If that is supposed to mean 'Maori then same problem as the plastic label.

      You can't claim to represent 'Maori' any more than Paula Bennett.

  6. Joshua I do not agree.

    Let us not confuse Maaori whakapapa with Maaori advocacy" (Marama Davidson)

    Anyone who shares the view of Hekia, Paula or Simon or the Iwi Group Leaders for that matter - DO NOT represent me or my whanau! Period.

    Why? None of them are bringing anything to the table re redressing the reality our people.

    They clearly serve themselves and NOT the people!

    Left or right - People. Dont give props to kupapa - thats what they are - whakapapa is something to be aspired to NOT taken for granted!

  7. Aspects of National's neo-liberalism crossover with Maori interests in self-determination. Under National governments, we have seen swift action in the way of Treaty negotiations and settlements and the roll-out of plans like Whanau Ora (albeit this being a political concession).

    National may not always be the desired governing party for Maori, but I don't think it's fair to say they cannot be an 'ally', they have shown an ability to compromise and Maori should recognise this - it gives us leverage.

    If you're tacitly suggesting Labour is a better ally than National, I suggest you explain the merits of that idea - the key difference between the two, IMO, is that Labour will sell-out Maori (Foreshore & Seabed) when it becomes politically favourable to do so, at least National makes their interests and agenda relatively clear from the outset.

  8. A recent report from the NZ Council of Christian Social Services has Maori and Pasifika poverty increasing over the last 4 years ($40 drop in median weekly incomes while Pakeha incomes have remained fairly stable). expected result ('the rich get richer, the poor get poorer') but lost in the Olympics and water sell-off coverage. To drop 40 bucks a week is a tragedy for tens of thousands of whanau (I suspect mainly through unemployment, in which case drop will be much more). Reality check for the Maori Party (no mention in their latest emailed newsletter) as all they can argue is would've been worse without them in coalition and 'hang tough 'cos things are gonna get better'.

    Cue Tui ad...

    Reinforces the view that Aotearoa/NZ's recovery requires extracting wealth from Maori.

  9. I really liked it. That is not to say that I agreed with all of the points made but I thought it was well-written and quite insightful.

    Best of all it was something that I couldn't get any where else, so thank you.



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