Mar 20, 2013

3 leaders but no one to lead

From Newstalk ZB:

The Maori Party may end up with no parliamentary leader at all.
Following debate earlier this year over the current leadership and potential succession plans, the Party's looking at a model that would see its three MPs take leadership in areas of their respective strengths.
Co-leader Tariana Turia says it wouldn't be a three way co-leadership and maintains it's the people that lead the Party.

This is the compromise option. The party is in a straitjacket. The Constitution demands a consensus on the leadership question.* That means that, in practice, a hostile leadership takeover can't succeed. The incumbent's supporters and electorate branch will block any attempt at a takeover. Without winning the incumbent's supporters and electorate branch a prospective leader can't reach the required consensus. A model approach in theory, but needing consensus makes it hard - if not impossible - to clean out deadwood.

I'm not saying Pita Sharples is deadwood. He and Tariana anchor Maori Party support and the party's political identity is tied to their reputations and mana. Having said that - and I've made this clear in the past - the party needs to usher in generational change. The Maori electorate is overwhelmingly young and electing Te Ururoa Flavell is the first step in acknowledging shifting demographics.

There's no use in having three leaders but no one to lead. The party can't afford to relitigate this issue every couple of months. If Te Ururoa can't and won't make leader, what's the point in sticking around? Were he to leave - and I think that becomes more and more likely with each rejection - the Maori Party lose continuity post-Turia/Sharples. It would be the Maori Party's death certificate. Waiariki would fall to Annette Sykes or a strong Labour candidate.

Post script: I've covered this issue at length before. See Sharples v Flavell: the leadership edition and Trouble in the Maori Party: Act 1 for more (better) comment. 

*Tuku Morgan explained it very well on Native Affairs.  


  1. To many Chiefs and not enough Indians/Maori

  2. I think Pita needs to remember about the purpose of succession planning and that is the ongoing success of your party/organisation/business. Saying he wants to die in office is not conducive to a long term future for the Party. I admire Tariana for the decision she has made and I don't think she should be blamed for this mess. It's time to move on Pita

  3. Ka Kite Te Paati Maori.

  4. It would be a struggle for the Maori Party to even hold most of their seats next year, irrespective of their leadership arrangements. Fact is, of those voters on the Maori Roll who do vote, most overwhelmingly choose the Left. The Maori Party are paying the price for choosing to straddle the middle ground as an active junior member of the ruling government.

    I do wonder about the loss of Professor Whatarangi Winiata as their President and the impact that has had. Pem Bird seems like an extremely likeable fellow but I wonder if he's fully aware of the scope and enormity of the Maori Party and its need to be seen to be a viable voting option for non-Maori voters. Because that's where the Party Votes are - and it's what the Maori Party (or any kaupapa-Maori party) needs.

    The Maori Party should have taken a leaf out of the Green Party and observed how they have been able to progress from being a so-called minor party to a credible third party alternative to National and Labour. By no means am I saying the Greens have achieved full third party status yet. Nor am I saying the circumstances between them and the Maori Party are the same (they are clearly not) But the strategy they've used is paying dividends. They no longer survive on single issues; they don't need personality-driven leaders to hold everything together; they can comment on virtually every political issue imaginable and be taken seriously. They're a very good lesson in political marketing strategy for other minor parties.

  5. The word in Tainui is that Tuku Morgan is going to run for Maori Party President.

  6. All the ongoing raruraru between the Maori Party and Mana has done nothing except fracture the votes in the Maori seats even further. And guess who'll step in? Labour. As they have done for several decades now - the de facto party for Maori voters, the best of a bad situation choice.

    That's what happens when politicians throw their toys out of the cot - kotahitanga goes flying out too.

  7. I disagree with the previous post. There is only one divisive character in all of this who has wanted the leadership years ago - Te Ururoa Flavell! He got rid of Hone and now he is getting rid of Pita - and his own party in the process. Greed knows no bounds.

  8. There's the problem. It's all ego and character-driven. Why would a voter waste their time?



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