Here’s my take on the Te Tai Tokerau byelection.
Mana won – this is a good thing if only because Hone Harawira deserved to win. As I have noted previously, all he did to get railroaded out of the Māori Party was to tell some, albeit hurtful, truths about it. They should have been heeded.
I could say the Māori Party’s showed a lack of political acumen and experience, but to be fair it’s no more than the sort of behaviour their supposedly much more experienced peers in the two major parties regularly stoop to. Only the Greens seem to be able to rise above it, generally.
But there is lots to learn from Mana’s win. Labour’s strong showing pointed out something very clearly: not just a Māori hankering for a Māori Party that is not National’s patsy, but also a clear indication that northern Māori, at least, is still pro Labour in principal.
And although that’s surprising, after some categorically awful gaffes in that regard by Labour over the last few years, it’s an important point that should not be left begging.
Of the Te Tai Tokerau result, Key said the byelection was a waste of money. He should know: he’s an expert at wasting money.
But how many votes did National get, in this election? None – unless you count the few votes for the Māori Party, since they have become National’s project to nullify Māori aspirations. National didn’t, officially, contest the election but its coalition partner did. And it all failed miserably by anyone’s measure.
All in all, we have seen a realignment in the north that might spread throughout the country: Māori want a strong party that truly, honestly represents Māori aspirations – and since this is a fundamental part of New Zealand’s sovereign and cultural identity, we should all understand and laud this.
But the other realignment is a Māori yearning for a party that has a social conscience – and this used to be Labour.
Labour could be due for renaissance with Māori and it has some genuinely admirable Māori MPs. But the future is not, currently, separate from the fundamental concerns of Māori as a people. The policies Labour creates and the alliances it’s open to could not be more important. So act advisedly in this regard.
But if Labour starts courting the Māori Party now, look forward to more dissolution and another term of National (which must be champing at the bit and hating having to be cautious) to really do some damage to ordinary New Zealanders.
Oh, and Pita? Your seats are not safe. From your partners or from the rest of the country.
Christchurch is a challenge that good government would rise to anywhere in the world, but National has not managed this well and disquiet swelled while John Key hid in India. (How insulting and naive to call India ‘the new China’!)
From where I sit, Labour – for the first time in ages – has a shot at winning the election. National has been passing the ammunition across No Man’s Land. This has, for the most part, been squandered. Is it going into an arsenal for future use? One can only hope so, but good lord, don’t wait too long.
But a shot has been fired – and it was a more like a fusillade! Thank goodness for the (‘leaked’?) announcement on plans for a Capitol Gains Tax! Finally, a point of difference that’s left even John Key gasping like a landed fish.
And finally, we have something worth fighting for – as I have written here before, everyone knows it’s the right thing to do, whether they like it or not. This makes it hard to front a valid resistance to without looking like an ingrate.
Nice one, Phil Goff. Whoever, ever (if anyone did) told you to act like a big man … well, they should be fired. New Zealand doesn’t need another dumb Kiwi bloke in these difficult times. A smarmy liar and concealer. We have a surfeit of those, with the prime chump at the tiller.
We need an academic. Please, Mr Goff, keep doing what you know.
We like it.