Do we believe him?

April 15, 2014

Kim Dotcom said he was talking with a sitting MP who was keen to join the Internet Party.

Now he’s saying the talks are over:

Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party says discussions with a sitting electorate MP who was poised to join the party have ended due to the prospect of a tie up with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party. . . .

Today the party said: “Following the recent decision of delegates at the Mana AGM to continue negotiations with the Internet Party regarding a possible alliance, the current MP and the Internet Party have mutually agreed to end further discussions.”

Every MP who was asked denied any intention to jump ship.

Either the MP in questions was lying, the one who was going to jump ship wasn’t asked, or there never was a potential jumper.

Who do we believe?


Hard and harder

April 12, 2014

What’s Dotcom offering the Mana Party?

Well yes, that and money.

But there’s a but about what that would cost:

And there’s some who hold to those principles who would find it even harder to entertain any relationship with Dotcom.

. . . It’s clear how a Mana-Internet Party alliance will benefit Dotcom. His party would have decent shot at a presence in Parliament after September 20, even if it polls well under 5%.

But what’s in it for Mana? In part, money, which can buy profile, and get the party over the 1.5% of the vote mark (which would get the party a second seat in Parliament under MMP’s coat-tail rule). But is that, along with some liberal policies around broadband and surveillance, enough to overcome the cringe factor involved in getting into bed with what one Mana staffer called the ‘Fat rich white pr**k’? . . .

. . . And as the Mana leader admitted on Maori TV’s Native Affairs last week, two of his top lieutenants – John Minto, Annette Sykes – have expressed wariness about Dotcom, while a third, Sue Bradford. is outright hostile. Bradford says she’ll quit the party if there’s a hookup with Dotcom – and she’ll take some of the party’s white liberal faction with her. We’re note talking big numbers here, but the context is to push from 1.08% of the list vote (the mark Mana hit at the 2011 election) to 1.5%.

I can’t see Minto stomaching Dotcom, either. Minto is a true believer who has fought all his life for left wing causes. He’s not going to hold any truck with a fairweather friend who, in recent history, donated $50,000 to John Banks.

And it’s not just principles at stake:

Will she give it up
Harawira can probably live with a few Pakeha defections – he might even make hay from it. But I suspect Annette Sykes’ thinking is starting to crystalise, too.

Certainly, the outspoken Maori sovereignty hardliner is at the sharp end of things. 

On Native Affairs, Harawira refused to say if a shared Mana-Internet Party list would go Mana, Internet Party, Mana, Internet Party, Mana as candidates from both camps were evenly interweaved. 

But that’s the only outcome the Internet Party could be pushing for. And it would mean Sykes – currently number two on Mana’s list – would have to agree to demotion to third to make way for an Internet Party candidate at number two.

Good luck with that one, Kim.

Turning your back on your principles and dropping down the list as well could be harder still.


Political playground

April 8, 2014

Trans Tasman takes politicians back to school:

Hone Harawira, one suspects, used to specialise in Chinese burns and other playground tortures when he was at school. The Mana Party leader has the kind of air about him redolent of such schoolyard antics. John Key was probably the cheeky kid who cracked enough jokes to be popular with the other kids but who nevertheless did his homework assiduously and kept on authority’s good side. David Cunliffe was the greasy goody two shoes, bright, geeky and probably a bit of a sneak. Peter Dunne – swotty pants. Russel Norman – ditto, but a more argumentative version of the same. Metiria Turei: the slightly flaky party girl (a bit like Paula Bennett, in fact).

We had classic playground diversion stuff this week when it was suggested Harawira is the lone electorate MP Kim Dotcom has signed up to his party. It’s not me, sir, Harawira protested – pointing indignantly to the class swot Peter Dunne sitting quietly in the corner. Key of course has rubbished the idea his support partner might be in talks with the Internet pirate who has promised to bring the Prime Minister down. “Not a dog show,” the PM laughed, which prompted a few to remember the Country Calender spoof about the remote controlled sheep dogs, and to ponder Dunne’s resemblance to a slightly affronted Scottish Rough Collie.

Former Labour leader David Shearer – the decent kid  everyone used to pick on – is the other candidate who has been suggested, but this looks even less likely than Dunne. Dotcom has historically held a somewhat awkward relationship with the truth which has occasionally brought him to the attention of the authorities. This looks like another of those occasions. . .

An awkward relationship with the truth, may or may not apply to the 2000 members his Internet Party claims to have.

It’s applied to register as a political party.

. . . Following registration the Internet Party will need to submit its rules providing for the democratic participation of members and candidate selection within the time period specified by law. . .

It’s constitution is here but Russell Brown raises questions on whether they allow for democratic participation by members:

1. There is a special role called ‘party visionary.’ This is defined as Kim Dotcom, or a person selected by Kim Dotcom. THis visionary has the automatic right to sit and vote on the party’s executive and policy committee and cannot be kicked out by the membership.
2. To stand for election to the party’s executive, in addition to being nominated by current members of the party you’ve got to be nominated by a current member of the National Executive. This locks in the incumbents.
3. The party’s executive has nearly unfettered control over the list: they put together an initial list, send it out to the membership to vote on, and then they ultimately decide what the final list should be having regard to the member’s choices.
4. The national executive chooses who stands in what electorate. No local member input at all.
5. The party secretary has a very important role (eg they get to solely arbitrate over disputes; they set out the process for amending the constitution, they decide the process for electing office holders; they’re a voting member of the National Executive). The only problem is they’re legally an employee of the party’s shell company, meaning that it is very hard for the members to exercise democratic control over the secretary (you can’t just fire an employee).
6. On a related note: the way the Internet Party is structured is so all its assets are kept in a shell company (Internet Party Assets Inc), away from the party itself. I don’t know what the purpose of this one was TBH. (the rules of this company were meant to be attached to the constitution in a schedule, but as far as I can see they’re not there)
7. They’re using the old ‘vote in Parliamentary caucus’ decides leader method. To be fair, most parties use this though. There is a bit of a quirk though that until we know their list we don’t know who their party leader is, because if they’re outside of Parliament their party leader is just whoever is at number 1 of the list. (I also note there’s no way to remove a leader if they don’t have representation in Parliament).”

Not so much of, for and by the members as of, for and by Dotcom.

But the silver lining to the Dotcom cloud is that every bit of media attention he’s getting – and he’s getting a lot – is less for the rest of the opposition.


Two egos no mana

April 7, 2014

Kim Dotcom is to speak at the Mana Party AGM:

Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom will address the Mana Party annual conference in Rotorua next weekend ahead of Mana’s decision about whether to form an alliance with the Internet Party.

Mana leader Hone Harawira and Mr Dotcom met for the second time in Auckland over the weekend to discuss the potential relationship.

The Mana executive invited Mr Dotcom to speak and he accepted “to talk to and understand the view of Mana members,” a Mana statement says.

The speech will be late Saturday morning in the open session of the conference, which news media can attend. . .

What this does is guarantee that the conference will get more coverage than a wee party might otherwise get.

However, all publicity isn’t good publicity and any relationship with Dotcom and his Internet Party has the potential to tear Mana apart.

Those with principles will leave in disgust that the party would sell out for money.

Dotcom and Mana leader Hone Harawira have little in common politically except a hatred of John Key.

Keeping Stock calls it Dotcomana.

It has no principles.

All it has is two egos and no mana.


The MP most likely . . .

March 28, 2014

Kim Dotcom is claiming a sitting MP will join his Internet Party.

. . . He repeated his claim that it would be represented in Parliament, whether or not it achieved the 5 per cent MMP threshold for list seats, because a sitting electorate MP would join.

He would not name the person or say which party he or she represented, because of a confidentiality agreement, but it was not Harawira. The MP’s name would be revealed in June. . .

He didn’t know how many MPs were in parliament when asked by Seven Sharp.

There are 121, 70 of whom hold seats.

Given the unity in National and the high probability all those running again will hold their seats any of its 42 MPs would be mad to leap from a rock to sinking sand.

John Banks is retiring and Peter Dunne would have lots to lose and nothing to gain by any dalliance with Dotcom.

Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are also retiring. The third Maori Party MP, Te Ururoa Flavell would also have too much to lose by leaping from the steady waka into a dotbomb dinghy.

Dotcom says it’s not Harawira and we can take his word on that because while he’s the lone paddler in the Mana waka, he’s not stupid enough to tip it up.

That only leaves Labour.

A few of its MPs might feel uneasy in their seats and most will have some doubt about the probability of being in government after the election.

The prospect of power can do strange things to people but even unhappy Labour MPs wouldn’t be stupid enough to think they’d have a better chance of success by leaping into the unknown.

Who then is the MP most likely to join Dotcom?

Almost certainly someone in his dreams.


Mana’s anitpathy to National saves it from dotbomb

March 26, 2014

The Mana Party has, somewhat  belatedly, discovered its principles:

. . . Mr Harawira said liasing with Mr Dotcom’s party – to be launched on Thursday – would not be in Mana’s best interests.

“Dotcom would have to commit to getting rid of National and changing the Government before Mana would consider any deal with his Internet Party,” he said.

“That’s a bottom line for Mana. I resigned from the Maori Party because their relationship with National was – and continues to be – destructive to Maori. We won’t be going back there for anyone.” . .

He’s right to stick to his principles, even if they’re based on the wrong premise that National is destructive to Maori.

The Herald opines that a Mana-Internet marriage of convenience would be a cynical step too far:

. . . Two parties with little in common aside from an antipathy to John Key and covert surveillance would be guilty of a new level of cynicism based solely on mutual benefit. For Mana, there would be the prospect of boosted funding and a higher profile during the election campaign; for the Internet Party, a representation in Parliament that it could never achieve on its own. . .

Some within the Mana Party may believe that current polling shows they have nothing to lose. Any perception that they were selling out ideologically would be more than offset by the prospect of more seats in Parliament if the construct with Mr Dotcom’s party increased their combined party vote to anything more than about 2 per cent.

But nothing is more important to a political party than its credibility. Mana would pay a heavy price on two counts. First, potential supporters would see a party willing, in its desperation, to compromise its beliefs. Second, they would be alienated by its readiness to take advantage of a much-maligned aspect of MMP as never before. By any yardstick, this marriage of convenience would be a sorry step too far.

That Harawira and some in the party even contemplated a union with someone with whom they have so little in common doesn’t reflect well on them and their readiness to be swayed by money.

That Kim Dotcom was willing to manipulate our electoral system, in a way not dissimilar to the way he’s using a back door entrance to the stock market, just seems like business as normal for him.

However, that even Mana has cold feet makes it even more likely that the Internet Party will be another  dotbomb.

 


Mana’s principles for sale?

March 24, 2014

The Mana Party is discussing an Alliance-like deal with the yet-to-be-formed Internet Party:

The Mana Party says a merger with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party is not an option, but an arrangement involving a joint list and sharing the party vote, could be.

Mana leader Hone Harawira says he met with Mr Dotcom last month and had what he says was a general political discussion.

Mana’s secretary Gerard Hehir says a formal merger is not an option but there may be scope for an arrangement where they campaign together under an umbrella party, to take advantage of the combined party vote. . .

The several parties which held hands under the Alliance umbrella had left-wing principles in common.

Mana’s principles are pro-Maori and solidly left-wing.

It isn’t clear what, if any, principles the Internet Party has.

Many of  Kim Dotcom’s, its would-be founder, are questionable and have little if anything in common with Mana.

This is clear to one of Mana’s founding members and a former candidate, Sue Bradford, who said Dotcom would be a deal-breaker for her:

Ms Bradford, a former Green Party MP who has been with Mana since its inception in 2011, told RadioLIVE there aren’t many similarities between the two parties.

“I find it incredible that a party with the kaupapa Mana has should be considering going into an alliance with Kim Dotcom – a man who tried to buy off the right and failed and now he seems to have turned to the left to buy the left off,” she says. 

“This is so far from the kaupapa I’ve dedicated my life to and I find it quite extraordinary.”

She says it “wouldn’t be possible” for her to stay with the party if it did do a deal with Dotcom.

“I don’t think doing deals with right-wing internet billionaires who are facing a number of legal challenges is the way forward for any party that adheres to the principles of social, and economic and treaty justice that I believe in,” she says.

“We should really be thinking twice about this.”

Ms Bradford says there are others in the party who think the same way she does, and has expressed her views to the party leadership.

It could be a “short-sighted conversation” and a “bubble in a tea cup”, and nothing could come of it in the end, she says.

She also had questions about how Dotcom treats his own staff, who have complained about poor wages and not being paid. . .

Bradford has principles and is sticking to them.

Harawira is showing that any principles he has are for sale.


Imagine . . .

March 23, 2014

Imagine there’s a wealthy man who had been convicted of crimes in another country, is awaiting extradition to face charges on other matters.

Imagine that he’s also facing serious allegations about paying staff far less than the minimum wage and owes considerable sums to creditors.

Imagine that to amuse himself, keep himself in the headlines, avenge himself of real or imagined slights and/or possibly get enough political clout to prevent the extradition, he decides to set up a political party.

Imagine that this man is going to get an MP from a small right or centre-right party to defect to his party.

Imagine the uproar from the left and the coverage in the media.

Would it be as mild and if not supportive, at least as unquestioning as this story that says Dotcom claims first MP?

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom claims he has signed up one sitting MP to join his new party before the election and is talking to three more – a poaching raid unprecedented in New Zealand politics. . . .

He refuses to disclose the identity of the MP, saying it will be revealed once the Internet Party is registered and has chosen all its candidates, probably in June.

His revelation came in an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday yesterday.

Dotcom said he was also in talks with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira to unite their two parties under one umbrella, enabling the Internet Party to ride into Parliament on the coat-tails of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate MP.

The two leaders and their party bosses, Vikram Kumar and Gerard Hehir, met on February 28 at a house on Auckland’s North Shore.

The Mana Party executive will this week consider a merger proposal. Mana would bring one or two electorates, the Internet Party would bring a more broadly-based party vote and $1 million-plus in campaign funding. . .

The reporter might think that enough has been said about Dotcom’s history but surely, when the Supreme Court has just dismissed his claim to see all the evidence the US has against him, it ought to be part of the story.

. . . “The Mana Party is one of several parties we are talking to, to form an alliance,” Dotcom revealed.

“We are also talking to a number of MPs that have won electorates and are likely to win electorates again. Our goal is to put together a good alliance to make sure this agenda we have gets into Parliament.

“I can tell you right now that we will certainly have one MP with an electorate in the Internet Party.” . . .

It’s difficult to believe a National MP, with the odds favouring a return not just to parliament but probably government, would be mad enough to have anything to do with this man and his party.

Someone in Labour, doing the maths and thinking that s/he’s facing at best another three years in opposition if not losing a seat altogether might be desperate, or stupid, enough to contemplate changing wakas.

But anyone with a passing knowledge of history would know that there are far more MPs who’ve done that and disappeared than the very few who’ve kept their seats.

The accompanying editorial does mention the extradition, gagging order against his former body guard and creditors.

But it too avoids any mention of buying elections or crony capitalism and attempted corruption that would almost certainly be part of a story were the would-be puppet master be attempting to pull the strings of MPs in the centre or right.


Are Hone and Dotcom up to something?

March 19, 2014

Hone Harawira has admitted he met Kim Dotcom:

“Last year I was invited to meet with Kim Dotcom, but I declined because I didn’t want to get swamped by the Labour, Greens and NZ First pilgrimages to the mansion,” said Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau.

“But when the invitation was extended again earlier this year I decided to accept, but not at Coatesville. I met with Dotcom at my mates place on the Shore where we discussed a number of issues: . . .

“We clearly have common interests, but for the record, I didn’t ask him to fund MANA, and he didn’t offer to either. I didn’t ask him to join MANA, and he didn’t ask me to join his party.”

“I haven’t spoken publicly about the meeting because I haven’t yet spoken with the MANA Exec about it. That’s set for later this week.

“There are no further meetings planned.”

He says nothing about the allegations Whaleoil made about plans to circumvent electoral law.

Are the pair up to something and if so have they found a hole in our electoral laws through which they’re planning to bulldoze?

Will Labour move on Mana?

February 27, 2014

Recent Mana Party member Matt McCarten is now Labour’s chief of staff – what will that mean for Mana?

Will Labour court its leader, and sole MP, Hone Harawira and invite him to join them?

Will it go after his seat?

Of will they be happy to leave him to the electorate they believe is theirs to give them another coalition partner?

The first and third options won’t appeal to the lighter pink people towards the centre who are already being scared to the centre right by the prospect of a Labour-Green government.


Labour lurches further left with McCarten as CoS

February 26, 2014

Matt McCarten is Labour’s new chief of staff.

Former New Labour and Alliance party founder Matt McCarten has been appointed chief of staff for Labour Party leader David Cunliffe.

In a move likely to please Cunliffe’s backers on the left of the party and place further strain on relationships with centrist, senior members of his caucus, Cunliffe said McCarten’s proven track record as a political organiser and strategist over more than 30 years qualified him for the role.

“He has spent his life fighting for social justice and workers’ rights. His values are the values of the Labour Party and the values of the government I want to lead,” said Cunliffe.

McCarten’s early professional life was in the trade union movement. He split with the Labour Party in 1989 to help form the New Labour Party with dissident Labour MP Jim Anderton, then split with Anderton in 2002 over the Alliance’s coalition with the Labour-led government of Helen Clark.

Anderton went on to form the Progressive Party and the Alliance lost all its parliamentary seats that year.

McCarten most recently stood for Parliament in the Mana by-election in 2010 as a candidate for the far left-wing Mana Party, led by Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, and has been an adviser to Mana.

That’s an interesting political journey -he started in the Labour Party, moved to New Labour, then Alliance,  Mana and now he’s back in Labour.

Do the values of the Labour Party Cunliffe says he shares, not paying tax?

Inland Revenue is chasing unionist Matt McCarten’s Unite Support Services Ltd. for $150,750 in unpaid taxes after the department forced the company into liquidation last month.

McCarten’s vehicle, which supplied administrative support services to the youth-orientated union Unite Inc., was put into liquidation by a High Court order last month after the tax department pursued it for “failure to provide for taxation,” according to the first liquidator’s report. . .

Whatever he’s done and wherever he’s been, there’s no question about where he wants to go and take Labour with him  – that’s to the far left.
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Lone MPs shouldn’t get leaders’ budgets

December 11, 2013

Guess who’s paying for Hone Harawira’s trip to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral?

Reacting to confirmation from Hone Harawira’s office that taxpayers will be footing the bill for the Mana Party leader’s trip to the Mandela service*, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union Jordan Williams said:
 
“This trip is a slap in the face to taxpayers and particularly Mr Harawira’s electorate, who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of his parliamentary funding.
 
Mr Harawira already spends more than any other non-ministerial member of Parliament.  Earlier in the year the public found out he spent even more than the then Leader of the Opposition.
 
Originally Mr Harawira told the public that he was footing the bill himself.  Now we know that he’s treating the taxpayer funded Parliamentary budget as a travel slush fund.”

As a party leader in parliament Harawira receives extra funding through a leaders’ budget.

Bigger parties have the whips to oversee spending of public money and exercise some discipline over it.

These one-man vanity vehicles have no discipline and no checks on their spending.

That Harawira can use public money to follow a whim to go halfway round the world and back for absolutely no public benefit is yet one more argument for change.

To qualify for leaders’ budgets parties ought to have more than a single MP.


The trend is tight

November 11, 2013

Last night’s TV3 Reid Poll showed:

National is on 46.8 percent. It is still on top, but has taken a big drop of 3.5 percent.

Labour are up 1.2 percent on 32.2 percent. That gain comes from the Greens, who are down to 10.2 percent.

And Winston Peters is on 4.2 percent; not quite at the five percent needed to get back into parliament, but still extremely dangerous.

Among the minor parties, Colin Craig’s Conservatives are at 2.8 percent, well over double the last poll. It’s the highest ever result for the party, and crucially, it is taking votes off National.

Hone Harawira gets a decent bump too, scoring the numbers to bring a second MP to parliament.

But as for Act, it appears they won’t win Epsom and will be out of parliament altogether. . .

The significant movement is the rise of the Conservatives, seemingly taking support from National.
But there’s little comfort for Labour when its gain comes at the expense of the Green Party.
Most movement is within the right and left blocks rather than between them and confirms the trend of most polls which have been showing it’s a very tight race.
As Mike Hosking opined:

Any government with a mid-40s support base in a system with so many parties to split the vote really couldn’t ask for more. They’re as popular today as they were the day they won the house five years ago. That’s impressive. But in a game where you’re not the only team, the other teams have let them down so they have real trouble.

So in another time, in another system, a third term would be a given. But under MMP in 2014, I wouldn’t bet the bank.

However, there’s little comfort for the left either.
The results for preferred Prime Minister show John Key at 40.9%, compared with 10.8% for Labour’s leader, David Cunliffe.
Cunliffe is lower than David Shearer was when the last poll was carried out in July.
The increase in Labour’s vote is within the margin of error although the poll was taken while the party conference was on and it and it was getting lots of publicity.
That will be cause for concern for Labour and strengthen the resolve of the ABC – anyone but Cunliffe – block in caucus.

Information beats confrontation

August 20, 2013

John Campbell’s confrontation with John Key on Campbell Live last Wednesday was a wonderful example of how not to do an interview.

Campbell was crusading, confrontational and angry. He made his views on the GCSB Bill blatantly obvious.

This morning Rachel Smalley’s interview (not yet online) with the Prime Minister was a complete contrast.

She was calm, measured, and gave no indication of her views on the issue.

She was after information, not confrontation, and she got it.

That included a repeat of the explanation of what access to metadata will mean under the new law:

Mr Key says the cyber-security function is to “protect” information, rather than accessing content.

He says the GCSB will be able to look at some email metadata, but that will not include addresses, the times emails were sent or received, or their content.

“Essentially it flows through a filter, and as it flows through that filter, it doesn’t record for anything other than a hundredth of a second,” he told media.

“It’s looking for the viruses which are coming into the system – it’s not looking at content, it’s not looking at who sent the email, it’s simply looking for the viruses and we don’t record … where the emails came from, who got them, any of that sort of stuff.” . . .
Mr Key is categorically ruling out “wholesale surveillance” of emails.
In cases where the GCSB wants to access the content of New Zealanders’ emails, Mr Key expects the agency to apply for very specific warrants, and seek the New Zealander’s consent, unless there are very good reasons not to.
Parliament’s intelligence and security committee will be able to see what type of warrants are being signed off and ask questions about those.The bill’s most controversial provision makes it legal for the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS, Defence Force and police, if they have a warrant.

Whether or not viewers were reassured by what the PM said will almost certainly depend on their bias.

A lot, though not all, of the opposition to the Bill is politically motivated and Labour has made the mistake of opting for short-term point scoring rather than taking the opportunity to look like a government in waiting.

The wee parties can do what they like knowing they’ll never lead a government but sooner or later Labour will.

It could have looked like it was fit to do so by working with the government to address legitimate concerns about the legislation.

Instead of which it’s just playing me-too to the Green and Mana Parties and New Zealand First with David Shearer just another opposition party leader like Russel Norman, Winston Peters and Hone Harawira.


Making a fuss not a difference

July 27, 2013

Hone Harawira was appealing to his constituency when he protested the removal of state houses from Auckland.

He ended up in court and was found guilty of failing to comply with police instructions.

That might not do him any harm with his supporters but they might not be so impressed when they find out where those state houses were going.Paula Bennett FB (2)Some of those houses have been relocated to Kaitaia where they’re being relocated for families who’ve been living in cow sheds, lean-tos and condemned houses.
Keeping Stock points out:. . . What the He Korowai Trust is doing in Kaitaia is impressive; so impressive that it merits a post all of its own later in the day. But well done to Paula Bennett for pointing out that whilst the MP for Te Tai Tokerau swans around the country at considerable expense to the taxpayer and makes a lot of noise whilst achieving little, others in his electorate are rolling up their sleeves and actually doing things to improve the lot of some of Te Tai Tokerau’s less fortunate.
Harawira isn’t just guilty of failing to comply with police instructions. He’s guilty of making a fuss rather than making a difference to people in need in his own backyard.


From protester to MP

July 26, 2013

Hone Harawira has been found guilty of failing to comply with police instructions during a protest over state housing last year.

There are similarities between his actions at the protest and those of Green MP Russel Norman in his infamous give me back my flag scuffle in his one-man protest against then Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping at the entrance of parliament.

The actions of both men showed they were guilty of not making the transition from protester to MP.

MPs have rights, privileges, means and ways to make their points not available to other citizens.

Norman abused his privilege as an MP in making his protest where he made it.

Harawira apparently forgot he was an MP with the responsibility to uphold the law, or simply didn’t care, in taking his protest to the extent of failing to comply with police instructions.

Both were guilty of making a fuss rather than making a difference as those who make the successful transition from protester to MP can and do.


Divided they lost

July 1, 2013

Only around 12,000 of the nearly 35,000 people on the electoral roll in Ikaroa-Rawhiti bothered to do vote in the by-election.

Labour’s Meka Whaitiri won the seat with just 4,368 votes and a sorry 35.8% turnout.

Is that a record low?

The Mana Party will be delighted that its candidate  Te Hāmua Nikora came second with 2,607 votes.

The Maori Party will be very disappointed that its candidate Na Raihania, was third with 2,104.

The win might be enough for those in Labour’s caucus who were aiming their knives at their leader’s back to set them down, for now.

But something all three parties need to think about is that the combined total of Nikora’s and Raihania’s votes was greater than that of Whaitiri’s.

Pita Sharples says the Maori Party, rather than its candidate, is responsible for its result. He didn’t mention, but he ought to be thinking about, his unwillingness to loosen his hold on the leadership.

However, as Matthew Hooton points out:

Had Mr Harawira not split the Maori Party in 2011, it is almost certain it would have won last night’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.  It would most probably have held on to Te Tai Tonga in 2011 so that it would now hold six of the seven Maori electorates and have much greater leverage over Mr Key and Labour. . .

There is no single Maori view but one party targeting the Maori seats would have had a very real chance of challenging Labour for them and being in a very strong position to go with a government led by either National or Labour.

But divided they lost the by-election and will almost certainly be too weak separately to do nearly as well as they could together.

Harawira put his personal feelings before political strategy, opening the way for Labour to retake most of the Maori seats and that could well bring about the demise of these electorates.

The idea of  New Zealand First in a governing coalition is the stuff of nightmares. But there would be one small consolation if that was the only way for National to stay in government, both parties favour culling the Maori seats.

National conceded that policy when it invited the Maori Party into coalition in 2008.

Should the Maori Party not be in a position to help National into government and, perish the thought, New Zealand First be a potential coalition partner, the Maori seats could go.

If Harawira had bothered to take a longer view beyond his personal agenda he would have been aware of that possibility and the risk he was taking in splintering from the Maori Party.


More ammo for red necks

June 26, 2013

Na Raihania, Maori Party candidate for the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election, wants surplus state houses sold to low-income Maori who aspire to home ownership.

 “The Maori Party aspires to see more Maori owning their own homes. Allowing them to buy surplus state houses in areas of low demand would help get them onto the first rung of the home ownership ladder,” said Mr Raihania. . .

Last week the Mana Party launched a policy that would make it much easier for Maori to buy their first house.

The Mana Party will build homes and offer financial support to get more Maori into home ownership, under a new policy to be launched tomorrow.

A spokesman for leader Hone Harawira said the policy would be specific to the 41 per cent of Maori who have never owned a home. . .

Both parties are appealing to what they hope is their constituency.

They are also providing more ammunition for red necks.

There is already a scheme which enables state house tenants to purchase their homes but that applies to all state house tenants.

Their might be arguments for targeting some assistance to people of a particular race but that does not extend to helping people buy their first, or any, house.

 

 

 


Not all schools want free food

May 5, 2013

Hone Harawira’s Bill proposing to provide food for all decile one and two schools will be debated in parliament soon.

It is a blunt instrument which will do nothing for hungry children in higher decile schools and provide food where it’s not needed and not wanted.

A school principal in Whangarei says a proposed law change aimed at providing meals for students in poorer schools could reinforce negative stereotypes. . .

Hora hora Primary principal Pat Newman said that may send a message that all parents with children at poorer schools don’t feed them properly.

He said it does not cost his school a lot to step in when it needs to, discretely offering breakfast and sandwiches to individual students in need. . .

The Press points out other problems with the proposal:

One difficulty is the sheer logistics of the proposal. Most schools are neither set up nor staffed to provide meals to pupils. One figure much bandied about during recent debate has suggested that 80,000 children go to school each morning without having had breakfast.

While that number has a whiff of the Ministry of Made-Up Numbers about it, even confined to decile 1 and 2 schools, Harawira’s proposal would be a large and time- consuming effort to get breakfast and lunch to all those deemed to need them.

But the main difficulty with Harawira’s idea is that it tackles the issue from the wrong end. Hungry children in school are a just symptom of a root cause – inadequate, negligent parenting and decision-making.

For the state to take over providing something as fundamental as proper meals will, if anything, only aggravate that root cause.

The more dud parents become aware that their children will be fed if they fail to do so, the more they will be inclined to abdicate the responsibility.

Providing a decent breakfast and lunch for a child is hardly an onerous or expensive task. Eggs on toast or cereal for breakfast, and sandwiches with a nourishing filling for lunch, are within the capacity of every parent. . .

It’s not the fault of hungry children that their parents don’t feed them and it is a problem which needs to be addressed.

But providing food for all low decile schools isn’t the best way to do it.

Fonterra is providing free milk for all schools that want it – some high decile schools choose to have it, some low ones don’t.

This targeted and voluntary approach, in conjunction with charities like Kids Can which provides food,  doesn’t address the problem of hopeless parents.

But at least it doesn’t waste food on schools which don’t need it, and gives it do children who do.


Maori seats don’t give representation

April 26, 2013

Maori are being canvassed to register on either the general or Maori roll.

If they’re in Te Tai Tokerau and want decent representation they should be opting for the general roll because their MP, Hone Harawira, is a rare sight in parliament.

Mana Party leader has been absent for 49 of the 120 sitting days since the 2011 election.

Mana leader Hone Harawira described himself as going “to battle for those without a voice in Parliament” at his party’s conference this month but he has been a rare sight in Parliament this year. . . .

Speaker David Carter said a formal attendance record for MPs was no longer kept, but Mr Harawira had been given 49 days of leave since the 2011 election, during which Parliament has sat for about 120 days. Party leaders have more responsibilities than other MPs, but most, including Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer, attend on two of the three sitting days. . .

Most Maori seats are considerably bigger than the average general seat which means even a very good MP would struggle to service the electorate well.

However, Harawira has the second smallest Maori seat so can’t use electorate size as an excuse.

Te Tai Tokerau  at 16,370 square kilometres is less than half the size of the three biggest general seats, Clutha Southland, West Coast Tasman and Waitaki,  and a fraction the size of Te Tai Tonga which covers an area of 161, 433 square kilometres.

Te Tai Hauauru covers 35, 825 square kilometres, Ikaroa Rawhiti is  30,952 square kilometres in area, the general seat of Kaikoura covers 23,706 square kilometres, and Waiariki covers 19,212 square kilometres.

A party leader does have other duties but if the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition generally make it to two of the three sitting days each week, Harawira can’t use that as an excuse either.

Although he is costing us more than any other MP who isn’t a minister:

Despite the cutback in travel to Wellington, Mr Harawira’s travel expenses for the first three months of the year were still higher than any other non-ministerial MP, including Mr Shearer.

Tariana Turia said Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice,   Harawira certainly isn’t giving his constituents a voice in parliament but he’s still racking up a very large travel bill.


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