The Maori Party should …


Support National (1417 votes, 63.5%)

Support Labour (299 votes, 13.4%)

Stay on the cross benches (514 votes, 23.0%)

Stuff polls  are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.



This Friday’s poem chose itself while I was browsing in a bookshop yesterday. It’s by Hone Tuwhare and comes from Oooooo……!!!  published by Steele Roberts.

(In case you’re wondering I bought the book).

Meander, but trap the meaning

of your thoughts, on paper


For reasons

      I cannot say

      nor state

      nor overcome, a tendency

      vague, nor infer an abandoned modesty, to

      have them

      cast in stone? No.


No…no…no! And to you,

      Fate, a double, ‘no-no’ –

      which in Maori, means

         ‘arse-holes’ (nono)



         Fate! And to my

    hand, unfalteringly –


I say: Go! Go for it! Let

      your writing-wrist

       flex, curve lovingly, making easy-going words of magic

     – on the paper. Yea!


        – Hone Tuwhare –

The monthly meeting



A one-act farce happening to a committee near you.


Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention… Thank you, it’s eight minutes past. Do we wait for the stragglers or start now.


Committee Member 1: It wouldn’t hurt to wait a bit. If we’re already late what’s a few minutes more?


Committee member 2: But do we know who’s coming? It’d be a bit pointless waiting for someone who wasn’t going to be here anyway.


Chair: Good point. Perhaps we could start now, then. Do we need a motion on that? No, I suppose not if we haven’t actually started the meeting. Right? I’ll call the meeting to order and declare it open. What happens now? Oh, yes, apologies. Any apologies?


Secretary, shuffling papers: I had a list somewhere. Um, here it is. Bob thought he might be irrigating so as he’s not here that’s an apology from him.


Frank said his sister-in-law was having a baby any day now and when she did Mavis would have to mind her children so he’d have to stay home to look after theirs. So that’s apologies from Frank and Mavis.


Committee member 2: But one of them would’ve had to stay at home to mind their kids anyway so, really it’s only an apology from the other.


Committee member 3: Yeah, but if one of them had come they’d have apologised for the other and since no-one’s here to do that, we need one for the one who would’ve been here and one for the other who wouldn’t.


Secretary: I think I follow that, we’ve got apologies from both Frank and Mavis.


Chair: What about Alice? She hasn’t said she won’t be here but she usually is and she isn’t tonight so we’d better add an apology for her. Those in favour, aye? Against, no? Carried. Good, that’s that now where are we? Oh yes, minutes of the previous meeting.


Secretary, shuffling papers again: If you’ll just bear with me … Here we are, rolled oats … Whoops, no that’s my shopping list. Now what’s this. Oh it’s a late apology for Nancy. She said she’ll be here but she needs to finish some bottling first.


Chair: Is that a late apology or an apology for being late?


Secretary: I suppose it’s both really. It’s a late apology for being late. That is it’s an apology for lateness which I’m giving late although of course Nancy gave it to me earlier so it’s me who’s late with the apology and Nancy who’s late for the meeting.


Chair: Thank you now if we could have the minutes.


Secretary: You could if I had them but I haven’t so could we take them as read?


Chair: Nothing very important happened last month so I don’t see why we can’t, if we could have someone move to that effect? Thank you, Sally and a seconder? Jim, good. All in favour? Against? Carried. Since we didn’t have minutes we won’t have any matters arising. What about finance?


Secretary: We don’t have any of that either. That is we do have some finance but the records are all with the minute book.


Chair: Correspondence then?


Secretary: None. I mean we really don’t have any, not we don’t have any because I didn’t bring it.


Chair: Good. How about general business? None? Right, if we could set the date for the next meeting for the same time next month I’ll thank you for your attendance and declare the meeting closed.

Smiles at the show


The sun was shining on the Christchurch show yesterday and people were beaming too.

The weather’s dry, the outlook for commodities is uncertain and the clouds hovering over the domestic and globabl economies are darkening, any or all of which could be reason for gloomy faces.

But the government has changed and when the election came up in conversation, as it inevitably did, that made everyone we talked to smile, and the biggest smiles of all were at the National Party tent.

Foreign place in our country


Jim Hopkins has been to a foreign place, but it wasn’t in another country.

For all sorts of reasons, principally a stubborn refusal to challenge our own shibboleths, we’ve created a monument to indifference, an unintended but shameful urban disaster.

Calling it the perfect slum would be satisfyingly glib – and unfair. But it is the ghetto of good intentions, an ill-considered, ill-designed place created by well-meaning souls who’ve unwittingly turned a 1935 dream into a 21st century nightmare.

There’s no doubt they believed they were doing the Lord’s work. There’s no doubt the rest of us didn’t give a toss so long as things were out of sight and out of mind. And there’s no doubt the benign objectives of an egalitarian society have yielded a malignant result. . .

South Auckland is architectural evidence there is a Law of Unintended Consequences. It’s what you get when you marry munificence and indifference.

It’s what you create when no one asks questions about what they’re creating. It’s an accident of angels, a bureaucratic folly and a public shame.

The lawlessness, the fear, the deliberate damage and the neglect ought to be foreign to New Zealand, so why aren’t they?

Drug and alcohol abuse, lack of education, poor health, intergenerational dysfunction and poverty are among the causes. 

The welfare state which was designed to help those in need ought to have prevented some of that but it too has contributed to the problem.

Welfare doens’t cause problems when it’s short-term assistance for people temporarily in need. It’s not a problem when it’s long term assistance for those who will never be able to help themselves.

But it creates problems when it gives long term assistance for people who ought to be able to look after themselves and can’t or won’t. By giving without expecting anything in return it creates a culture of dependency, and a dislocation from society.

The benefit system gives people the right to other people’s money without making them responsible for using it wisely. Those who give that money – the businesses and workers who pay the taxes from which benefits come- have responsbilities and if they don’t meet them they face consequences, which could include losing their jobs.

Cutting benefits in part or altogether would cause more problems, especially for families where children would suffer. But the opposite extreme of allowing people to languish on welfare indefinitely and opt out of society while doing so isn’t working either.

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between. It won’t be simple and it won’t be cheap but not finding it will be more expensive in human and financial terms than pretending South Auckland’s a foreign land whose problems aren’t ours.

Maori making history


The ODT’s headline Maori Making History  comes from a quote by the new Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rahui Katene.

She was referring to the deal negotiated between the party and Prime Minister elect, John Key. Details haven’t been amde public yet but it’s thought the party will get two ministerial positions outside cabinet in return for giving confidence and supply to National.

This is good news and the story itself might be making history too. I don’t recall ever seeing an ODT front page lead quoting the former MP for Te Tai Tonga, Labour’s Mahora Okeroa, so the new MP is already achieving something her predecessor didn’t. 

The arrangement hasn’t pleased new labour leader Phil Goff but Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia isn’t impressed by that:

Ms Turia said Mr Goff’s comments were “bloody patronising behaviour” and he was “scaremongering” to try to derail the process.

“He’s trying, once more, to frighten our people into saying we should sit with Labour. Well, Labour didn’t even invite us to sit with them in the last government and our people are sick and tired of being told what to do.

“He should stick with re-building the Labour Party instead of trying to dismantle others.”

Ms Turia said there was a strong feeling that “red or blue” it was critical to have a Maori voice in government.

That voice will be stronger if it’s not wedded to either left or right.

But we must remember while there may be issues and beliefs many, perhaps most, Maori have in common, there can rarely if ever be a single voice for a group of people. And we’ll really be making history when there are a wide variety of Maori voices coming from within all parties and they don’t need a separate vehicle to ensure it’s heard.

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