National never does well in Maori seats but the Mana Party’s new candidate in Tamaki Makaurau is a John Key fan.
Kereama Pene, a Ratana minister who last year described Key as a brilliant speaker added more praise for Key and the National Party yesterday:
“We’re in a recession right now, and I’ve got to think like the rest of the country that he has done a pretty good job.”
Asked what Mana leader Hone Harawira would think of his view, given that he had walked away from the Maori Party because of his dislike of National, Mr Pene said: “National is actually the group that have done most of the great things for Maoridom over the last 20 years. You’ve got to give praise where it’s due.”
He said the Treaty settlements process, the Waitangi Tribunal and kohanga reo were all implemented under National.
He is quite right about that – National governments have done a lot to help Maori and this one has worked far better with the Maori Party.
Labour, under Helen Clark, said the Maori Party was the last cab off the rank for coalition negotiations. National opened the door to the Maori Party although it didn’t need its support to govern.
The National Party also has a far better record than Labour of selecting Maori candidates in general electorates.
The latest Marae Digipoll shows National support in Maori electorates, while still low, is increasing. Support from Maori in general electorates is almost twice as high as among those on the general roll.
That is likely to continue as more Maori realise they are better off being independent rather than looking to the government to solve their problems.