Word of the day


Mana – (Maori) prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma; an impersonal force or quality that resides in people; supernatural force believed to dwell in a person or sacred object.

Some words don’t translate exactly from one language to another. My understanding is that mana means more than any of the English words in isolation.

Nats, Maori Party have relationship Accord and C&S agreement


The National and Maori Parties have reached a Relationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement.

This agreement differs from those signed with the United Future and ACT parties in that while the Maori Party will support the National-led Government on confidence and supply, it is not required to vote for legislation required to give effect to the policies in National’s Post-Election Action Plan.

“This is a policy-based agreement and features a number of areas where both parties agree to work together,” says Mr Key.

“On everything else besides confidence and supply, the Maori Party will decide support or not on a case-by-case basis.”

This gives the government three extra votes on confidence and supply measures and allows the Maori Party more freedom to support or oppose other government policies as it chooses.

In return co-leaders get ministerial appointments outside cabinet:

Maori Party Co-Leader Dr Pita Sharples will be appointed to the positions of Minister of Maori Affairs, Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Corrections.  These Ministerial positions will be outside Cabinet.

Maori Party Co-Leader Tariana Turia will be appointed to the positions of Minister responsible for Whānau Ora, Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister of Health, and Associate Minister of Housing.  She will also continue to have Associate Ministerial responsibilities in the areas of Social Development and Employment.  These Ministerial positions will be outside Cabinet.

National invited the Maori Party into government three years ago when he didn’t need their votes to govern. That gave the party the mana which had been denied it by Labour which left it in opposition. It also allowed the party to get some concessions – among which was the agreement by National to not abolish the Maori seats – and policy gains.

The coalition agreements with Act and United Future means National doesn’t need the Maori Party to govern this term either. But again John Key has opened the door and the party has sensibly decided to come in and make some policy gains rather than languishing in opposition where it would achieve little or nothing.

The agreement is here.



A woeful 4/10 in the Herald’s world news quiz.

Order of Australia for Mike Moore


Mike Moore, New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, has been awarded the Order of Australia.

A statement from Government House in Canberra said Moore received the honour “for services to the South Australian Government by developing initiatives in economic reform and for services to the education sector.”

His CV includes his role as an adjunct professor at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, the University of Adelaide and Carnegie Mellon University in Adelaide.

He already holds our highest honour, the Order of New Zealand and has been recognised by other countries:

 • Commemoration Medal 1990 • Commander of the Order of the Equatorial Star (Commandeur de l’Ordre de Laetrile Equatoriale)  – Government of Gabon • National Order of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) (l’Ordre National de Cote d’Ivoire en Qualite de Commandeur) • Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya • Order of Duke Branimir with Ribbon – Republic of Croatia • National Honour of Georgia – Government of Georgia • The Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay – Government of Uruguay– highest national honour • Pope John Paul II Annual Medal – The Holy See.

If I knew about his service to education I’d forgotten it, but I  admire his commitment to and work for free trade.

He is an example of a politician who has achieved more for New Zealand and the rest of the world through his international work than he could have had he stayed involved in national politics.

In doing so he has gained cross-party support and appreciation at home and well deserved recognition abroad.

Disabled doesn’t mean stupid


Mojo Mathers’ entry to parliament should be something to celebrate.

Her profound deafness will make her a very strong advocate for people with disabilities and inspire other people.

Sadly not everyone shares this view. Dave at Big News has been looking at the Facebook page of Conservative Party campaign manager Kevin Campbell and found this:

Campbell questioned whether new Green MP Mojo Mathers, who is the world’s fifth profoundly deaf MP, should even be an MP as she didn’t have all her “faculties” – and only people who have all their faculties should be MPs. In other words, because she is deaf, she is unsuitable as an MP. Mathers became an MP after special votes were counted and I think she is perfectly suitable to be an effective MP.
I was one of many who pulled him up on this. Just after I did this, my comment was deleted, I was defriended, and Campbell changed his profile picture. He has now taken the post and all its 30 -odd comments down after he reiterated that there was nothing wrong with what he said, adding that because Mathers was also a Green MP she, by definition can’t be effective.

Having a physical disability doesn’t affect your intellectual ability, though Campbell shows that not having a disability doesn’t stop you being ignorant.

I don’t share Mathers’ political views. It is certainly easier to make progress in government than opposition but being a Green MP by definition make her ineffective.

Being deaf will present challenges but it won’t stop Mathers being effective and it could make her even more so in some areas.

Tweaking MMP won’t be easy


Proponents of MMP say the system needs tweaking to make it better fit New Zealand.

That won’t be easy.

A spokesperson for the Keep MMP campaign, Sandra Grey, says one of the main issues that should be looked at is the ability for candidates to stand for both a party list and an electorate.

One of the biggest issues people have with the system is the ability for someone who has been rejected by an electorate to remain in parliament on the list.

Changing that would have very little impact on the wee parties when few of them win electorates but it would have a major impact on National and Labour and would worsen the perception we have two classes of MP.

Kate Wilkinson and Nicky Wagner didn’t need to win seats, they would have been in parliament on the list. But they are justifiably delighted at winning their electorates, Waimakariri and Christchurch Central for several reasons, one of which is that they have a mandate from the people rather than just being in parliament at the pleasure of the party.

They were already hard working and effective MPs, they wouldn’t have won their seats had they not been. That won’t change but the perception of their role will because even after 15 years with MMP, being an electorate MP is still regarded as being better than a list MP.

That perception would worsen if there were no dual candidacies.

If candidates could stand in only an electorate or for the list the wee parties wouldn’t have candidates in any seats unless they came to an arrangement with one or other of the bigger ones, as has happened in Epsom and Ohariu.

The bigger parties would find it much harder to get candidates to stand in marginal or unwinnable seats if it meant there was no possibility of entering, or staying in, parliament on the list.

It could also make list MPs more removed from a wide cross section of people. Electorate MPs and those who hope to win electorates can’t pick and choose who they serve. List MPs, knowing they weren’t ever going to have to contest an electorate, could work only with those who were likely to support their parties.

The two seats I’ve mentioned were won by National list MPs, Waitakere has been won by  a Labour list MP.  The people in these seats have had two advocates rather than one. They might still have a buddy list MP, if people could stand only for an electorate or the list, but the motivation for the buddies wouldn’t be as great as it is for those who know they will be trying to win not only party votes but the seat as well.

Without the protection of a list place, MPs might forget that while they represent and must advocate for their constituents, they are also in parliament for the good of the whole country.

Lindsay Mitchell argues that Paula Bennett should wear the loss of Waitakere as a badge of honour:

Sue Bradford stood for Mana in Waitakare to play up welfare hysteria. Carmel Sepuloni was the feasible Labour candidate able to represent the anxieties Bradford stirred. Labour also did some shitty things to stir up fear and paranoia among beneficiaries. In the face of these two influences it is hardly surprising that a welfare-reforming Minister half serious about the job would lose electorate votes.

Paula’s achievements as a Minister might well have cost her the seat, although with only an 11 vote loss that is not yet certain, but as a list MP she will still be in parliament working so that welfare, as Lindsay says is:

the safety net it once was rather than the career (too respectable a word) choice it has become.

Paula has first hand experience of life on a benefit. She knows it’s hard but she also knows it’s possible to get off it. Parliament is a better place for having people with her life experience in it, it would be worse if losing an electorate cut her career short.

Another factor, unlikely to win much sympathy from the wider public, is party control of candidates and MPs.

One reason Labour did so badly this election is that most of their candidates gave up campaigning for the party vote and fought old-fashioned FPP campaigns for electorates. If candidates could stand only in a seat or on the list that would happen every election.  People like a bit of independence from MPs but most also punish parties for disunity and disloyalty and there would be a lot more of that if candidates had to opt for either an electorate or the list.

I understand why people who reject MPs in electorates find the party votes of the rest of the country keep them in parliament but under MMP its the party vote that counts.

Tweaking the system won’t change that and any tweaks that reinforce the distinction between list and electorate MPs would make the MMP worse.

How many voted where


Prime Minister John Key won the biggest number of electorate votes in the election, gaining  26,011 of the 36,007  cast in Helensville.

Rino Tirikatene won the won a seat with the fewest votes – just   6,786  of the 17,897.

None of the Maori Electorates had good turnouts – the best was 20,255  in Te Tai Tokerau. That could be used to argue the seats have had passed their best-by date.

The lowest turn out in a general seat was  25,525 in Mangere.

The number of votes counted in each electorate and votes gained by winning candidate were:

Auckland Central: 34,370 – Nikki Kaye –  15,038.

Bay of Plenty: 36,403 – Tony Ryall –   23,710.

Botany: 29,272 – Jami-Lee Ross –  17,780.

Christchurch Central: 28,263 – Nicky Wagner –  12,064.

Christchurch East: 28,977 – Lianne Dalziel –  15,559.

Clutha-Southland: 32,040 – Bill English – 21,375

Coromandel: 34,850 –  Scott Simpson – 18,571

Dunedin North: 30,155 – David Clark – 12,976

Dunedin South: 35,569 – Clare Curran – 16,844

East Coast: 29,976 – Anne Tolley – 14,003

East Coast Bays:  33,695 – Murray McCully – 21,094

Epsom: 36,929 – John Banks  -15,835

Hamilton East: 33,566 – David Bennett – 18,505

Hamilton West: 32,335 – Tim Macindoe – 16,587 

Helensville: 36,007  – John Key –  26,011

Hunua: 35,615 – Paul Hutchison – 22,563

Hutt South: 33,180 – Trevor Mallard – 15,828 

Ilam: 34,365 – Gerry Brownlee –  20,070

Invercargill: 32,679 – Eric Roy – 17,275

Kaikōura : 34,412 – Colin King 19,961

Mana: 34,800 – Kris Faafoi – 16,323

Māngere: 25,525 –  Sua Sio – 18,177

Manukau East: 27,484 Ross Robertson – 19,399 

Manurewa:  25,688 Louisa Wall 14,961

Maungakiekie: 34,114 Sam Lotu-Iiga – 16,189

Mt Albert 33,271 – David Shearer – 18,716

Mt Roskill: 32,719 – Phil Goff – 17,906

Napier: 34,228  – Chris Tremain – 17,337

Nelson: 35,517-  Nick Smith  -18,360

New Lynn: 33,980 David Cunliffe – 16,999

New Plymouth: 34,167  – Jonathan Young  – 17,644

North Shore: 37,355 Maggie Barry – 22,709

Northcote: 33,203 – Jonathan Coleman – 18,908

Northland: 32,973 – Mike Sabin – 18,188

Ōhariu: 37,965 – Peter Dunne  – 14,357

Ōtaki: 37,925 –  Nathan Guy – 19,151

Pakuranga: 32,797 – Maurice Williamson – 20,694

Palmerston North: 33,268 – Ian Lees Galloway -16,525

Papakura: 31,871 – Judith Collins – 18,096

Port Hills: 33,484 – Ruth Dyson – 15,737

Rangitata: 36,282 – Jo Goodhew  – 19,580

Rangitīkei: 32,094 – Ian McKelvie – 18,284

Rimutaka: 34,573 – Chris Hipkins – 17,171

Rodney: 38,820 – Mark Mitchell – 20,253

Rongotai: 37,181 – Annette King 18,179

Rotorua: 31,824 – Todd McClay – 17,188

Selwyn: 37,043 – Amy Adams – 24,963

Tāmaki: 38,037 – Simon O’Connor – 24,837

Taranaki-King Country: 31,289 – Shane Ardern – 20,842

Taupō: 33,986 – Louise Upston – 20,934

Tauranga: 36,903 – Simon Bridges – 21,971

Te Atatū: 31,191 – Phil Twyford 15,860

Tukituki: 34,323 Craig Foss -19,378

Waikato:31,765 – Lindsay Tisch – 19,817

Waimakariri: 36,313 Kate Wilkinson – 16,787

Wairarapa: 35,315 – John Hayes – 17,881

Waitakere: 31,420 Carmel Sepuloni – 13,468

Waitaki: 38,879 – Jacqui Dean 23,219

Wellington Central: 39,525 – Grant Robertson – 18,836

West Coast-Tasman: 34,054 – Damien O’Connor – 15,753

Whanganui: 32,093 – Chester Burrows – 16,743

Whangarei: 34,799 – Phil  Heatley – 20,049

Wigram: 32,535 – Megan Woods – 14,080

Hauraki-Waikato: 18,329 Nanaia Mahuta 9,751

Ikaroa-Rāwhiti: 18,732 Parekura Horomia 10,558

Tāmaki Makaurau: 18,975 Pita Sharples – 7,120

Te Tai Hauāuru: 18,640 – Tariana Turia – 8,433

Te Tai Tokerau: 20,255 – Hone Harawria – 8,121

Te Tai Tonga: 17,897 – Rino Tirikatene – 6,786

Waiariki: 19,272 – Te Ururoa Flavell –  7,651

December 11 in history


969 – Byzatine Emperor Nikephoros II was assassinated by his wife Theofano and her lover, the later Emperor John I Tzimiskes.

1282 Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, was killed at Cilmeri.

1789 The University of North Carolina was chartered.

1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France was put on trial for treason by the National Convention.

1890  Carlos Gardel, tango singer was born  (d. 1935).

1904  Marge, American cartoonist, was born (d. 1993).

1907 Fire swept through Parliament Buildings destroying Bellamy’s restaurant but missing the library.

Parliament's library escapes great fire

1917 Lithuania declared its independence from Russia.

1918  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and Soviet dissident, Nobel laureate, was born (d 2008).

1931 The Statute of Westminster was passed granting complete autonomy to Britain’s six Dominions. It established legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa.

Statute of Westminster passed

1936  Edward VIII‘s abdication as King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India became effective.

1940 David Gates, American musician (Bread), was born.

1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour. The United States, in turn, declared war on Germany and Italy.

1942 – Donna Mills, American actress, was born.

1943  John Kerry, American politician, was born.

1944 Brenda Lee, American singer, was born.

1946 The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

1954  Jermaine Jackson, American singer (Jackson 5), was born.

1958  French Upper Volta gained self-government from France, and became the Republic of Upper Volta.

1972  Apollo 17 became the sixth Apollo mission to land on the Moon.

1997  The Kyoto Protocol opened for signature.

2005 Cronulla riots: Thousands of White Australians demonstrated against ethnic violence resulting in a riot against anyone thought to be Lebanesen (and many who were not) in Cronulla Sydney.

2008 Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

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