Green co-leader didn’t deliver the speech she’d prepared to deliver at the Ratana celebrations but she got the publicity she was seeking from it anyway:
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei launched a stinging attack on John Key in his absence at Ratana today, saying his view of New Zealand’s history was “warped, outrageous and deeply offensive”.
She also said Mr Key was a prime example of the “ignorant, uneducated Pakeha” economist Gareth Morgan had talked about the day before. . .
Ratana elders usually frown upon using the occasion for a political speech, but Ms Turei was unrepentant.
“This is a political event. We need to come here and front up to Maori about our Maori policy, our Treaty policy and explain ourselves. And that’s what I’m doing.”
She said Mr Key had to be taken to task for a “disgraceful way to describe New Zealand’s history”. . .
The Prime Minister wasn’t there but his deputy was:
Mr English said the Greens were “nasty” on occasion and it didn’t serve them well.
“John Key has developed a very positive relationship with Maori even though there isn’t very strong political support among Maori for National. He has focused on a lot of areas they want him to focus on. So I don’t think the audience will be too impressed by it.” . . .
Nor would those member of the Green Party who take their values, which include engaging respectfully without personal attacks, seriously.
However, neither the people at Ratana nor Green members were her intended audience.
She was dog whistling to Mana voters.
The chances of Mana returning to parliament now the party doesn’t have an MP are very slight. Turei’s outburst looks like an attempt to gain its supporters’ attention.
If that’s the strategy it’s a risky one.
Anything aimed at voters from the radical Maori left of the spectrum are likely to scare away more moderate voters towards the centre and make the idea of a Labour-Green government less attractive to both Labour and many of its supporters.
Meanwhile, the Deputy PM showed better manners and a more positive outlook:
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English spoke for National, beginning by acknowledging the iwi leaders at the event and the work of the prophet. The Finance Minister got some laughs when he added that he was also interested in another type of ‘prophet’ – “profit. The one we can tax.”
Mr English also spoke about the privilege he had to be involved in Treaty settlements. He acknowledged Dame Tariana Turia, who was sitting on the paepae, saying he would miss being nagged by her. He said he would also take care of ‘your baby, Whanau Ora.”
He also referred to the relationship with the Maori Party and Maori voters’ preference for Labour.
“They’re not waiting for the government you want – they’re working with the Government you’ve got.”
He said there had been gains under that.
“We’re a long way forward.”
He also nodded at Ratana’s allegiance to Labour. “There’s been discussion about how Ratana votes, we’ll get to that in three years’ time, because there’s young Maori there who need us next week.”
While the Green Party is seeking headlines in opposition National is working with the Maori Party, and other coalition partners, to make a positive difference for all New Zealanders.