Maori Seats too big – Flavell

November 25, 2013

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is concerned about the size of Maori electorates:

The Representation Commission has proposed no changes to the boundaries of the seven Maori electorates, because they are within their population quota.

Mr Flavell says it does not address the ”ridiculous” situation that the Tai Tonga MP is expected to represent over half of the land area of Aotearoa, which spans 18 general electorates.

He says the size of the Maori electorates is a major problem it has discussed with the Electoral Commission and MPs, but says there is no political will to change it.

He’s right about  Te Tai Tonga which covers 161, 443 square kilometres – that’s the whole of the South and Stewart Islands and part of Wellington Region.

But the next biggest seats are general ones. Clutha Southland covers 38,247 sq kms and West Coast Tasman covers 38, 042 sq kms.

Then comes the Maori seat of Te Tai Hauauru at 35, 825 sq kms and  the general seat of  Waitaki  which covers 34,888 sq kms.

Ikaroa-Rawhiti, a Maori seat, covers 30,952 sq kms then another general seat Kaikoura is 23, 706 sq kms.

The next two Maori seats are Waiariki at 19,212 sq kms and Te Tai Tokerau at 16, 370 sq kms. Then comes three general seats – East Coast (13,649); Taranaki-King Country (12, 869) and Northland (12, 255) and the smallest Maori electorate Hauraki-Waikato (12,580).

Mr Flavell says electoral law guarantees there will be at least 16 general electorates in the South Island so each one won’t be too big, and that approach should apply to Maori electorates.

The law actually says there will be 16 South Island seats and two of  those – Clutha Southland and West-Coast Tasman are bigger than all but Te Tai Tonga, Waitaki is bigger than all but that and Te Tai Hauauru ; Kaikoura is bigger than Waiariki and Te Tai Tokerau and the three biggest North island seats East Coast, Taranaki-King Country and Northland are all bigger than Hauraki-Waikato.
Electorate sizes are determined by dividing the South Island population by 16 with a tolerance of 5% over or under that figure.I agree that most Maori seats are too big but so are some of the general ones. MMP gives better representation to parties but bigger electorates provides poorer representation for people.The simplest way to reduce the area electorates cover is to increase the number of seats but that would require more MPs or reduce the number of list seats and so reduce proportionality which is one of MMP’s strengths.Another way to reduce the area MPs have to service is to get rid of Maori electorates and keep the total number of seats we have now. That would add a seat in the South Island and make all electorates a bit smaller but I don’t think that will get any support from Flavell.


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.


Regions grow by taking opportunities

June 29, 2013

The first release of regional GDP data shows that regions which take their opportunities had better growth.

Taranaki, Southland, and the West Coast experienced the largest increases in gross domestic product (GDP) from 2007–10, while Auckland was responsible for over one-third of the country’s economic production, new research from Statistics NZ showed.

Statistics NZ released today GDP for 15 regions across New Zealand.

“This is the first official measure of New Zealand’s regional economies. It covers the 2007 to 2010 period and so provides a useful benchmark for future analysis,” regional statistics manager Peter Gardiner said.

“The increase in economic activity over the period was mainly centred in rural regions, reflecting a strong period for the primary industries. Manufacturing slowed in 2009, contributing less to GDP in urban regions.”

Taranaki’s economy increased 46.9 percent in size over the four years, the largest increase for any region, due to expansion in oil and gas production. Supporting industries such as construction and manufacturing also increased from 2007 to 2010.

The West Coast and Southland economies also increased in size substantially, 23.8 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively. This increase was driven by dairy farming, which lifted the South Island’s overall contribution to national GDP by 0.6 percentage points to 22.3 percent. . .

All the candidates in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election have campaigned against  mineral  exploration.

On mining and balance between jobs and the environment
Meka Whaitiri: Until we have some sound research that says [mining] doesn’t have any environmental impact, I can’t support that.
Marama Davidson: Ban it! Risky off-shore drilling, mining and fracking are all industries we want to get away from. Today we are releasing a package of green jobs for Ikaroa-Rawhiti that don’t ruin our environment.
Na Raihania: I am absolutely opposed to mining and drilling our Mother Earth. And this idea it will provide jobs for everybody is stretching it.
Te Hamua Nikora: As far as mining goes, we say frack off. No thank you.

 

Their region desperately needs better growth and the jobs that come with it but it is the industry which has boosted Taranaki’s growth that they oppose.

Oil and gas production and dairying, which helped Southland and the West Coast, are industries which the Green Party would like to see less of.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the data shows the value of regions exploring all their economic opportunities.

“It shows regions who have taken their economic opportunities, such as Taranaki, Southland and the West Coast, have significantly increased their GDP – despite the effects of the recession and the global financial crisis.

“These are regions that have successfully balanced economic growth and jobs for families in their regions while looking after the environment.” . . .

Many regions have made further progress in the three years since the period covered by the regional GDP data, as New Zealand’s national economy has built momentum on the back of a number of more positive indicators and support from the Government’s economic programme.

“It is my expectation stakeholders will want to use the regional GDP data to compare and contrast the economic fortunes of different regions around the country, and ask themselves what lessons and opportunities there are for growth and jobs in their region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes for New Zealand families better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.”

Opposition to growth opportunities is usually based on fear of environmental consequences and ignorance of what can be done to minimise potential problems.

If we want first world education, health, other services and infrastructure we need first world incomes.

That requires more growth and doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment.


Campaigning with our money again

June 28, 2013

The left haven’t managed to get public funding of political parties but that hasn’t stopped them campaigning with our money.

Whaleoil spotted Labour and Green Party  soliciting votes for their candidates in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election on material which bears the parliamentary crest that signifies it’s been paid for by us.

You’d think they’d have learned from the pledge card rort.

All parties found to have misused funds in the investigation following that had to repay that money and these two parties should be required to repay all money misspent on the by-election too.


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.

 

 

 


Better to know bias

May 23, 2013

Shane Taurima, general manager of TVNZ’s Maori and Pacific Programmes and Q + A interviewer, is seeking to be Labour’s candidate in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.

He  said he wasn’t a member of the party last week which, as Keeping Stock, points out, means he will have to get a special waiver from the party’s ruling council.

The party’s rules allow that, and I would be surprised if other parties don’t have a similar rule.

If they are sensible, it’s not one they’d employ often.

Taurima blames his non-membership on his job:

He said Horomia, who died last month after battling a number of health issues, had spoken to him in the past about entering politics. . .

. . . “Given my career choice and the absolute need to be impartial, apolitical and professional I would politely decline his approaches and he respected me for that. It wasn’t my time back then. I wasn’t ready. But I am ready now.” . . .

The need to be impartial, apolitical and professional in his work is unquestioned. But is that achieved by hiding strong support for a party?

Wouldn’t it be better for someone in his position to be upfront about his political leanings?

Isn’t it better for viewers to know about a bias and be the judge of whether that affects his work than to hide it and have them wondering?


Green Party to contest by-election

May 21, 2013

The Green party has opened nominations for a candidate to contest the Ikaroa Rāwhiti by-election.

The party has only ever won one electorate. that was a general seat and the party didn’t manage to hold that.

The chances of its winning the by-election are slight.

The interest will be in whether it manages to mobilise voters and which party it takes votes from – Labour, the Maori Party or Mana.

 


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