The Maori party is learning that politics requires compromise.
The Marine and Coastal Area Bill which seeks to replace the Foreshore and Seabd Act doesn’t go far enough for some.
“We got to the stage where we can discuss the issues rationally, with some leaning one way and some the other way, and I think we really got to the point where everyone had a better understanding of what government is, and what our role is in there – which is the most important thing,” he told NZPA. . .
Dr Sharples said the party had to make concessions to get this far and people were starting to understand that.
I think they will understand now – if the party votes for it to go ahead – that we have made it very clear that we didn’t get what we really wanted, and what we did get was better than 2004.”
“We are trying to teach everyone that this is kawanatanga, this is government and these are their rules of operation, and if you want to gain some wins you work within those rules and get the wins you can.”
In politics, and life, you can’t always get everything you want but it’s usually better to accept something than walk away with nothing.
Update: A speech by Tariana Turia gives a similar message:
In the end, I think it is a really important consideration for us to think about: do we want to part of that political process or not because we know that in Parliament, everything is about votes and you win or lose on the vote that is taken on any one day.
The difficulty for us, we have five votes and if we can’t garner enough to get 63 votes it becomes very difficult on any issue on any one day in that environment.
But I don’t want you to think that we sit there and we roll over on these issues, we do not. We do not, and we never have. . .
. . . But I do want you to know that while we may do things in Parliament that you don’t approve of, I can promise you that we listen to what you say, and that we advocate what you say and there are times when we lose. And that’s our reality.
Now we can either decide that that is not good enough and shouldn’t be there and we shouldn’t be participating or we should be in opposition basically just throwing stones at whoever the Government is.
Well I have got much longer in my life actually and I’ve had my days of sitting on opposition benches moaning about everything and getting nowhere. . .
National didn’t have to invite the Maori Party into coalition and the party didn’t have to accept. But the government is stronger and the Maori Party has achieved more because it is part of the government not the opposition.
Update: Pita Sharples also told the party to put health before the beaches:
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has urged rank and file members to put policy wins in health, education and welfare ahead of damaging splits over the foreshore and seabed as opposition to the planned law change gathers momentum.
In an extraordinary departure from accepted doctrine in the political movement born from protests against Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act, Dr Sharples said claims to coastal land were not as important as other matters the party was pursuing.
“For many of my friends, they don’t even know what’s going on with the foreshore and seabed,” he told the party’s annual meeting in Hastings at the weekend.
“But they know what’s going on at home when they’re hungry. They know what’s going on at home when they haven’t got jobs.
“They know when they see their children not reading well, compared to the other children around them.
“These are the sort of things that our people are dealing with day to day, and that’s why I really would like us to think why are we in Parliament.”
Roarprawn also blogs on this.