Monday, October 03, 2005

Talking your way out of influence

The Direct Democracy Party got just 717 votes, 0.04% of the total, in the election. That's how much regard the voters of New Zealand have for the notion that once you elect representatives, you stick around to do their job for them.
So why is the Maori Party going out for a series of regional hui before its next step into the world of parliamentary politics?
Sure, they promised to before the election, but it was a dumb idea then and it's an even dumber idea now.
The Maori electorate made it clear the sort of government it wanted, giving 85 percent of its party vote to either Labour, the Maori Party or the Greens. Centre left coalition with respect for the treaty and Maori aspirations please!
With the exception of Tamaki Makaurau, the Maori electorates are geographically huge. This sort of direct democracy exercise will be hugely taxing on the party's resources, human and financial.
And what about the people who can't get to these workday meetings? Do their views not count?
Part of the task of being a party and being an MP is developing formal and informal methods of consultation.
The conference and remit system favoured by the major parties is currently at a low ebb, but it still can serve as a warning to errant policymakers.
The informal method is probably more important in our system, and the evidence is once politicians stop listening to those channels, their support quickly ebbs. The charges of "arrogance" against Labour during the first half of this year and the confused messaging of its campaign were an indication its back channels to voters were in poor repair.
Rather than immerse itself in hui, the Maori Party core should be taking its new age list of governing principles and turning them into a policy agenda for the next 100 days, one year, three years. What is likely to emerge on the political landscape? What select committees do they want to be on? How closely do they want to attempt to work with Labour?
If, as seems reasonably likely, there is a Labour-Jim Anderton-Greens minority Government, a Maori Party commitment on confidence and supply would sideline NZ First and United Future. Taliban Tariana may not be ready for that step just yet, but the party as a whole may need to weigh up whether encouraging a continuing climate of uncertainty is in its best interest.
While the party is huiing, the Greens are consolidating their position and the other minor parties are staking a claim for influence. The Maori Party does not want to consign itself to irrelevance this early in the game.

4 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

Surely you could read the performance of the Direct Democracy Party as evidence that no one is itnerested in the political posturings of neo-nazis like a number of that parties list?

4:04 pm  
Blogger Asher said...

I'm with nick on that comment...

4:56 pm  
Blogger t selwyn said...

A member has told me that Clark can't talk with Tariana - ? as in refuses to communicate. Maybe.

The hui idea is great for a party that has little detail. It's a good bonding and stock-taking time and involves members and is a sign of a more inclusive grass-roots system that is leading by example and putting the kaupapa out there instead of pretending the principles mean nothing and it will all be done behind closed doors. I like the concept. The execution, through your hyperbolic concern, is important to the round of meetings.

I agree they should have more of an agenda. I would like to see a draft on their website of the Bill to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act. That would be the most credible thing to do. Let them know what they're in for - take the initiative. That would be different... un-Pakeha?

It is Clark that is Taliban, she became that when she cried her Hutu death shriek and demolished the Bamiyan of Maori equality with her knee-jerk reaction to the foreshore case. Cue: Xena war cry.

She has to change her attitude. Is that possible?

2:10 am  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

I think Tariana Turia and Dr Sharples are a lot smarter than many jounos, polies and commentators have realised. Clearly they would not be engaged in 'hui-ing' if they did not think there was good reason. However I wonder when they will learn to conduct hui by way of e-mail? Then they will be onto a winner - no cost. You could call it an e-hui. It didn't take Nga Puhi long to adopt muskets, so why not e-mail?

11:18 am  

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