Thursday, October 13, 2005

Winston wins this hand

The Maori Party promised us a new sort of politics.

Now we find it's not politics at all, but some kind of therapy as co-leader Tariana Turia works through her antipathy towards Labour.

Turia's courting of Don Brash and United's Peter Dunne, for what reason it is hard to fathom, seems to have pushed Labour to give more to Winston Peters and NZ First than it might have needed to if the Maori Party had stayed in the game.

The Christchurch Press reports that in exchange for guaranteeing confidence and supply, Peters is asking for an increase in the pension and the minimum wage, free doctor's visits for the under-sixes, a review of all Treaty of Waitangi clauses in legislation and a commitment not to repeal the foreshore and seabed legislation.
The Maori Party wants more Treaty. NZ First wants less. Guess who will be at the table.

More alarming for the Maori Party's strategic ambitions is the Maori option. After each census, Maori voters are given the chance to switch between the Maori and the general electoral rolls. An increase in the Maori roll will lead to more Maori seats for the Maori Party to contest.

The census will be held on March 7. The option will be held later in the year. If the numbers go up, boundaries will need to be redrawn. This all takes time. A stable government which lasts the maximum term is in the Maori Party's best interest - and allowing Winston Peters to have his hand on the switch that can turn this government off is the last thing it should want.


Blogger t selwyn said...

Adam: You keep assuming that it's all Turia's fault or doing. Quite apart from the fact that not enough information is out there to make concrete calls, the negotiations are not over yet.

Labour has not talked on any matters of detail with MP - that's what I understand from what Sharples said the other day. If true then MP have no option but to talk to others. It is their duty to do so. Sucking up to Labour has got them precisely no-where to date and is why they exist.

If they are driving them into the arms of NZ First - then isn't that good? - because if they fuck that up and end up getting off-side with Peters (like they did last time in '96) then going back to the MP is the only viable option left. And I mean left in both senses.

Are you a Labour Party member or supporter? Your stance on the Maori Party (in relation to Labour) suggests you may be.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

T Selwyn - I'm assuming for the moment Turia is the dominant player becasue of her previous experience in the parliamentary sphere and the force of her personality. I have known her almost 20 years, so that is not something I would underestimate.
It's a dangerous game all parties are playing, but in the case of the Maori Party, its members think there are two options - sitting on the fence (essentially abstension on motions of confidence and supply) or going for some closer (but not too close) relationship with Labour to pursue specific policy goals.

Turia sees a third option, working with National, and has been open about this all through. I still haven't posted on the flaws in this - give me time.
If Peters pulls the pin, will Labour run to the Maori Party? They'd eat worms first, on current indications.

I am not a member of the Labour Party.

Returning to a pont you made earlier, F&S was not the genesis of the Maori Party, it was the catalyst. What made the Maori Party inevitable was Willie Jackson's deep sixing of Mana Motuhake, which created a vacuum. There is an expectation in the Maori electorate that there will be an independent Maori voice in Parliament, which is why there was so much hope for NZ First in '96.

12:27 PM  

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