Maori party delusions | The Jackal

13 Jul 2014

Maori party delusions

It's been interesting to watch the Maori party's campaigning on social media lately. The gist of which is that they're proclaiming their association with the National party is some sort of huge success for Māori.

Unfortunately the statistics don't lie, with Māori unemployment increasing by 75% since 2008, more inequality and poverty which disproportionately effects Māori and extremely high incarceration rates just to mention a few of the ways the current government including the Maori party is failing Māori people.

None of that seems to register with the Maori party though, with Stuff reporting yesterday:

Party aims for all seven Maori seats

The Maori Party has launched its election campaign with farewells to its founders, an injection of new blood and by outlining its ambition to win all seven Maori seats.

The Maori party, which is polling at or below 1%, thinks it can win 7 seats? That's not just optimistic, it's downright delusional! This is especially the case when you consider the backbone to the Maori party is leaving and likely taking much of their support with them.

Both Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are resigning, which will leave the more right leaning Te Ururoa Flavell in charge. There's no guarantee that Flavell will keep his seat either, with Mana party candidate Annette Sykes only needing to win 5.3% of the vote from the sitting MP to secure a place in parliament.

Personally I would rate Annette Sykes' leadership skills and ability to do the right thing for Maori and Aotearoa in general over Flavell's any day of the week. He is by far the weaker candidate and should by all accounts lose his seat.

If that happens and the Maori party fail to get above the 5% party vote threshold, which seems inevitable, they won't be around after the September 2014 election. So what is the Maori party to do?

The party revealed it would campaign on policies including lifting the minimum wage to the living wage of $18.80, extending free doctors visits to children up to 18 and free public transport for all low income whānau, children aged 18 years and under, and students.

It also wants to invest in trades training, train teachers to better understand cultural needs and help low income families into homes.

The problem for the Maori party is that National will spit their lollies out as soon as they get a chance. By promoting such policy, the Māori party is basically saying they can no longer work with National; otherwise such policy is just a pretense to try and gain support.

The Maori party is basically copying Labour, Green and Mana party policy in the hope that the Māori electorates won't associate the current dysfunctional system with their failed administration. The Maori party sitting at the table so to speak has in reality changed very little.

While trying to promote themselves with a new found social conscience might trick a few voters, the increased hardship and numerous broken promises Māori people have had to endure under a right wing regime the Maori party has propped up will be a lot harder to forget.

The policies were revealed at the launch of the party’s election campaign in Rotorua tonight, an event which doubled as a celebration of the party’s tenth birthday.

The party put on an upbeat face, buoyed by the new faces, and defiantly rejected claims it was facing ruin in September’s election.

Being that Flavell's leadership will mean the Maori party is even more right wing than ever before, it seems that such policy announcements should be viewed for what they truly are, meaningless electioneering.

In light of this, it would be a surprise if the Maori party can even retain Waiariki, let alone win all 7 Maori seats. But I guess we will just have to wait and see how the cookie crumbles.