Maori Party won’t work with Labour. Winston won’t work with Labour. Hmmm

It is not unreasonable to connect the sudden politicisation of the king’s public statements with the appointment of Tukoroirangi Morgan as Māori Party President last month.

Mr Morgan is a former New Zealand First MP, a close senior advisor to the king and very involved with the iwi leaders forum – so he has considerable influence.

Tukoroirangi Morgan at a Māori Party AGM last month. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson
Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is adamant Mr Morgan did not force the king’s hand, arguing the Kīngitanga has always been a political movement.

Whatever Kiingi Tuheitia’s reasons for speaking off the cuff, he is a man of influence and his comments have broadened Mr Flavell’s already ready smile.

Just days after the speech, Kīngitanga representatives travelled to Wellington to meet with the Māori Party co-leaders.

The Labour Party’s connections with the Rātana movement remains strong with regular meetings, and local MP Adrian Rurawhe being a direct descendant of Church founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, means that relationship is unlikely to falter.

However, Mr Flavell argues Labour was rattled by what the King said, and he says it should be.

Helen Clark’s decicion to run one up the Maoris is still paying dividends.  The real problem is that Labour have arrogantly assumed those votes were theirs and there was absolutely no need to put any kind of effort into them.   That’s not working out so well. 

The Māori Party is cognisant of that, and always labours the point that it is only at the table to get gains for its people, not because of any ideological connection with National.

The party’s leadership has also realised it is big personalities who do well in the Māori seats – so expect the party to shoulder-tap some high-profile names to stand in the other five seats.

Te Ururoa Flavell’s very likeable colleague, Marama Fox, has made her mark as an MP and may be a threat to Labour’s Meka Whaitiri in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti seat in 2017.

In Te Tai Tokerau, Mana leader Hone Harawira has been working solidly around the region and will be hoping to unseat Labour’s Kelvin Davis.

What would help him would be an agreement with the Māori Party not to stand a candidate in the far north, and with Mr Harawira and Tukoroirangi Morgan having already met once, that is a possibility.

The 2017 election is likely to be the closest of the past three and National will be wanting to keep the Māori Party in Parliament, so there could be a few sweeteners for Māori voters in the lead up to next year’s poll.

Prime Minister John Key has previously said his government is a better one for being close to the Māori Party, and he is right.

But it is also important for Parliament and the country as a whole that there is an indigenous political party in Parliament which has as its core kaupapa the rights and welfare of its people.

Other parties may claim to care and protect indigenous rights, but may not do so given they have the wider electorate to consider as well.

A pragmatic Key will be in a coalition government with Hone Harewira.

Labour and the Greens are in the doldrums.  No matter what they try, they will remain toxic and irrelevant.


– Chris Bramwell, RNZ

  • Seriously?

    I don’t think Winston has said he will not work with the left post election (he should come out and confirm that if it is the case). He is usually at pains not to commit one way or the other as he tries to work both sides of the fence.

    • biscuit barrel

      Yes. I thought his stock line is ‘the voters will decide on election day.

      • KGB

        Exactly. His line has always been “I will work with the party who receives the most votes”.
        In reality he will work with the party that offers himself the best perks.

        • Seriously?

          Yes, and he has the gall to say that is because he respects democracy… while at the same time not telling people what it is they would be voting for.

          He has gone both ways in the past (Nats 96-98, Lab 05-08).

          I’m just staggered it doesn’t adversely impact his votes.

    • RoboRob

      You are right. I believe it is assumed he won’t work with Labour becuase he hates the Greens (or just realises they are dangerously mad :) ). However if you listen to question time there certainly appears to be no love lost between Winston and the Nats.

      • Sailor Sam

        No love lost between Winston and John.

  • Big_Al

    Surely a closer affiliation between The Maori Party and National would be beneficial for them. After all, it is better to be on a winning side to help achieve some of their important goals.

  • Allan

    Winston is in Parliament for himself alone. The man has a huge ego and Parliament is the place which provides him with a sense of self importance. The cost of keeping this clown on his ego trip to the taxpayers has been huge with no obvious benefit coming from the expenditure. Another reason for Winston’s desire to remain there is the salary just covers his whiskey and cigarette bill. The man is a waste of space and is just a negative person who provides no benefit to our Parliament. He criticizes constantly but provides no fix. Parliament would be a better place if both Winston and the Green Party left the building. Perhaps then we might get to see things done and the country run properly without the disruptive elements in the place.

    • Jonat

      I still think NZ First with Winston make a more affective opposition than the Labour party. You could argue parliament would be even better off if the Labour party left the building.

    • bilgewater

      Winston being in coalition with national is an better alternative to any other potential partner. Just look at the destructive policies the maori party has imposed on the nation.

    • Jayar

      Very well said! I’m always amazed that Winston is never pressed on some of his previous statements which have failed to materialise – Huka Lodge sale ?

  • peterwn

    I would not rule out John Key and James Shaw having a friendly chat after the election. It would put pressure on Winston Peters to perform in negotiations both time wise and reasonableness of demands. He will not be able to take a few days off after the election as he did in 1966 as he will be in grave risk of missing the bus.

    • oldmanNZ

      Think key would treat jamrs the same as mureia, probably a bit better.

    • MaryLou

      If he did that, Metiria would have kittens. I wonder how a decision is made when the co-leaders vehemently disagree? Maybe just a general popular vote?

      • peterwn

        The offer of a few ministerial posts (James – something meaningful, Metiria – a non-portfolio) will soon focus Metiria’s and Greens’ minds.