Hone Harawira

The ‘moments of zen’ in the election

Paul Thomas analyses the election and the “moments of zen”.

The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart’s signature sign-off is “Your moment of Zen”: a clip of a public figure making a goose of themselves through tone deafness, crassness, vehement ignorance, random imbecility or unconscious irony.

If Stewart had taken notice of our election, he would’ve had more moments of Zen than you could shake a stick at. After a rigorous process of elimination, I’ve chosen a top three.

Third was Internet-Mana party co-leader Laila Harre commiserating with the people of Te Tai Tokerau over the loss of their sitting MP and her co-leader Hone Harawira. Before her next political incarnation Harre might care to familiarise herself with the workings of democracy: the people she was consoling for being deprived of Harawira were the very people who gave him the broom.

Second was Labour leader David Cunliffe’s concession speech in which he did a passable impersonation of a man who’d just won an election. If his year-long impersonation of a leader of the opposition had been half as convincing, neither he nor Labour would be in the dark place they are now.

His shout-out to his staff and Labour’s campaign team was a riot of superlatives – “amazing”, “incredible”, “fantastic” – which raised the question: how catastrophically badly would Cunliffe and Labour have done if he’d surrounded himself with mediocrities?

Number one was Harawira’s comment, early on in the evening, that the people of his electorate “don’t like being ganged up on”. The general reaction to interlopers trying to influence the outcome in Te Tai Tokerau, he said, was “why don’t you guys piss off and leave us to make our own decisions?”.

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Did Hone throw TTT?

Plausible

There is some speculation that Hone Harawira threw Te Tai Tokerau.

It seems, on the surface a strange accusation to level against the man, but it has been a persistent theme this past week.

I decided to think this one through and I’ve come to the conclusion, in Mythbusters style, that the supposition is at least plausible.

Let’s look at some provable facts.

  1. Hone Harawira did a bunk for at least a week during the campaign.
    There were reports of him being in Australia and other parts of NZ. Irrespective of those rumours he was certainly absent from campaign duties for a considerable amount of time.
  2. There  were several fallings out amongst the leadership, the most notable being over legalisation of cannabis
  3. The deal to merge the parties was stitched together by Laila Harre, Gerard Hehir and Matt McCarten and presented to hone Harawira as a fait accompli. He had no input into the process or decision.
  4. It was only the offer of funding that swayed Hone Harawira to accept the merger.
  5. Hone’s wife was against the merger of the Internet party and the Mana party, despite the money.
  6. Hone Harawira didn’t speak at the campaign launch and was barely noticed after Dotcom boasted of hacking and Pam Corkery went feral on the media as Kim Dotcom did a runner out the back way.
  7. The whole concept was really a plan to resurrect the Alliance.

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Another crisis solved – Northland going gangbusters

The Labour party campaigned saying that the provinces were suffering under National, that they were in crisis, and as is usual once Labour declares a crisis the problem is promptly solved.

Northland is already benefitting from chucking Hone Harawira under the bus.

Small businesses in Northland are tracking some of the most significant growth in the country, as national revenue growth hits its highest level in five years.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor shows 38 per cent of small and medium enterprises in Northland increased their revenue in the 12 months to August, putting them on a par with growth in Auckland.

Northland had suffered in the survey during the past five years but the region is now one of two expected to experience the highest levels of growth in the coming year.

Nearly half of local businesses are expected to increase their revenue, with just 4 per cent forecast to lose revenue.   Read more »

“30 pieces” Harawira faces up to life without a taxpayer trough

Voters in Te Tai Tokerau are starting to reflect on Hone’s future

Hine Te Waipuna Popata, a kaiako at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Pukemiro in Kaitaia, was saddened to see Mr Harawira lose but believed he could still be effective outside of Parliament.

She said Mr Harawira had helped to establish a kai programme at the school, which has a roll of 120 pupils.

Ritihia Kereopa, who was at the alcohol-free, child-friendly party for Mr Harawira on election night, said his loss “still hasn’t sunk in yet”.

“If anything it’s a dull feeling because we would always see Papa Hone on TV and always expected him to stay there. But we know Papa Hone, he’s brave and he fights those issues that are hard issues, that’s why I admire him.”

There is no doubt that he has been a staunch advocate for far north constituents.  Where it’s come unstuck is that Te Tai Tokerau is a little more than Kaitaia and environs.   Read more »

Hone Harawira happy with his choices

Feel like having your gob smacked?  Well, this is the story to do it.  Hone is comfortable with his choices around the Mana / Dotcom / Internet Party debacle.

… last night [Hone] told Campbell Live he wasn’t yet ready to say whether he had any regrets about tying his fortunes to Dotcom – a move that was widely regarded as having cost him his seat.

“That too I guess is something that I want to have a longer talk with Laila about and I’ll save those comments until after that. I owe Laila that, I owe Kim that.

“So I’m just holding off on those comments until after I’ve had that korero, that’s the right thing to do. I haven’t had the chance to catch up with Kim and I need to have a korero one on one so I look forward to that.”

He said he hadn’t seen Dotcom’s speech on Saturday in which the controversial internet entrepreneur apologised to him for costing him his seat by associating his “damaged brand” with Mana.

“Honestly, I feel really comfortable about the work that we’ve done and in the end when it became obvious that a whole lot of other parties were just standing against poor little old me, [it] became obvious that we weren’t going to be able to pull that off.”

Little old me?  Spare me.   Read more »

Play or get off the field

As Labour lurches towards utter destruction with David Cunliffe at sixes and sevens there are some out there with good advice.

Lew at Kiwipolitico had this to say about National’s excellence at data-driven campaigns:

I have been criticising Labour, in particular, since at least 2007 on their unwillingness or inability to bring modern data-driven campaign and media strategy to bear in their campaigns — effectively, to embrace The Game and play it to win, rather than regarding it as a regrettable impediment to some pure and glorious ideological victory. Mostly the responses I get from the faithful fall under one or more of the following:

  • National has inherent advantages because the evil old MSM is biased
  • the polls are biased because landlines or something
  • the inherent nature of modern neoliberal society is biased
  • people have a cognitive bias towards the right’s messaging because Maslow
  • it inevitably leads to populist pandering and the death of principle
  • The Game itself devours the immortal soul of anyone who plays ( which forms a handy way to demonise anyone who does play)

But data is not a Ring of Power that puts its users in thrall to the Dark Lord. And, unlike the One Ring, it can’t be thrown into a volcano and the world saved from its pernicious influence. Evidence and strategy are here to stay. Use them, or you’re going to get used. The techniques available to David Farrar and the National party are not magic. They are available to anyone. Whether Labour has poor data or whether they use it poorly I do not know. It looks similar from the outside, and I have heard both from people who ought to know. But it doesn’t really matter. Data is only as good as what you do with it. Whatever they’re doing with it isn’t good enough.

The best example from this campaign isn’t Labour, however — it’s Kim Dotcom. He said on election night that it was only in the past two weeks that he realised how tainted his brand was. He threw $4.5 million at the Internet MANA campaign and it polled less than the Māori Party, who had the same number of incumbent candidates and a tiny fraction of the money and expertise. Had he thought to spend $30,000 on market research* asking questions like those asked by Curia about what New Zealanders think of Kim Dotcom, he could have saved himself the rest of the money, and saved Hone Harawira his seat, Laila Harré her political credibility, and the wider left a severe beating.

That is effective use of data: not asking questions to tell you what you want to hear, but to tell you what you need to know. This electoral bloodletting is an opportunity for the NZ political left to become reality-adjacent, and we can only hope they take it. Because if they don’t, reality is just going to keep winning.

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Trotter on the bull-fight that was Election 2014

shutterstock_102875750

Chris Trotter has now commented in writing about the election result.

He summarises:

Overall, the image presented to the electorate was one of John Key as the embattled matador. Alone in the arena, he faced charge after charge from a seemingly never-ending succession of bulls. But with every twirl of his cape and flash of his sword the pile of dispatched cattle-beasts grew higher. The crowd cheered. The roses rained down. “Bravo!” shouted 48 percent of New Zealand. “Three more years!”   Read more »

Face of the day

Hone Harawira

Hone Harawira

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit: SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

“All steam and no hangi”

Kelvin Davis understand politics.  No sympathy.

New Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis has dubbed Internet-Mana “all steam and no hangi” after it failed to deliver on the hype on election day.

Leader Hone Harawira was ousted and Internet-Mana polled just 1.26 per cent, in spite of internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom’s hefty financial backing, last week’s Moment of Truth and a highly publicised national road show to try and drum up support.

“There was a lot of promises, a lot of hope and excitement but it was all steam and no hangi,” Davis said of Internet-Mana.

It was a case of fourth time lucky for Davis who reversed Harawira’s 2011 majority of more than 1100 votes.

Watching the votes come in had been an emotional experience, he said.

“I was ready to go home at about 7.30, he was 300 [votes] ahead of me and I thought ‘Oh shit here we go again’… and then someone said you’re down to 290 and you go ‘Oh okay, it must’ve been the local town I live in’s booth coming in’ and then the next one was down to 260 or something and then it just started dropping and everyone got bloody excited.

‘‘ Then they said ‘Kelvin, you’re ahead’ and then the gap kept going for me.

“It was good to watch I have to say. It was exciting.”

At WO HQ we were watching the TTT result real time and graphing it as we went.  All the early votes went to Hone.  Al the votes from the 20th went to Kelvin.    Read more »