Tariana Turia

Maoridom rises in support of woman basher

It beggars belief that Maori are lining up to support a wife beater.

Dame Tariana Turia will support Chris Brown’s visa application.

The former leader of the Maori Party will write a letter of recommendation to go alongside Brown’s long-awaited application for a special direction visa.

The singer, booked to play Vector Arena in December, is technically barred from entering New Zealand, as he has been banned from other countries.

He will need to apply for a special direction in order to enter the country. That application is still to be received.

Dame Tariana, who has worked to reduce domestic violence for decades, believed Brown would speak on his past while in New Zealand , prompting his young fans to think seriously about domestic violence.

“Give him the opportunity to come and engage our young people, who want him to come.”

She said the millions of dollars spent on family violence awareness did not often get through to youth. An immensely popular star might.

“I think that Chris Brown is someone who young people can relate to. […] I know some young people who number one would love to see him sing but would also love the opportunity to hear his views on this issue.”

Dame Tariana said she was approached about a week ago. She has not talked to Brown himself, but believes that he has atoned.

“I took some time to think about it. I decided it can only be good. I think all of us learn from our behaviours, good and bad. And it is a fact that he committed an offence, one that I feel quite strongly about. However I also believe in forgiveness, in redemption.”

Read more »

Will the Maori Party refuse to do a deal with Labour over Twyford’s attack on the Chinese?

Back in 2008 the Maori Party took a firm line on the halfwitted and racist comments made by Lockwood Smith.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the comments were racist and had Dr Smith not apologised it could have affected the party’s future relationship with National. She does not think he could now be immigration minister.

Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox need to make their views on Twyford’s anti-Chinese racism very, very clear.

No one was in any doubt about what Tariana Turia’s views were, but then Mrs Turia was one of the few politicians who actually stood up for what she believed in at all times.

Mrs Turia told NZPA she thought the remarks were racist.

“It is racist to describe people in such a negative way.”

The size of hands was irrelevant and many employers who hired workers under the scheme had been “really thrilled” with their workers.    Read more »

Winston onto another winner


Winston Peters knows exactly how to hit pressure points – yesterday it was Whanau Ora, and probably some time today he will light up on capital gains tax and filthy foreigners.

Northland MP Winston Peters has labelled Whanau Ora a “grubby and cynical deal between National and the Maori Party,” following a scathing report from the Auditor-General and revelations that much of the money had been spent in Maori Ministers’ home territories.

That was a matter of serious concern, Mr Peters said, given the Prime Minister’s rejection of that fact, which had been contained in the Auditor-General’s report.

Mr Key claimed in Parliament last week that there had been “quite a lot of tightening up” of the scheme, but the Auditor-General had found “absolutely no evidence” that good value had been gained from the $140 million spent so far.

“The simple truth is, Whanau Ora is a politically motivated scheme that is squandering public money,” Mr Peters said.

“Mr Key unsuccessfully defended the preferential treatment of his Cabinet Ministers by suggesting a start had to made in some place. This was an undignified sidestep around questions over a scheme that has not stood up to scrutiny.  Read more »

Only some honour in political New Year honours

Few would begrudge Turia her New Year honours.  Instead of sitting around and complaining, she actually got up and did something, which is more than can be said for most politicians.

Former Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has topped the list of politicians in the New Year honours, being made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dame Tariana was elected to Parliament as a Labour list MP in 1996 and stood down at the September election along with co-leader Pita Sharples.

She was elected in 2002 in Te Tai Hauauru for Labour but quit to set up the Maori Party and in July 2004 won the seat under the Maori Party banner.

Between 2008 and this year, with the Maori Party in a support arrangement with the John Key-led National Government, her ministerial portfolios included Whanau Ora, Disability Issues and the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Whanau Ora policy, which devolves social policy delivery to communities and whanau and aims to support families rather than individuals, is seen as her proudest legacy.

Before entering politics Turia was chief executive of Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority and worked in Te Puni Kokiri. She was also manager of the Whanganui Regional Development Board Trust.

Turia said the honour was as much for her people as it was for her.

“It’s humbling really because there are so many people out there who do such great work, so to be honoured in this way, for me, is more of an honour for my hapu and iwi.

“The recognition from my people over the last 40 years helped to keep me going and focused on what I had to do.”

The only time I think she seriously slipped up and lost support from non-Maori is when she insisted the Maori Wars were New Zealand’s equivalent of the WWII holocaust.  It’s something that’s stuck with me, and I’ve never really been able to square that away as being a reasonable comparison.  Luckily, she learned from that and toned down her public rhetoric at least.

Other political recipients include Tony Ryall   Read more »

Better in the tent than outside

The Maori party have signed a confidence and supply agreement with National and Te Ururoa Flavell has become a Minister.

John Key keeps his inclusive government ticking along and the Maori party continues to be able to deliver.

Te Ururoa Flavell will become a Minister outside Cabinet after the Maori Party reached a confidence and supply agreement with National for the third straight term.

The Maori Party co-leader was announced as the new Minister of Maori Development (a new title for what was Maori Affairs) as well as holding the Whanau Ora and associate economic development portfolios.

It came after Flavell, outgoing MP and fellow Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia and Prime Minister John Key officially signed the relationship accord with National – Te Tatau ki te Paerangi – at Parliament this afternoon.

Key welcomed the third straight agreement he had signed with the Maori Party and the way it had approached governing with National.

“I have no doubt that we New Zealanders are better off because of it.”

Read more »

No love lost between Peters and Hariwira

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is issuing an 11th hour call to arms, asking voters to ignore the calls from National, Labour and NZ First to support his Labour opponent Kelvin Davis.

The Mana leader has been targeted in the last days of the campaign, with John Key, David Cunliffe and Winston Peters all endorsing Mr Davis.

Mr Harawira has also claimed that the Maori Party may be telling supporters to vote for Mr Davis. The Maori Party has said strategic voting was considered, but ultimately dismissed.

Mr Harawira issued a statement this morning asking voters to “hold fast to their mana” again the party leaders who have “ganged together” against him.

“I call on our people to answer them in the strongest way possible, by making sure that every one of your whanau gets down to the polling booths over the next 48 hours and votes for me”, Mr Harawira said.

“Now some party leaders want to take away their right to freely choose their next MP, and that’s just not right.”

He again defended his arrangement with the internet Party and its backer Kim Dotcom, saying it was the best way to get more Mana MPs into parliament.

Hasn’t quite turned out that way, has it Hone?  At 1%, it’s just you.  At 1.2% it’s just you and Laila, and Laia isn’t Mana.  So it doesn’t look like you got there at all – except for the nice nest egg you sold your soul for.   Read more »

Hooton on Labour’s skulduggery in Te Tai Tokerau

Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.

Less widely reported was Mr Key’s reference to the Maori Party. Like National voters in Epsom and Ohariu, the prime minister told those in the Maori electorates to back his support parties’ candidates.

This is a bit cheeky: National doesn’t run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although it’s extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, given his commitment to national reconciliation).

That’s why Mr Key’s nod to the Maori Party is so important. Under MMP, this election remains too close to call. For National to have a chance of a third term, Mr Key may well need Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell to retain Waiariki. Even more important is the result in Hone Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau electorate, which spans Cape Reinga to West Auckland.

Most commentators assume Mr Harawira is completely safe, especially now he has scored Kim Dotcom’s dosh. But that reveals they haven’t looked at the data very carefully.

Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labour’s Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. For his part, Mr Harawira’s majority was well less than National’s party vote and also NZ First’s (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the Maori Party’s candidate, while Green voters backed Mr Harawira.

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This time, the Maori Party has Te Hira Paenga as its candidate. He would make an excellent MP. A father of five, he has post-graduate qualifications and is assistant principal at Hato Petera College. Whatever: he should fall on his taiaha.  Read more »

Haere Ra

Claire Trevett looks back on dignified politicians

Few could question the integrity with which Sharples and Turia approached their political lives. They rarely got embroiled in the mundane distractions of politics, the grandstanding and personal snipes, unless it was in defence of themselves. They were the perfect complementary force. Turia was the rock, Sharples was the orator, galvanising and the perfect voice to quell suspicion about the Maori Party among Pakeha.

When it came to the Pakeha media, both took time to explain who they were and what they were doing, over and over again if need be. They were dignified, courteous and calm. Turia’s entertaining habit of breaking into giggles when asked the occasional ridiculous question often said more than words would have.

The reality of politics has had the usual erosive effect. The acrimonious split with Hone Harawira delivered a cut the party has yet to heal from, despite its bravado. It continues to struggle with the perception it has simply become a stooge for National. Its MPs would occasionally adopt siege mentality at times of trial rather than front the issue.

But they stayed relentlessly on message, and that message has stayed consistent throughout. For Turia, that message has been life-long: the case for Maori self-determination. In her maiden speech as a new Labour MP in 1997, she did not bother with the usual platitudes of paying homage to the party she represented, or those who led it. Instead, she spoke of Maori being forced to live in two worlds, “drip-fed, spoon-fed and acted upon like imbeciles”. Read more »

Today’s valedictory speeches starting at 4:15pm


The first will be totally missable, but the last three will probably be worth your time.  Yes, even Darien.

Watch them on-line, here

Here’s a sign of good leadership – literally


Maori Party have more faith in their leader than Labour…and she is retiring!