Hira Paenga

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 »

Hands up who wants compulsory Te Reo?

The Labour party seems intent on transforming itself into a minor political party.

First there was the Man ban, then wanting to regulate trucks in the fast lane, their ongoing pandering to single interest groups, David Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and now they want to make Te Reo compulsory for every school child.

All New Zealand schoolchildren would learn Maori under Labour’s long-term plan for te reo, but it appears the party is loath to give the policy a high profile.

Labour Maori affairs spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta and education spokesman Chris Hipkins indicated Labour had an “aspirational” target for Maori to be taught in all schools after the Maori Party’s Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Te Hira Paenga, claimed Labour had endorsed his party’s policy for compulsory te reo in schools.

“We are glad to see Labour at last getting the message that our reo is something that we all, as New Zealanders, should embrace,” Mr Paenga said.

Ms Mahuta initially suggested Mr Paenga had the wrong end of the stick, saying Labour would only promote its own policy which was “the recognition that te reo should be a working language for all New Zealanders”.

However, Ms Mahuta was far more direct in a debate held in Gisborne earlier this month when she said: “We’ve made a clear commitment that te reo Maori will be compulsory in our schools.”

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