Who would have thought ten or fifteen years ago that there would have been a race based political party in the NZ Parliament? Of those crazy enough to voice such heresy, only the demented could have imagined such a party working in close and successful harmony with National and ACT and achieving a number of major legislative victories – the repeal of FSSB and the introduction of Whanau Ora to name a couple.
That’s what we did have, until Dr Brash and John Ansell fell over each other and destroyed cross party relationships so carefully developed and nurtured by Rodney Hide. To describe Brash as a bull in a china shop ill serves the male bovine.
(It’s ironic to note in passing but when one looks past the rhetoric and examines the aspirations of the Maori Party and the ACT Party one finds some remarkable similarities. They both want self determination but each expresses that in a different way. ACT wants freedom from government intrusion, unduly high taxes and welfarism. The Maori Party wants freedom from government intrusion, unduly high taxes and welfare dependence. The Maori Party was prevented from taking this message mainstream for as long as it was saddled with Harawira but now it can go full on.
Next, try and cast your mind forward ten or fifteen years, putting aside your prejudices and try to imagine a New Zealand Parliament where a race based (but not racist) party holds a dozen or more seats, some electoral and some list - with no special racially designated seats in the House.
Then ask yourself the question:-
“How could this ever come about and how could it happen in just fifteen years?”
In a perverse sort of way, it may well happen as a result of unintended consequences. Consequences of ill thought actions being taken today, by politicians of both the left and the right.
1 The first and most important factor has been the forcible ejection of Harawira from the Maori Party and his ensuing formation of the Mana Party, incorporating every black, white or brindle racist or communist ratbag in the country. This, in the same way that GWB attracted all Al Quaeda’s ratbags from other parts of the world to Iraq where they could most conveniently be killed, has pigeon holed and isolated for mainstream New Zealand to now see in broad daylight, all that is unhealthy, unsavoury and downright destructive in the so-called radical Maori Independence movement. Most importantly of all, it has signalled to New Zealanders of all political persuasions that the brown ratbags are NOT to be found any more within the Maori Party, the corollary of which in that the Maori Party suddenly can draw votes from a much broader cross section of the community. The party has cleansed itself and strategically is much stronger than it was.
Such was unlikely the intention of Harawira, McCarten, Sykes and Mutu.
2 The Labour Party has mindlessly pursued its highly unimaginative, despicably misleading and ultimately disastrous policy of aggressively opposing what it calls ‘asset sales.’ In doing so, it is delivering a subliminal message to New Zealanders that a re-elected Labour Party will prevent the country’s citizens from enjoying the privilege of personally owning their own shares in some of the country’s power generation businesses. Yes, that’s the real message from Labour’s foolish ‘stop asset sales’ campaign. While accusing Dr Brash of Maori bashing, Labour is engaged in bashing the whole population, Maori, Pakeha, Chinese, Korean, Indian or Inuit. “We won’t let you own power company shares” is the message from Mallard’s campaign headquarters.
Such was unlikely the intention of the Kiwi bashers Mallard, Goff, King, Cunliffe and Parker.
3 The many Labour Party supporters who DO want to personally own their own power company shares will look for a home for their votes. Those who can’t bring themselves to vote National will find a comfortable home in the new mainstream Maori Party – post Harawira. Definitely not the intention of Mallard, Goff, King, Cunliffe and Parker.
From here one can see the potential genesis of a blossoming Maori Party party vote - and this is the key to the abolition of the Maori seats. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the new ‘cleansed’ Maori Party achieves that magic figure of 5% PV in the polls well before Dr Brash’s carpet bombed ACT Party gets close. (In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the Maori Party cracks 5% in November while ACT trails the field.)
Once the Maori Party starts to win list seats and polls consistently above say 15% party vote, the whole game changes. Then IT will be in a very strong position to commence negotiations for the abolition of the Maori seats. And what a deal it will be able to extract in return!
Such an achievement will indeed drive a dagger through the heart of the Labour Party and will elevate Messrs Turia and Sharples to sit alongside Sir Apirana Ngata in Maori political history.
SO, all you red necked anti-MMP campaigners, look before you leap. You might get more than you bargained for – more unintended consequences. Maori seats locked in FOR EVER - because it you think mainstream NZ will allow their abolition over a bloodbath, you are mistaken. You need MMP if you want to see the end of Maori seats in the NZ parliament.