24 January 2013

Maori MPs provide the entertainment

The absurdity of the Maori Party pondering their next co-leadership arrangement (due to the coming retirement of Tariana Turia from politics) is that they must know as well as the rest of us that they will be lucky to have just one, let alone two, MPs left standing (or, in the parliamentary sense, left sitting) after the next election.
Without Tariana, the Te Tai Hauauru seat is up for grabs. Pita Sharples' slender majority in Tamaki Makaurau makes that seat a prime target for Labour, regardless of whether Pita decides to stay on in politics or not. Ironically, then, it's Te Ururoa Flavell in the Waiariki seat who is most likely to be the survivor next time, and possibly the sole survivor. So, of course, it makes sense (on paper) to make him the next leader - and even then they'll have their work cut out to make sure that the Mana Party's Annette Sykes doesn't beat him next time around.
Equally absurd, though, was Hone Harawira's 'offer' of a merger between the Mana and Maori Parties. Was he really serious, or just joking? I prefer the latter, as that makes the proposal marginally sensible as just a clever dig in the ribs.
If Mr Harawira can make his mouth shoot straight for a while, then the Mana Party has a chance to represent not only disaffected Maori but also those non-Maori New Zealanders who have low incomes and little to aspire to. Unlike the Maori Party, Mana has not tarnished its image by propping up a conservative government unpopular with the vast majority of such voters. But first, those communities have to be persuaded to vote at all, and then to vote for Mana. Does the Mana Party have the campaigning and organising resources to pull that off?
Attention-grabbing on TV is the cheap substitute for good party leadership and organization.
I sense a stoush brewing at Waitangi this year...


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