Waatea News Column: The Maori Party could spoil Jacinda’s dreams for a second term


The Māori Party have selected the exceptionally talented Debbie Ngarewa-Packer as their candidate in the very vulnerable seat of Te Tai Hauāuru and it represents the biggest threat to Jacinda’s dreams for a second term than any other political challenge.

Jacinda’s heroic 2017 win owed itself to the incredible excitement her campaign generated amongst the Māori electorate. Frustrated with getting no where via the Māori Party sitting at the table with National, the promise of transformative politics and kindness saw all Māori electorates swing to Labour alongside a large lift in the general seats where Māori who weren’t enrolled on the Māori roll party voted Labour.

That hope has soured since the election.

The lack of budgetary traction Grant Robertson has given the Māori Caucus to create large symbolic and identifiable wins for Māori has protected Labour from attacks of Māori favouritism but has blunted any real policy to sell Māori.

After seeing the Māori voice removed from Mental Health reforms, the horror of Oranga Tamariki and the ongoing bias inside our health, education and justice system, the growing argument that Māori need a seperate political voice outside of a main Party has been building and the Māori Party intend to capitalise upon that.

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A rejection of Labour by Māori voters in favour of the Māori Party could open up a pathway for National to regain power, especially as Labour only hold Te Tai Hauāuru with 1039 votes.

Labour need to show Māori that they have gotten something from trusting Jacinda. Here are 3 ideas.

Large budget increase for Māori Media – From Māori TV to Māori political shows on mainstream to the small independent Māori radio stations, Māori Media have had no increase in funding for decades, a large injection of funds would get an enormous amount of attention by those outlets.

Social housing with Urban Māori Authorities – a specific program aimed at helping more Māori get into home ownership through building collaborations with Māori Urban Authorities.

Parihaka Day becomes a National holiday – symbolic and powerful gesture that will cement into place an important cultural identity for Māori and wider NZ.

With barely 12 months till the next election, Labour don’t have the time to unpick the collective injustices visited upon Māori, but they can promote some big symbolic visions. Labour have got to give their Māori caucus something to campaign on or else dissatisfaction amongst Māori voters will turn them to the Māori Party and enable National a chance to return to power


First published on Waatea News.


  1. Jacinda’s pointless “and you must hold us to account” may well come back to haunt her.

    Martyn you mention “ongoing bias inside our health, education and justice systems”. What exactly is the evidence for said biases?

    • Oh for fucks sake sweetheart – really? You didn’t notice the conference on bias inside the prisons? You didn’t notice the enormous health conference held by Māori and the treaty claim because of that bias? Those passed you by eh champ?

      • 100% true that.
        Bias is poison to our society as it makes the holders of it “blind to the truth” and it is everywhere now, and we are being sunk with it.

        Yes the Maori Party will return more likely now if Jacinda fails to get her ‘free to air public media platform to (restore TV7 again) going soon for her government to finally give us a voice to place “the other side of the story” to the electorate before the whole place is totally infested with “bias”.”

        Jacinda wake up before its to late.

      • I wasn’t aware of those conferences. But a health conference held by Maori is in itself evidence of bias in the health system? Some of the accusations of bias that we hear are based on the well-known inequalities of outcome in health, education etc. But medics and teachers can only do so much with people who’ve been damaged by deprivation, and blaming them for inequalities of outcome in health and education is hardly fair. And if kids live in cold, damp homes, and if they don’t get anything to eat before they leave home in the morning, how much will “unconscious bias” training of teachers actually achieve? It looks like scapegoating to me.

        • its not about individual medics or teachers. social services and schools that are founded on maori principles and practices are massively different to non-maori organisations. to work in and to receive service from. but the ones that exist are severely constrained by having to adhere to the dictates of professions, funders etc. and are underfunded fdor what they could potentially offer in a way that would make a difference. the bias is systemic not to be individuallised.

    • RosieLee – Yes, Matariki is really positive; Parihaka Day has the potential to become another grievance band wagon, unlike the lovely symbolism of Matariki.

      Previously Golriz Ghahraman proposed that the govt give the Greens Marama Davidson’s wanted national Parihaka Day as a trade off for the Greens supporting the waka jumping Bill.

      “Labour, NZ First and National have all decried a Green Party MP’s suggestion that horse trading could be used as a negotiating tactic to get a national “Parihaka Day”.

      The Green Party is considering opposing NZ First’s “Waka Jumping” bill – a deal struck in coalition talks – unless Labour gives it a national “Parihaka Day”.

      Green Party justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman, in an internal email obtained by Stuff, suggested some horse trading with Labour to acknowledge the fact the party has long opposed waka jumping legislation.”

      I emailed James Shaw at the time, suggesting that these issues should be decided entirely on their own merits rather than be subjected to this sort horse trading. I received no answer. Part one – supporting waka jumping went through okay. Part two, Parihaka, overwhelms with its negativity.

      Would the Scots want a Highland Clearances Day, or Indians an Amritsar Day, or Irish a Great famine Day ?
      These – and worse- are in the genetic coding of many NZ’ers, and they will never be forgotten, and are no cause for celebration.

      National Parihaka Day, perhaps more so now that some of the facts are disputed, could see salt rubbed in old wounds perhaps best left to heal in the hands of time. These are the stories we tell our children.

      People have already embraced Matariki. Parihaka could become another destructive weapon in the hands of brown Greens and others to declare as they did at the Auckland Muslim vigil, “White people hate us.” This sort of divisiveness is the last thing that we need in NZ.

    • Parihaka inspired Gandhi who inspired Martin Luther King who continues to inspire many around the world. Sounds vaguely positive to me.

    • @ RosieLee … I agree 100% Matariki being celebrated as a national holiday in Aotearoa, recognising and learning of the event’s significance for what it is; the first rising of the Pleiades cluster of stars in May/June, indicating the beginning of the Maori new year.

      Celebrating Matariki nationally as a public holiday, is something the coalition government should seriously consider, as it is a significant event on the Aotearoa calendar.

  2. once again Labour has betrayed the faith put in them by Maori. A resurgent Maori Party would do well look at the gains got by being in coalition with National

    • Sorry what were those gains again?
      , Marama Fox got a few gains for herself and given recent history I wouldn’t trust the Maori Party with a barge pole.
      Fox’s response to the Maori party’s demise “Fox commented that Māori have “gone back like a beaten wife to the abuser” in regards to Labour’s sweep of the Māori seats.
      Do you really believe such language is normal?

      I don’t know if Maori are better under Labour but betrayed without any evidence is either dimwitted or wishful thinking on your behalf.

  3. Yep, MP could put a spanner in the works. Good suggestions Martyn. The housing one works already if you know where to look, such as He Korowai Trust’s Ricky Houghton’s scheme in the Far North which is getting people that the State agencies will not touch into their own homes.

    The problems generated from 30 years of neo liberalism will not be solved by any stretch with more neo liberalism. At this point, Adrian Orr at the Reserve Bank is more activist than the Govt. he is recommending a large spend up on infrastructure projects. Including borrowing, the Fiscal Cap has to go.

    Labour needs to pull finger and get those FPAs happening, restore Benefit Cuts as per the Experts Working Group, and get money into the pockets of the underclass and working class.

  4. trev many Maori wont vote for the Maori party if they go with the poison chalice national party we all know who national care about and it ain’t us or PI or the poor. They should never get back in after the mess they left and any Maori that votes for them is either stupid, dumb, deaf or blind.
    Can you tell me the gains we got from national trev

    • Michele
      Maori got very little from National after nine years national was in power.
      So Maori need to weight up the gains from just TWO YEARS two years with the Coalition Government BEFORE THEY JUMP..

  5. Yes agree Labour need to spend and if they get in again and i think they should also borrow and spend up while the interest rates are low and take some risks. They need to invest in NZers there has purposely been a lack of investment in upskilling NZers and instead of investing in our own people they have brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants in putting pressure on our infrastructure now this isn’t good economic management. I would also like to see benefits go up national put them up by 20$ but they also cut them in 1990 mother of all budgets so they took and gave back really so really no gains to those who they said. Any benefit gains will go straight back into the economy but then do we have to listen to the benefit bashers.

  6. Jump to where Cleangreen no where to jump i know the Maori party have no money a bit like our PI rugby teams so its not a level playing field.
    The other issue is how can you trust national when they are busy pedalling spin and lies to get in power. Also national have a bad track record for Maori, PI and the poor so why would we vote want to go there they had ample time to implement changes they didn’t and they wont and we need to realise they rule for one sector and we all know who that is.

  7. Jump to where Cleangreen no where to jump i know the Maori party have no money a bit like our PI rugby teams so its not a level playing field.
    The other issue is how can you trust national when they are busy pedalling spin and lies to get in power. Also national have a bad track record for Maori, PI and the poor so why would we vote want to go there they had ample time to implement changes they didn’t and they wont and we need to realise they rule for one sector and we all know who that is.

  8. If the Maori Party held the balance of power it would make a lot of sense to go with Labour – they would get far more gains for their voters than the Maori MPs have from being inside Labour and they would avoid all the other trouble that National regularly brings their way.

  9. They have to win Tarianas old seat and that wont be easy doesn’t mean they can’t or they shouldn’t but if they want a seat at the main table they might have to compromise too much compromise it will be see ya later alligator.

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