Waatea News Column: NZ – where we can talk about ties in Parliament but not have the Maori Party talk in Parliament?


It’s interesting that we can waste time on debating if neckties should be banned in Parliament but no one bats an eye when the Māori Party were banned from talking in Parliament.

The symbolism of the Māori Party storming out of Parliament last week was lost on most commentators and condescendingly written off as the Māori Party not understanding the standing orders of Parliament.

I beg to differ.

What the storming out was really about is how the Māori Party interpret their role in Parliament.

They don’t see themselves as merely another minor Party, they see themselves as the political embodiment of the other Treaty Partner, and as such, demands the respect of the other Treaty Partner.

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This confidence in their Tino rangatiratanga swager will infuriate the Pakeha establishment, but for Māori, it will set a benchmark of respect in the ongoing dialogue of the Treaty.

The Māori Party are looking like a resurgent political force, not a Party confused by Parliamentary standing orders.


First published on Waatea News.


  1. Well maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t a race issue. Every time Nick Smith got tossed out of Parliament, in spite of quite enjoying the spectacle, I didn’t think that it had anything to do with the colour white. I thought he’d been a naughty boy again.

    Rules are rules. Parliament is our highest legislative body, and to function efficiently it does need to follow
    clear cut established processes, just as lower courts do. If everyone participating in any legal process claimed a right to participate according to their own interpretation of those rules, legal proceedings could become chaotic. Even as it is, judges aren’t too keen on people who choose to represent themselves in court, and they can use up a lot of tax-payer funded time – although that shouldn’t necessarily be the main consideration.

    The Brompton Oratory used to be a popular Roman Catholic Church to attend in the days when Hilaire Belloc would interrupt preachers’ sermons to argue theological points. It being a house of God, they had to let him.

    Few would see the New Zealand Parliament as housing goddesses, let alone gods, just mortals, and mortals need rules, in the big stuff, as well as in the little ordinary every day stuff, to avoid mayhem, Valhalla , and being run over on pedestrian crossings.

    Being Maori hasn’t impeded other Maori MP’s freedom of speech in the New Zealand Parliament. This is a party political issue, with one party wanting to apply it’s own interpretation of the New Zealand Constitution, written or unwritten, to parliamentary proceedings. It needs to be addressed according to established procedures, which I am sure all members of Parliament know – even Nick Smith. It certainly can’t be equated with Shaw’s cutesy tie posturing.

    • + 100% Snow White. As for Shaw, his posturing about tie wearing exemplifies what a frivolous parliamentarian he is.


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