Willie Jackson’s Problem


WILLIE JACKSON HAS A PROBLEM – a big problem.  Since 2017, he has led the charge to secure more resources for Māori and, by winning them, has assumed a pivotal political role in the quest for tino rangatiratanga. With Jackson’s successes, however, have come heightened expectations of more. Just how high Māori hopes have grown is manifested in the contents of the Draft Plan for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) So alarming are the recommendations contained in this document, that the Māori Development Minister is refusing to present it to Cabinet.

Jackson’s refusal is highly significant. If the plan has a promoter of Māori economic and social development as stalwart as Jackson shaking his head, then the Draft Plan must be effectively indistinguishable from the He Puapua Report.

Therein lies Jackson’s problem. The moment the He Puapua Report entered the public arena it was too late to order it shredded. It had become a ticking political time-bomb that could only be defused with the co-operation of all sides of the Māori sovereignty debate. It’s only saving grace was that it was not – yet – an official government document. This was a godsend for Jackson and the Labour Government. They had been given a few crucial months to do whatever was needed to prevent a potentially fatal political explosion.

It explains why Jackson and his colleagues asked Maoridom to develop its response to the UNDRIP/He Puapua challenge first, ahead of Pakeha, and behind closed doors. They were hoping that, perceiving the explosive character of the Plan, the good and the great of Maoridom would bend all their powers to reshaping its recommendations into something Jackson’s Labour colleagues – and the rest of New Zealand – could live with.

Unfortunately for Jackson and Labour, that is not what happened. After 70 hui, held across the country, the mood of Maoridom was made strikingly clear. UNDRIP was a hard-and-fast commitment. The radical vision of He Puapua was not to be to be finessed away with fine phrases. Rangatahi, the rising generation of young Māori nationalists, would accept nothing less than a full-on, Te Tiriti-driven, co-governed and bi-cultural Aotearoa.

How radical is the Draft Plan? It is revolutionary. How else to describe its call for one justice system for Pakeha and another for Māori? The late Moana Jackson would be proud of the document, because, essentially, it reflects his vision of the future. The softly-spoken revolutionary’s body may lie with his ancestors, but his spirit is strong among that part of Maoridom for whom Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake have become non-negotiable components of Aotearoa’s future.

That “responsible Maoridom” decided not to come through for him, or Labour, must have hit Willie Jackson hard. So hard that he was forced back onto that most traditional of Labour precepts: the fundamental decency and common sense of the New Zealand working-class. Jackson’s interim solution to the Draft Plan’s ideological inflexibility is to divide the intellectuals and ideologues responsible for He Puapua from ordinary, hard-working, Māori New Zealanders:

“I know what the average Māori will think and they’re not walking around every day thinking about the United Nations’ Declaration of Indigenous Peoples – they’re thinking about their housing, their health, their education.’’

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This would sound a lot more convincing if Jackson’s Pakeha colleagues had not been aggressively selling the notion that Māori housing, health and education will only improve when the rest of New Zealand starts living up to Te Tiriti o Waitangi’s implicit promise of “partnership”. Generally-speaking, working-class people have more on their minds than politics. But, they aren’t deaf. Tell them that their future and politics are intimately entwined often enough, and loudly enough, and, eventually, they’ll start paying attention. Quite unintentionally, Labour may have kicked-off a revolution of rising expectations.

Such is the essence of Jackson’s problem: he can neither withdraw, nor water-down, the Draft Plan without exposing the Labour Government to the most withering political fire. His Pakeha colleagues face the same problem – in reverse. If the Labour Cabinet signs up to a dual legal system, then the party can kiss the 2023 election good-bye.

Jackson understands this completely:

“You can imagine some of the wants or asks from [Māori], but as I remind them, it’s not just about them. It’s about what do we want to do as a government and how do we want to honour that declaration and how do we realistically go forward getting people to recognise there are indigenous obligations without them thinking we’re going to take their houses off them.’’

Which is, of course, why the revolutionary He Puapua Report should have been shredded the moment it passed from the hands of the Māori nationalist dreamers who wrote it, into the possession of those who do politics for a living.

Still, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody no good. Labour’s crisis is Te Pāti Māori’s red, white and black opportunity. Any watering-down, let alone withdrawal, of the Draft Plan will be seized upon by Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer as proof positive of Pakeha Labour’s perfidy. After five years of promising Māori the moon, after repeated pledges to institute co-governance, the Labour Government will have proved that, when push comes to shove, it is no more willing than any other coloniser to surrender its white privilege.

And to Jackson’s colleagues in Labour’s Māori caucus, Waititi and Ngarewa-Packer will jeer: “Fool me once, shame on you: fool me hundreds of times, and I must be a Māori Labour Party MP!”

Except, being roundly castigated by Te Pāti Māori just might be the best response Labour could hope for. Virtuously upholding democracy by rejecting the separatist recommendations of the Draft Plan is probably the only way this Government can remain electorally competitive. It would certainly allow Jackson to sharpen his class-based critique of Māori society. (Which as a strategy, would be even more effective if he could just to point to tangible gains for working-class Māori in housing, health and education!)

Not that National and Act can afford to just sit back with a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the fun. If the Right/Left poll numbers remain relatively even, then the parliamentary support of an enlarged Te Pāti Māori – pumped-up by the protest votes of all those Māori outraged by a Labour betrayal even bigger than the Seabed and Foreshore, may prove critical to National and Act being able to form a government.

What price will Te Pāti Māori extract from National for its support on Confidence and Supply?

When John Key put that question to Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia in 2008, the answer turned out to include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


  1. That bastard Key has so much to answer for. Happy to sell his country down the river for short-term political gain.

    • PP II: “That bastard Key has so much to answer for. Happy to sell his country down the river for short-term political gain.”

      Yes. He does. Either he didn’t think that one through, or he did, and assumed that the ethno-nationalist chickens wouldn’t come home to roost.

      As I recall, the Natz and ACT had enough seats that he didn’t actually need the Maori Party for confidence and supply. In his case, I’d guess that it was a want of foresight. Maybe also intellectual heft. And making the fundamental mistake of doing it for political kudos.

      • D’Esterre, But if I remember correctly, Key dispatched Pita Sharples to the US Indigenous Conference secretly at the time ? That being so, there was no kudos in it for Key, but chances are he never thought it through, but was just dishing out largesse because he could.

  2. What a punch-line!!!
    Write it in the sky, indelibly, all over the land of the long, white cloud.

    • Bob what disgusting language? He was an idiot in an interview in 2014 and apologised numerous times. Is that the incident you are referring to? If it is, are you not acting a tad like the woke brigade now?

      • Gus – No need for comparisons. Key’s hair fetish had all sorts of weird connotations; men unashamedly referring to women as frontbums, degrades all women whether you agree or not.

        • Can we all get on with the thinking and leave that hair fondling stuff alone. We aren’t kids at school I think, well I hope not.

          Can you who trot this out regularly make a vow to stay schtum about it for ever more otherwise you might be considered to be agents for the right because it makes the left appear to be obsessed about trivia and so unworthy to be voted into government. Which is true but we don’t want that truth to be widely circulated.

          • Much of it is orchestrated as a diversion from the big complex issues which government can’t – or won’t – deal with, being little more than optics and pr people.

          • Whilst I agree Greywarbler, is it not a concern that the character assassination of Jackson from 8 years ago be not also left behind? What’s good for the goose, etc, etc etc.

      • Fantail – With respect, co-governance overturns the whole constitutional concept of sovereignty; a divided justice system with one for Maori alone, and second system for ‘others’, is unfeasible. Even Luxon would see the impracticality.

  3. We are the chickens, Willie is the fox, Jacinda is the chicken wire and she is made out of cotton.

  4. Personally i can see labour and the maori cacus giving up on winning the 2023 election and just passing any laws they like well they have a once in a lifetime opportunity. This would cause all sorts of political strife for a national/act party to unto once they take the treasury benches.

    • Assuming that Lex Luthor will overturn anything. He probably will for cost reasons but he will let co governance and Maori separatism continue IMO.

    • It won’t cause the Nats any problems at all to strike out any laws that labour/Greens/Maori party might pass prior to the election.

      The Nats will get a huge mandate in 2023 based on the support of over 70% of the electorate if Labour does what you suggest. Ironically, the Nats could end up getting an absolute majority because of this issue. This support will be strengthened by the impact of Labour’s incompetent economic mismanagement, and its health sector ‘crisis’ etc etc etc.

      • Grantoc,where have all the problems in health,education etc.etc. come from. No I am not talking about the last 9 years I am talking decades in the making and just guess who has been the government for the most amount of years and its not the Labour party. Unfortunately we are all still paying for the Roger Douglas experiment ( i know Labour party right), however the blame for this could be laid at the feet of Muldoon who almost refused to give up the financial reins when he lost the snap election. Muldoon also destroyed the superannuation scheme and that was Bill Rowlings baby. He got rid of it with out legislation to change the laws. What a difference that would have made to New Zealand. We have and continue to live through a pandemic so we would be more surprised if there was not a health crisis, the housing crisis was denied by the Nats and they sold off many state houses and washed their hands of the housing shortage. There are parts of the UK which were decimated by Margaret Thatcher, they have never recovered, parts of Britain were left without jobs or support and this all happened early 80’s.They continue to suffer unemployment ,drugs and crime.
        There are actions and consequences and we are now battling through such consequences. My fear is we will have a leader who will take us backwards and we are fast running out of time for the future of our children’s children.

      • Wrong Bob it’s a right wing shrill platform, no more no less.

        “Michael Laws as a morning host, and his planned use of copy from the blog site of former MPs Michael Bassett, Don Brash and Rodney Hide, the latter of whom seems to have announced he’s unvaccinated and says he’s “100% behind” the convoy protesters. The Platform’s digital editor is Ani O’Brien, whose previous gig was as ex-National leader Judith Collins’ press secretary and is known chiefly for her role in Speak Up for Women, an organisation widely perceived as existing to resist the trans rights movement.”

        You will not get balance with that lot, ever, no debating that.

    • Certainly it’s nepotism, which is never politically healthy. Why the LP sanctions this is questionable. But so is their determination to monitor free speech, and disgracefully jettison the Commissioner for Children.

  5. Interesting Chris, I read Willie Jackson’s motives differently.

    Early 2021 He PuaPua leaks. Govt says it will be before Parliament in April 2021. Then delayed to late 2021 because of consulation with Iwi. Now Jackson says he hasntseen it before and has to run interference on it on behalf of the rest of NZ. (Is that a pig going past the window?)

    There is no way Willie didnt know what the Document contained. Neither the original document or approved by Iwi document.

    My interpretation is that this is another delaying tactic to get it through parliament and passed into law at a time of the govt’s choosing. I think Willie has been delaying it to suit Tino Rangitaratanga? goals.

    The enactment of He Pua Pua is going swimmingly as we march our way through health, OT, education and as of yesterday, beginning on justice and policing. Ardern is off securing a new job and Robbo and Hipkins have woken up to the Poison Chalice they are inheriting. Robbo has wanted the prime ministership for years and he and Chippie and maybe a few others have dug their heels in and said “Willie, you have to fix this or we lose the election!”.

    I dont think you’re wrong that this existential stirring and promotion of separatism arrangements has stirred up a fair part of Maoridom especially amongst the young who are now being endoctrinated at high school and daily via MSM. The Maori Caucus? whoever is driving this? have achieved the peak divisiveness and silence of the majority that they were aiming for. And there will be real struggle now to break free of this without strife.

    But I do think Willie knew all along as did Ardern and Clark for that matter and they knew it back in 2020. Now that various bits are slipping more and more into the media – adoption law changes, electoral changes, decile and education changes – I understand why, nothing has been enacted by this govt that ‘we’ think makes a difference.

    We have watched in astonishment as labour has delivered nothing. Why are they not doing anything? we asked ourselves. But they were doing plenty, enacting an ideology and program of change from He PuaPua and putting huge amounts of resources and thinking into almost every aspect of government. And some of it is good stuff.

    But, in every case – the rationale is ideology without practicality or logical sequence. And this is what we are seeing – read up on decile changes, the Māori Health Authority saying housing is needed.

    This is constitutional change being enacted by rank ideologues who think that by achieving a separate Maori State that all these other issues (LIKE Housing and poverty) will fall into place. And in the process they are managing to alienate voters of every stripe.

    Sadly, despite this, they will probably win the next election through their serendipitously pulled Electoral law reform bill which will deliver them an up to 10% increased left leaning vote.

    • Fantail. The fact that incredibly, they hid all this from their own deputy PM, Winston Peters, at the time, gives credence to what you’re saying, more so Peters being the only one of them actually a qualified lawyer who would be aware of the massive constitutional implications.

  6. ” When John Key put that question to Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia in 2008, the answer turned out to include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ”

    Key was a manipulative evil bastard who saw this country as an opportunity to plunder it under the guise of democracy and the Brighter Future which gave license to all those who donated to National under Brash and him including the Yanks.

    National will give some crumbs to the Maori cause to keep them onside like when you tickle the stomach of a dog and pretend you are kindred spirits while kicking the other dogs in the kennel.

    Willie Jackson has to realise that when you dance with the devil he expects your soul in return.

    • I’ve seen comments that Key was Right-lite and with him we were in a similar position that we are in now – choosing the best of bad options.

  7. Why is there an assumption that the proposal is divisive and undemocratic?
    It is possible that the electorate, overall, has considerable understanding of the historical context and the undemocratic nature of colonialism and it’s consequences for indigenous communities around the world?
    It is possible that we have moved on from having a narrow and singular cultural perspective on supposedly sacred institutions – including science, art, politics, economics and yes – even the nature and history of democracy itself?
    There is no historical “virtuous upholding” of democracy in Western culture – the vote was the preserve of male property owners – not women or the working class. That only changed after the Russian revolution which demonstrated to Capital that universal suffrage was a better option than being dragged out of your home and executed in the street by an angry, impoverished mob.
    Also, “virtuous upholding” of democracy alone, does not bring good outcomes – you must have tolerance and universal rights or it is nothing more than mob rule.

    • “Why is there an assumption that the proposal is divisive and undemocratic?”

      It isn’t an assumption – it’s an observation.

      “There is no historical “virtuous upholding” of democracy in Western culture – the vote was the preserve of male property owners – not women or the working class. That only changed after the Russian revolution which demonstrated to Capital that universal suffrage was a better option than being dragged out of your home and executed in the street by an angry, impoverished mob.”

      Ah yes, the evils of Western culture. If you’d done your homework before launching into agitprop, you might have noticed that quite a few states embraced granted universal suffrage without any encouragement from your Bolshevik friends:


      “Also, “virtuous upholding” of democracy alone, does not bring good outcomes – you must have tolerance and universal rights or it is nothing more than mob rule.”

      And you think that tolerance and universal rights are not features of present-day NZ society?

      • Thanks for the link and I admit I was launching into agitprop there – nothing like a decent Russion revolution anecdote to get the blood flowing. I was factually incorrect in my statement on the introduction of universal suffrage – though the link you sent does show that – by far – most of it happened after 1917.
        Just so you know how woke I am – I was a supporter of the Parliamentary protest and the people who lost work and income due to covid vaccines – the lack of empathy from politicans and the media disgusted me. Trevor Mallard should be in court facing charges for assault.
        I also understand and have empathy for those that voted for Trump – because on the campaign trail he was more left wing on economics than Bernie Sanders.
        Being woke means being able to see the world from someone elses perspective including those we disagree with.
        BTW – the evils of Western culture are not unique – all human societies, cultures and religions have elements of brutallity and cruelty – this is all human history.

    • NZ women had the vote before the Russian Revolution.Y ou have have a very singular and woefully uninformed understanding of the history of democracy in this country. Here’s a clue Peter look up Tamati Waka Nene paramount Ngapuhi chief and why he knew his people would be better off under the Westminster Parliamentary system.NZ democracy has produced many world leading reforms , a free secular education system, free healthcare and eventually affordable housing. Virtuous by anyone’s standards.We have much to lose by adopting th undemocractic racist idiocy that is co-governance. Ardern’s revisionism will see the end of her government and if there is a god her career as a NZ politician of underachievement.

      • Shona. Agree 100%. The lack of transparency in the govt’s radical secret agendas flies in the face of democracy. Underachievement is nothing new, but fostering divisiveness is worse than foolhardy.

    • Unfortunately Peter reading the so called well informed intelligent conversation on this page I doubt it, although it must be said the same people say the same things no matter what the topic is on this blog. What are we afraid of, are the colonialists in this country the shining examples of democracy. Is it only white is right. Are there to be only European rules also known as one size fits all. Is there no nepotism in a white society. Do we white peoples class ourselves as perfect and we are the only people born to rule.

      • Thanks Queeny – we’re definitely a minority view point. The article and comments are a symptom of what I refer to as an “epidemic of butt-hurt anti woke hysteria” that appears to be sweeping through both left and right. Otherwise brilliant political analysts and commentators get themselves caught in a very small space from which they describe the landscape. I think the explanation in CT’s case is fear – he see’s Trump and Brexit as the existential threats they are to a kinder world and fears angering the conservative resentful minority.

      • I guess Queeny you and PB are the only people on this site well informed and intelligent.
        Isn’t that a form of discrimination?

        • We have an opinion like you do Bob, however more and more it appears that the right wing opinion is the only right one.

        • I’m not paritcularly well informed or intelligent but I am open minded and I’m prepared to walk in anothers shoes – which to me is the real definition of being woke.
          Nationalism, paranoia and intolerance can prevent you from being able to do that and that is the real death of liberal democracy – as we are seeing in real time in the US right now. An conservative minority is regressing the country and removing univeral rights and liberty from citizens.

          • And again – to demonstrate my wokeness – I don’t think that the Pro Life people are bad or deliberatly causing harm – I understand their perspective and the religious conviction it comes from.
            But the imposition of such beliefs on others – to the detriment and risk to life of women in genral – I can’t agree is a good thing for society.

  8. What about Maori taking over the criminal justice system also that of the employment for a limited time, such as two years? We seem to be in a stalemate in our political paths and it’s worse, it’s stale all right but there is no mate side. In other words Maori couldn’t do worse than this lousy Labour-lite lot. Maori seem to have the vestiges of ideas about humanity in between their various maneouvres, and Labour staggers behind inhaling their exhaust. It’s exhaustive watching and waiting for Labour to find their mojo or whatever trinket or talisman they might be looking for, but who knows.

    • What about reforming the Justice system totally and creating an Inquisitorial system as is used in France????
      Far superior to the adversarial system. The cartel of that is the legal profession would be well and truly hog tied as it deserves to be.
      We need to train our judges and lose our lawyers. They are the problem.
      We also need to streamline our legislative process.
      Experienced trained Judges would do a far better job of writing and implementing legislation than the overpaid halfwits in Parliament.

    • Seems a good idea in principle, GW – say, three years, then review. The danger, however, is that review process would be guided more by ideology than by the actual evidence. And this government is quite capable of stacking the review panel with people like Joanna Kidman. Not that Key was any less prone to stacking panels e.g. the flag referendum.

  9. My earlier posts are yet to appear so hopefully they will then I will get over my paranoia of let wing censorship.

    • “of let wing censorship”

      Probably TDB couldn’t make any sense of your poor English yet most likely because its easier to filter out your false statements than opinions.

  10. This separatist/racist scam needs to be nipped in the bud quickly to prevent a future civil war.
    Unfortunately I don’t see the next, National government having the balls to do what is needed.

    • Andrew….National normally get ACT to do their dirty work for them when they get in power….What’s ACT’s policy on the expanding Maori influence in our laws and governance…??…..It’s going to be an interesting 24 months here in New Zealand…..

  11. This country is absolutely screwed. Zimbabwe here we come, the separatist path we are following leads to nothing but violence and economic vandalism, nothing good can come of it. I am horrified that this treacherous government is prepared to sacrifice the fair-minded aspirations and values of the working class – Pakeha, Maori, Asian, Pasifika – on the altar of “Te Tiriti”, as Maori extreme radicals launch a slow-moving coup to lock out millions of NZ citizens from having any real say in the future of our country. Using Covid as a brilliant distraction, Labour has quietly signed up for this co-governance bullshit, and ignored people living in semi or full-on poverty – despite pretending to be left-wingers, they couldn’t even bring in a CGT or adjust the income tax thresholds for god’s sake! The govt is now hellbent on embedding discriminatory legislation that creates an unelected Maori ‘governance’ structure across all key ministries. I was raised to believe that govt welfare should be allocated on the basis of socio-economic or health needs, not the colour of your skin. I didn’t vote for Labour in 2018, (and I certainly didn’t vote for National), but I stupidly assumed they still believed that all New Zealanders were entitled to equal voting rights, equal laws and justice, equal political representation, and equal access to quality healthcare and water resources. Silly me.

  12. As Martyn proposes, everything but a positive programme is the death of rational democracy. The evidence is all there in the septic tanks, ponds and ox-bends of thought of the Left in the last 38 years.

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