Housing issue not just ethnic – Pākehā leaders have ‘failed’, says author

AUT Policy Observatory’s Dr David Hall (from left, podium) with fellow “fair borders” panellists Dr Arama Rata, Andrew Chen and Dr Evelyn Masters at last night’s discussion. Image: Rhahul Bhattarai/PMC

By Rahul Bhattarai

Author and researcher David Hall has criticised anti-immigration rhetoric in New Zealand’s housing crisis, saying a more serious problem is “Pākehā leaders … failing to take action”.

Speaking at a panel discussion at Auckland University of Technology last night, Dr Hall, editor of the book Fair Borders: Migration Policy in the 21st Century, said harm and hurt from such rhetoric created side effects impacting on migrants.

Negativity directed towards home buyers with Chinese sounding surnames diverted attention from “long lines of people with British sounding surnames” that held and continued to hold powerful and influential positions over the housing issue.

Although there is an ethnic dimension to housing crises, he said that the most significant issue was that “Pākehā leaders supported by electorates with Pākehā majorities [were] failing to take action.”

Dr Hall, senior researcher of AUT’s Policy Observatory, was joined by three of the book’s contributors, Andrew Chen, Dr Arama Rata and Dr Evelyn Masters, to discuss how New Zealand’s borders impacted on its citizens, recent immigrants, and on people barred from the country.

Dr Hall said that over emphasis and over simplification of the role of immigration was not just a way of avoiding taking action, it was a way of avoiding responsibility for taking action and that helped nobody – “not even Pākehā and I say that as a Pākehā myself”.

-Partners-

He pointed out that one continuous theme was the failure of successful decision makers to make the tough decision that might have made a difference, such as the mayors of Auckland going back to the 1990s or the housing ministers.

“There is bit of pattern here,” he said.

‘Tricky’ issues
Dr Hall said that house prices had been rising since 1990s and only eight years ago there were more people leaving the country than were arriving, yet the house prices rose during the negative migration period.

The issue was “very tricky” with some of the genuine social strains such as housing affordability and policy and its relationship to migration.

The debate treated “immigration as an economic medicine that might taste a little bad and people just need to put up with which also doesn’t do anything to address peoples’ genuine worries”.

This was not his story to tell as no one ever challenged him based on the colour of his skin.
“As a Pākehā this isn’t really my story to tell because no one ever challenges me on whether I belong here, no one ever suggests to me that I shouldn’t be speaking English in public and no one tells me to leave by virtue of my appearance but this happens all the time to people,” he said.

Dr Arama Rata, a research officer at the University of Waikato, said that in New Zealand there was a border in place which was established by the invaders.

Māori border ignored
But the “Māori border has been ignored, a new imposition of state authority is being imposed, borders have been closed around the nation state to allow certain desirable white migrants in and to exclude others, and now we have a very secure racist structure in place”.

She said borders needed to be in place but, “it should be controlled more by our values rather than just purely economic incentives and the way I think we need to stop framing immigration as a problem”.

Dr Evelyn Masters, with Pākehā lineage and Cook Islands heritage that she is really proud of, said she struggled in explaining her New Zealand identity because people judged her based on her appearance.

Dr Masters, research manager of NZ Institute for Pacific Research, said people struggled to understand that she had multiple lineage in her blood line and wanted to be known as a New Zealander.

She did not have to be just one race because she looked brown, she said.

“I just want to say that I am a New Zealander, because my experience is I am multiple – I have brown people and white people in my family, why do I have to be just one as you see me.”

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Gender and diversity research at AUT turns 10

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Gender and diversity research at AUT turns 10

By Helen Twose in Auckland

Auckland University of Technology’s Gender and Diversity Research Group has reached a significant milestone, celebrating 10 years of research and debate on gender and diversity issues within the community.

Formed in 2007 with the aim of establishing a network of researchers within (and beyond) AUT who share an interest in gender and diversity, the research group has developed a thriving research community the institution and internationally through an active research programme of applied and theoretical research, and contributing to new approaches to gender and diversity research in the academic community.

The group commemorated the significant milestone with a research day that included reflection and looking backwards as well as looking forward and imagining new futures for gender and diversity research, said Professor Judith Pringle, founder of the Gender and Diversity Research Group.

“Particularly pleasing was the high attendance from a broad range of people, from academics to those outside the university, including business community and NGOs, who have a very high commitment to reducing inequality among groups, organisations and society,” Professor Pringle said.

Beginning with a keynote from Professor Pringle looking at the evolution of gender and diversity research over the last 30 years, which has fed into the strong establishment of gender and diversity research at AUT, the day included an in-depth discussion from emerging scholars looking at the importance of Māori research and knowledge and its place in academia, the #MeToo movement, and the role of arts in gender and diversity research.

Turning to the future, the group envisioned an “ideal” world without gender and diversity inequality, and how to get there. In the words of one participant: “My two favourite ideas I took from the day are the need to build strong networks within your community of work and the re-imagining of research”.

Event organisers, Dr Katherine Ravenswood and Dr Barbara Myers, said that while the group’s success and longevity was significant – especially in an environment which has seen the demise of Women’s Studies programmes and research groups at universities in New Zealand – it was also confronting.

Valuing Te Ao Māori research
In spite of increased attention to issues of discrimination, the topics addressed on the day, such as sexual harassment, the valuing and contribution of Te Ao Māori research, gendered occupational segregation and glass ceilings, were just as pertinent as 10 years ago.

“The need for the critical, brave research this research group conducts has not diminished. As participants discussed we need to continue to build communities, develop new research methodologies, and to continue to tell the stories and experiences of women from a feminist perspective,” they said.

Key research undertaken by the group includes :

  • Submission on the 2017 Draft Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill and research into the gendered valuing of work
  • Research into the careers of older women self-initiated expatriates
  • Commissioned research into women’s careers in the professions, such as law
  • Supporting the development of feminist teaching and research through development workshops
  • Postgraduate scholarships to encourage new and emerging researchers

The Daily Blog: Jacinda’s Waitangi Day 2018 aroha creating a Māori legacy relationship

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: The Daily Blog: Jacinda’s Waitangi Day 2018 aroha creating a Māori legacy relationship

Cartoon: © Malcolm Evans/The Daily Blog

OPINION: By Martyn Bradbury, editor of The Daily Blog

Waitangi Day 2018 smells different doesn’t it?

It tastes different too.

No bitter “Māori privilege” nonsense from Don Brash and his shallow racism.

No spiteful “Let’s have a NZ day so we don’t have to feel guilty about the Treaty” whining from newspaper editorials.

READ MORE: PM Jacinda Ardern makes historic speech at Waitangi

No constant media barking up of predictions of aggression and protest.

-Partners-

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s desire to show Waitangi Day the respect it deserves with a 5-day tour visiting every marae large and small alongside ministers meekly lined up to do the BBQ cooking for Waitangi Breakfast is building a movement of aroha among Māori which will create a legacy relationship that is going to dominate Māori politics.

The electricity when she visits marae is palpable and extraordinary. Her incredible ability to connect emotionally with people has generated a rapport among those packed marae she has visited in a way that will earn her devotion among voters while forgiving any shortcomings.

Political lifetime
If she makes this 5-day tour an annual event she will build a following that will see Māori voting Labour because of their relationship with Jacinda for her entire political lifetime.

Her being pregnant is just the emotional icing, Māori in Northland have taken to Jacinda with nothing short of joy and her visiting everywhere has conjured up an excitement that will bind.

They will speak about Jacinda passing through for decades to come.

This personal relationship is going to cement Labour Party dominance of the Māori electorates leaving any resurgent Māori Party under a new leader like Dr Lance O’Sullivan with only the right for political movement because Labour will totally dominate the Māori vote on the general roll and the Māori roll.

With Jacinda building a huge reservoir of Māori voter support and the Māori faction inside Labour now one of the most powerful factions inside Labour, this puts the Iwi Leaders Forum, the Māori King and the Public Service all in a troubling position.

Many Māori live in urban areas and are not tribe affiliated. Their needs for better social services, jobs and the legacy issues created by colonialism trump Treaty deals which is offside to the goals of the Māori King or the Iwi Leaders Forum. With urban Māori having a far more powerful voice inside the new government, those movements will need to see any extra resources making a dynamic impact on the poorest.

But there’s another segment who are about to face an existential threat – the Public Service.

Building of fiefdoms
Māori know first hand the structural racism of the social service providers who care more about the building of fiefdoms than the actual welfare of Māori. Already the Public Service is strangling ministers with ministerial suffocation but the new Māori faction aren’t going to accept that.

Māori social service providers offer a wealth of cultural initiatives that bring a holistic view to caring about people and the Public Service will either need to adapt to those new initiatives or they’ll face an ongoing battle with a Māori faction that knows damn well how the Public Service denigrate their people.

The crowds thronging Jacinda on every marae suggest it’s a fight the Public Service are going to lose.

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Film industry sources criticise TVNZ ‘devaluing’ of Māori programmes

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Film industry sources criticise TVNZ ‘devaluing’ of Māori programmes

By Kendall Hutt in Auckland

Independent filmmakers fear a slow erosion of Māori and Pacific content at Television New Zealand has begun.

Their fears have emerged after the role of commissioner for Māori and Pacific programmes was removed from a full-time commissioning role in recent restructuring by TVNZ.

The move has left some within the film and television industry shocked and questioning whether it is ignorance or arrogance.

“Given that we are an increasing demographic, this seems like a mad racist move,” said Joanna Paul (Ngai te Rangi), an independent television producer who was one of the pioneers of the Māori Television Service.

“That TVNZ considers this a part-time job is arrogant and ignorant enough, but given there is more Māori and Pacific programming on air than ever before beggars belief,” Paul said.

She told Pacific Media Watch in August she had “nothing to lose” in bringing TVNZ’s moves to light and calling the public broadcaster to task.

-Partners-

“The only way to stop TVNZ and find some justice is to be open and be transparent to the media.”

Victim of restructure
The role was previously included in the factual entertainment, Māori, Pacific and children’s commissioner role, but recent developments have seen the position reduced from a 0.5 position to a 16-hour-a-week “commissioning consultant” role.

This is despite an internal document provided to Pacific Media Watch, dated June 16, 2017, which stated the role of the commissioner “is a part-time role, which is in line with our current output”.

The commissioning structure, according to the 16 June 2017 document.

The commissioner for Māori and Pacific programmes is responsible for the commission of Māori and Pacific language programmes from the initial “sell” of the programme, right through to production, delivery and its fine-tuning throughout the shows tenure on air.

As the “most senior voice at TVNZ as a Māori”, the commissioner also provides guidance on tikanga Māori across TVNZ’s content team and output, former commissioner Kathryn Graham (Ngati Koroki Kahukura) said.

In the position for 13 years before her exit in July, Graham told Pacific Media Watch the commissioner was also responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders including NZ On Air, Te Māngai Pāho and Ngā Aho Whakaari, along with Māori and Pasifika communities.

TVNZ’s flagship te reo Māori news programme Te Karere.

But one independent Māori producer who did not wish to be named said the way the new role was proposed had potential negative impacts for both Māori content and independent Māori producers.

“It limits the ability of the person in the 0.4 position to truly participate as an integral member of the content team as they will not be present full-time and therefore cannot be involved fully in broader commissioning decisions.

Independent producers affected
“For independent producers making Māori and Pacific content, not having a commissioner available to them full-time is a potential disadvantage as often decisions need to be made quickly, and feedback is required promptly.

“They will have to work around the part-time availability of their commissioner which may impact on their ability to be agile and nimble in their programme making,” they said.

The producer also expressed concern at the disestablishment of the Kaihautu role and Māori programmes department, which they described as a “scaling-down” of TVNZ’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and true partnership, and the “de-prioritising” of Māori and Pacific content.

However, TVNZ spokesperson Georgie Hills said in a statement in response to Pacific Media Watch’s questions that TVNZ was not scaling back its commitment.

“The changes we’ve made to our content team this year do not change our commitment to continue providing New Zealand’s most watched Māori programming.

“Under our new structure, we have created a dedicated role with a singular focus. The new consultant position sits within our content team and specifically oversees TVNZ’s Māori and Pacific content,” Hills said.

Hills added the public broadcaster was proud of its Māori language content, responding to claims it was “scaling-down” its commitment to Te Tiriti.

TVNZ’s ‘scant concern’
“We’re proud of our dedicated Māori language content and we embrace the everyday use of te reo Māori in TVNZ’s broader local content offering.

“We typically air nine hours each week of dedicated Māori programming – 483,000 viewers tuned into at least one of these programmes a week during the financial year of 2017,” she said.

However, Pacific Media Watch’s industry sources claimed TVNZ had scant concern for their statutory obligations.

Under the Broadcasting Act 1989, New Zealand’s Broadcasting Commission is required to reflect and develop the country’s identity and culture, which includes the promotion of Māori language and culture.

“Our commitment to reflecting Māori perspectives is enshrined in legislation, such is the fundamental importance placed on the role we fulfill,” Hills responded to industry criticism.

Although the role is advertised as “commissioning consultant”, Hills added TVNZ was open to the time being 0.4 or 0.5 and that the title of the role was “immaterial in the big picture”.

“It will depend on the skills and capability the individual candidate brings to the role. We’re flexible. If our output increases, so will the role.”

‘Unrealistic job description’
But despite TVNZ’s assurances, some remain fearful the role will be disestablished.

“I predict they will scrap the role entirely using the reason they cannot find a suitable candidate,” Graham told Pacific Media Watch.

This was criticised by both Paul and Pacific Media Watch’s anonymous source, who said an “unrealistic job description” illustrated a lack of respect and priority for the role, placing “inherent limitations” on potential applicants.

“The commercially sensitive nature of the role makes it very difficult for anyone to juggle this with other production work, either for TVNZ or any other broadcaster.

“Creating a position which will likely struggle to attract the kind of candidates they are asking for does suggest a lack of respect and priority for the role,” one source said.

TVNZ first advertised the role on November 7, but it has been readvertised and the closing date has been extended from November 28, December 8 through to January 15, 2018.

“It’s a key role and it takes time to find the right candidate with the highly specialist skills we’re after. We’ve advertised, put the call out to our own network of contacts, the production community and have taken recommendations from within the industry,” Hills stated.

‘Conflict of interest’
Since Graham’s exit in July, the role has been overseen by the general manager of content creation, while Scotty Morrison (Ngati Whakaue) has been available to provide expert advice and guidance.

This is not the first time the general manager has overseen Māori and Pacific programming, one source told Pacific Media Watch.

A former TVNZ staffer who did not wish to be named said that for 15 years Māori and Pacific programmes had no commissioner at all and had successfully been overseen by the general manager.

“We count ourselves immensely fortunate to have somebody of Scotty’s skills to call on. His te reo and tikanga expertise have been invaluable to our content team,” Hills said.

However, Morrison and TVNZ have been criticised by Pacific Media Watch’s industry sources for a “conflict of interest”.

This is due to the fact that Morrison, along with his wife, fellow broadcaster Stacey Morrison, does consultancy work for shows with Māori content.

With the role of Māori and Pacific programmes commissioner hanging in the balance, Pacific Media Watch’s industry sources say TVNZ’s restructuring means a conduit for Māori and Pacific voices is being lost.

TVNZ ‘devaluing role’
“TVNZ is devaluing the role and putting it aside. It is symbolic of chipping away at Māori programming,” Pacific Media Watch’s independent Māori producer said.

“The lack of a commissioner is a another kind of door shutting. It’s a total disservice to Māori,” Graham reflected.

Ngā Aho Whakaari did not respond to several requests for comment.

The Directors and Editors Guild of NZ declined to comment.

Kendall Hutt is contributing editor of the Pacific Media Centre’s Pacific Media Watch freedom project.

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Gideon Levy: New Zealand, one state for two nations

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Gideon Levy: New Zealand, one state for two nations

ANALYSIS: By Gideon Levy in Auckland

Late-morning light bathed the landscape in bold colors. It’s early summer here, and the sun was already very strong, broiling. It’s also the season in which the pohutukawa trees burst into crimson blossoms along the roadside.

The view from the heights of this Auckland suburb of Orakei is breathtaking, like almost every place in the beautiful country of New Zealand: an azure bay, endless green meadows, homes, boats and of course sheep.

Only a few skyscrapers spoil the horizon, on the other side of the bay.

The sound of birdsong sliced through the silence. An Australian magpie was perched on a structure atop a hill, singing a song unlike any I’d ever heard in my life. The landscape was equally inimitable. The colours of the magpie, black and white, blended with the black and white of the structure, which serves as a marker for ships at sea.

Soon another magpie arrived, and the two began singing to each other, a serenade for two magpies, a hypnotic duet, before flying away.

Unavoidably, Israeli poet Nathan Zach’s “A Second Bird” leaped to mind: “A bird of such wondrous beauty I shall never see again / Until the day I die.”

-Partners-


Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy’s message for New Zealanders. Video: PalestineHumanRights

Father of social welfare
On the slope below, close to the waterline, is the tomb of New Zealand’s 23rd prime minister, Michael Joseph Savage, with a large stone obelisk rising over it. Savage, who served as the country’s first-ever Labour prime minister, from 1935 to 1940, is considered to be the father of its social-welfare policy.

He was laid to rest here in 1940, at Bastion Point on the coast, a gesture of esteem for someone who became a beloved figure to his nation. “The New Zealander of the century,” The New Zealand Herald called him.

But the hill above the grave site of the adored premier is fraught with a more recent, different and painful history. Forty years ago, hundreds of people barricaded themselves here for 506 days. They were Māori from the Ngahi Whatua tribe, and were joined by white human-rights activists who came to show solidarity with them in what was called an “occupation” but was actually a liberation.

It was an indigenous display of protest and independence, revolving around ownership of the land on which we were now standing, above Bastion Point. The so-called occupation lasted from January 5, 1977, until May 25, 1978, when the protesters were evicted, ending 17 months of a determined civilian, nonviolent struggle.

Some 230 people were arrested during the eviction, but no one was hurt. The event became a milestone in New Zealand history.

A television report broadcast here on that May day when the occupiers were evacuated carries the voices and the images. On film, the site looks more like Woodstock than like Umm al-Hiran, the Bedouin town in the Negev where a villager and an Israeli policeman were killed last January.

In the footage, hundreds of unarmed New Zealand police and soldiers are seen quietly removing the demonstrators, who had camped here for almost a year and a half in order to restore the land to its Māori owners. No blood is shed, no violence erupts; there’s only singing and weeping.

Model of nonviolence
The activists later claimed that the police had orders to open fire at them, but that didn’t happen: The officers were unarmed throughout the eviction. The reporter likened the convoy of police vehicles arriving at the site to a military convoy in World War II, no less, but to Israeli eyes, which have seen violent evictions in the Negev and in the territories, the Bastion Point incident is a model of nonviolence and civil resistance.

The only fatality was little Joanne, a 5-year-old Māori girl who died in a blaze caused by a heating stove that the protesters on the hill lit on a cold winter night in one of the makeshift structures they lived in – tents, trailers and huts.

Near the place where she died, on the lower slope of the hill, stands a memorial to Joanne Hawke – a Māori sculpture and a commemorative sign that tells her story.

The Negev Bedouin have reason to be envious of the Māori achievements and of the solidarity that some of the white European population, known as Pakeha in the Māori language, have demonstrated for them. In the end, the land in question was returned to its Māori owners, even though they are not permitted to build on it.

Bastion Point is now the greenest hill in the vicinity of Auckland, a nature reserve and a national heritage site for the country’s indigenous people. Atop the hill today is a small Māori village with well-kept homes in a uniform style, among them the house of the leader of that protest 40 years ago, Joseph Hawke, the uncle of Joanne. He was a two-term Labour member of Parliament, serving until 2002, and is now a homebody. His son, Parata Hawke, told us the story of the hilltop protest his father led. He was a boy then, and thought his dad was taking him on a picnic.

The younger Hawke, a social activist who has nine daughters, is a handsome man in his fifties, head shaved with only a ponytail in the back, adorned with a traditional wooden ornament. Barefoot and wearing shorts, Parata Hawke first speaks in the Māori language before switching to English. His family’s original surname was Haka, but his father anglicised it, like many other Māori.

The television in the guest room in his parents’ home, where he’s now staying, is tuned to Al Jazeera in English. He serves his guests homemade bread with butter. A magnificent Māori singer, named Paitangi, with a tattooed chin, will accompany him in her powerful voice, at a solidarity rally with the Palestinian people (where I was speaking).

Collection of Māori weapons
Parata Hawke is active in that movement and is well informed about events in the Middle East. He has a collection of ancient Māori wooden weapons, including a 300-year-old spear, which he forbids strangers to touch.

Roger Fowler, who was active in New Zealand’s large-scale movement against the Vietnam War in the 1960s, was present during the entire “occupation”. He married his Māori bride, Lyn Doherty, on the hill in the midst of the protest. In recent years he’s been a vigorous and determined activist for Palestinian rights.

Last weekend he took part in a demonstration of hundreds of people outside the American consulate in the city, against the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. When the Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er took part in a tournament in Auckland some years ago, Fowler threw a tennis ball onto the court in an attempt to disrupt the match.

He also took part in a raucous demonstration against the apartheid regime in South Africa when that country’s rugby team played at Eden Park, Auckland’s largest rugby stadium, in 1981. It was the South African team’s last game in New Zealand before the regime changed. And speaking of rugby – every match here begins with the haka, the Māori war dance.

About 750,000 residents of New Zealand are Māori, 17 percent of the population. In most realms of life, the Arab citizens of Israel, whose proportion within the population is roughly the same, can only envy them. There are no Māori ghettos, Māori are well integrated into society, mixed marriages are a matter of routine, and at Auckland’s international airport visitors are greeted by typical Māori artwork and murals. There are also five Māori universities in New Zealand.

Nevertheless, Parata Hawke says that his people are still in the midst of a battle for their land, their heritage and their national honour. It’s a war of attrition, he says.

“They stole our land and killed our people,” he explains, “and until the occupation of the hill, no one even talked about it.” For the Palestinians, he suggests nonviolent resistance. “If we take another route, we’ll lose.”

Elections defeat
The Māori Party sustained a defeat in the last election, in September, not managing to get even one seat at the House of Representatives, the country’s legislature, which, like Israel’s, has 120 members; most Māori vote Labour. But Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the new centre-left Labour-Green-NZ First government, is the son of a Māori father and a mother of Scottish origin.

The road to having an Arab foreign minister in Israel is still very long.

The foreign minister of New Zealand’s “big sister”, Australia, is not an aboriginal. Julie Bishop is white, industrious and ambitious. She receives the guest from Israel warmly and courteously in her office in the Parliament building in Canberra. She even plies the stranger who has come to meet her with gifts: stuffed kangaroo and koala bear toys.

Our conversation takes place off the record, but her position on the Palestinian issue wouldn’t shame any Israeli right-wing leader. It’s easy to see why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu felt so comfortable on his visit to Australia last February. Hard-right MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) would feel equally at home here.

Australia’s Jewish lobby wields dramatic influence. Almost every new MP is invited on an “informational” trip to Israel, along with many journalists. And signs of the Israeli propaganda machine are hard to miss here.

Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who has changed his views since leaving office, also points to the large donations that Jewish activists make to the two big parties when explaining Australia’s one-sided approach.

Carr is one of the few politicians in Australia to have a balanced approach to Israel and the Palestinians, who is not a member of the Greens.

Coalition anomaly
Mark Coulton, deputy speaker of Australia’s House of Representatives, a member of the National Party that is part of the ruling centre-right coalition, is an anomaly here. He tells us that he returned a few months ago from a visit to the occupied territories – very different from what is seen on the Israeli information tours – and has since become one of the independent, exceptional voices in the House against the Israeli occupation.

Coulton, himself a farmer, was especially shocked by the attitude of the occupation authorities toward Palestinian agriculture. He won’t forget the farmers he met from the Qalqilyah area of the West Bank who can’t access their land because it’s on the wrong side of the security barrier, or the shortage of water they suffer – in contrast to the abundance of water in the Jewish settlements – and the butchered olive trees.

In Australia, in any event, the Israeli occupation can go on celebrating. Its only opponents, pretty much, are the Greens.

Beautiful Australia, with its beaches and its affable people, is occupied with other matters. A major furore erupted here recently when it emerged that some members of the House and the Senate hold dual citizenship, sometimes even without being aware of it. Now they have to resign.

On the margins of that storm there were also some who asked about the question of dual loyalty of Australia’s Jews, although that question did not come up for public debate. The Jewish establishment there can go on activating its effective, aggressive pro-Israel lobby without interruption. “Israel, right or wrong,” is its slogan, I’m told.

All of that is forgotten as though it’s air on Karekare Beach, about an hour’s drive from Auckland. The sand here is black with bits of glittering iron; the landscape is rocky and wild. This is where Jane Campion’s film The Piano, with its unforgettable landscapes, was filmed.

Now, in early summer, the beach is empty. Here, on the shores of the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand, opposite the cliff and the rocks, the waves and the black sand, almost everything is forgotten amid nature’s ravishing beauty.

Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. He joined Haaretz in 1982, and has won many awards. He recently visited Australia and New Zealand on a lecture tour.

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Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Why the Maori Party failed

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Why the Maori Party failed

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Why the Maori Party failed

Dr Bryce Edwards.

So it’s haere ra to the Maori Party. But some are also saying good riddance. Nowhere is the divide over the Maori Party’s exit from Parliament starker than on social media, where there’s been satisfaction as well as sorrow – see my blog post, Top tweets on the demise of the Maori Party

Should we mourn or celebrate the ejection of the Maori Party from Parliament at the weekend? Perhaps the answer lies in understanding why the Maori Party has failed.

Did the Maori Party become too much a part of the elite?

Maori Crown Settlements.

Saturday’s result was, in many ways, simply the final nail in the coffin. The party hit its high point back in 2008 when it won five of the seven Maori seats. But since then it has been on a steep decline, going down to four MPs in 2011 (after the departure of Hone Harawira), then to just two MPs in 2014, and now none. So, its demise has been in train for quite a while.

Essentially the party’s continued alignment with the centre-right National Party has been a source of controversy for some time and is key in understanding the party’s problems.

Increasingly, commentators from across the political spectrum have identified the Maori Party’s long-term decline as being related to its conservative ideological and strategic approach. Regardless of the merits of the Maori Party attempting to position itself as an insider party, rather than automatically associated with the political left, it’s an approach that is out of sync with the vast majority of the Maori electorate.

John Moore argues today that essentially the Maori Party transformed itself into a vehicle for collaboration with political forces of the right and Establishment – see his blog post: The Maori Brexit – Why the Maori Party has been wiped from parliament.

According to Moore, “The Maori Party has been accused of being aligned with a growing Maori corporate class, as well as with the so called Maori iwi (tribal) elite. In contrast, Maori voters, who tend to lean leftwards economically and traditionally, gave their vote to Labour instead. It seems that many Maori have decided to ditch the Maori party once and for all. Most Maori are poor working people at best, or situated in New Zealand’s growing underclass. The fact that Labour has trumped the Maori Party in all the Maori electorates, suggests that class and material interests – or ‘bread and butter’ issues – have overridden cultural and indigenous concerns within the Maori electorates.”

Moore forecast the demise of the party earlier in the year, suggesting that the departure of Willie Jackson and John Tamihere to Labour extinguished any chance of the Maori Party being able to “present a more urban and working class image to the Maori electorate” – see: Game over for kaupapa Maori parties.

Likewise, yesterday’s Herald editorial discusses whether Maori need a separate political party, and points out that “while the Maori Party has functioned as a link between the Government and the Iwi Leaders’ Forum, it has steadily lost the confidence of Maori voters”- see: Can the Maori Party survive?

Criticism that the Maori Party was, primarily, the political voice of the Iwi Leader’s forum has been around for many years. Way back in 2010 Annette Sykes gave the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture on The Politics of the Brown Table, in which she comprehensively examined the strategy that both iwi leaders and the Maori Party had adopted.

The idea that the Maori Party has become focused on “the things that don’t matter to Maori” has been pushed by the Labour Party as well as a number of political commentators. For example, recently Willie Jackson wrote: “Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox need to stop wasting time trying to get ASB to boycott Mike Hosking and spend more time on trying to get those banks to invest in our local communities” – this is highlighted by Morgan Godfery in his pre-election blog post, Please don’t tell Don Brash, but the Maori Party could decide the next government.

Morgan also points to the Maori Party’s failures on issues of housing and homelessness in Flavell’s own electorate, which the Labour candidate Tamati Coffey was able to expose.

Others have pointed (more sympathetically) to Flavell’s distance from the type of world that most Maori voters live in. For example, Graham Cameron blogs from the Waiariki electorate to say, “there is a small community of us in Tauranga Moana for whom that is our world, a world that is boundaried by te reo Maori, tikanga, kawa, whakapapa, raupatu, wananga, kura and kohanga reo. Most Maori in our electorate and round the country are clearly not immersed in that daily, so Te Ururoa must have seemed a bit distant and unrelatable” – see: Election reflections. NB potentially unpopular.

The role of the Labour Party in the Maori Party’s defeat

There should be no doubt that the Labour Party set out to destroy the Maori Party – not because it would get them more seats (and it didn’t) – but rather to deny National a potential coalition partner. And, it may have worked exactly as planned. After all, not only did Willie Jackson prove to be an important part of Labour’s campaign strategy, but it has to be remembered that he was set to stand in Tamaki Makaurau for the Maori Party. If that had happened then the Maori Party would possibly still be in Parliament. As I pointed out in February, the poaching of Jackson was a deft strategic move by Labour – see: Willie Jackson changes the game.

Generally, across all the electorates and across the country there was a big swing to Labour, but especially in Te Tai Tokerau, where Kelvin Davis easily staved off Hone Harawira’s attempt to re-take the seat. Being the deputy leader of Labour obviously helped Davis, but it also gave reassurance to Maori that they weren’t going to continue to be marginalised within the Labour Party which, in essence, is why the Maori Party gained traction in the first place.

In the short to medium term this will make it very hard for the Maori Party to come back in the Maori seats over Labour. Having comfortable wins in all the Maori seats, the deputy leader position and a substantial Maori presence in the caucus – including experienced operators like Jackson – will ensure that there is no repeat of the Foreshore and Seabed experience in the foreseeable future.

So, did the Maori Labour candidates kill the Maori Party? Tamati Coffey answered that question on Saturday night, saying: “It wasn’t me who killed the Maori Party – it was the voters” – see Mark Jennings’ article, Video key to Tamati Coffey’s win.

Can the Maori Party be revived?

The Maori Party is promising that it will be back. And attention is now turning to the future of the party, possibly under Marama Fox and the highly-regarded Lance O’Sullivan, who recently committed himself as a candidate for the party in 2020. Other possibilities to take over the co-leadership from Flavell include former broadcaster Shane Taurima and current Mana Party leader Hone Harawira – see Claire Trevett’s Maori Party starts on long road to try rebuilding by 2020 after being booted out of Parliament.

This article also reports that Tariana Turia is determined to come out of retirement to “save the party”. But many will question whether that might make things worse, given that she was largely responsible for the elite-oriented strategy that has failed so badly. The fact that she now has a knighthood bestowed on her by the National Government for her services will not impress many working class Maori voters.

Similarly, while Lance O’Sullivan would obviously be a popular pick to be co-leader of the party, his conservative views on the health system might reinforce to Maori voters that the party is too close to the establishment. For example, in talking about his political future, O’Sullivan said last week that he wanted to put a five-year freeze on health spending, even if that lead to job losses in the sector, as he said “I think we waste about $2-3 billion a year on inefficiencies” – see Newshub’s New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan wants ministerial role.

Do Maori want separate representation?

It would be very surprising if the Maori Party, or a version of it, does not contest the Maori seats at the next election. But such was the scale of the defeat this year, it may take a few election cycles to regain traction.

However, there must be a question mark hanging over how much a Maori-only party resonates with the target voter base. At the moment it seems Maori voters have given a very strong message that it doesn’t. Voters appear to be very happy with the fact that every party in Parliament has a strong Maori contingent of representatives. And the Maori Party’s argument that these MPs are somehow less attentive to Maori needs has not been borne out.

Others aren’t convinced however, that Maori MPs can deliver if they are in broader parties – see Shannon Haunui-Thompson’s What happens without a Maori voice?  and Kahu Kutia’s What is a government without the Maori or Mana parties?

Funnily enough, the Maori Party has, at times, taken a more pan-ethnic approach, despite what it argues about being a dedicated Maori party. It has had non-Maori run as candidates in elections before, and as Damon Salesa describes very well, the party underwent an interesting but not very successful collaboration during this election, fielding candidates from the One Pacific party – see: The Maori Party’s Pacific path.

Saturday’s result should also now trigger some introspection from the media and political commentariat, which largely failed to predict Flavell’s defeat in Waiariki.

Part of the problem was the Maori TV opinion polls published in the lead up to the election, which had some electorates right but some horribly wrong. The Maori TV/Reid Research poll showed that Flavell had the support of 60 per cent of Waiariki voters, against only 40 per cent for Coffey. Similarly, in Te Tai Hauauru, the Maori Party’s Howie Tamati was projected to win with 52 per cent support, against Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe on only 39 per cent.

So there are obviously issues to be resolved with polling the Maori seats. For example, the dependence on landlines is a real problem in the Maori seats because young and poor are much less likely to have landlines.

There was one person who got it completely right. John Armstrong wrote: “Will the Maori Party survive? Goodbye Te Ururoa Flavell. The Maori Party currently holds only one of the seven Maori electorates. A resurgent Labour Party is about to reduce that number to zero” – see: Betting on election outcome a fool’s game, but scenarios don’t look good for Bill English.

Finally, for a satirical look back at the Maori Party’s time in Parliament, see my blog post, Cartoons about the Maori Party, 2004-17.