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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dad's Army: Maori Party missing in inaction

The media had a fine time making hay of Hone Harawira's first day on the job faux pas when he missed a third reading vote; but what must we make of the Maori Party's complete absence from the chamber on the first day of the year?

NZHerald: [...]the Maori Party, whose MPs were strangely absent from the House.
Had the Maori Party raised the issue of the Treaty clause in asset sales legislation during negotiations last year on the formation of the Government?

"No," replied Key.

In other words - Peters did not have to spell them out - the Maori Party had failed in its duties.

Brainless and toothless: the Maori Party are a Dad's Army in a position of invasion and combat and they are cracking up to be cracking up.

Te Ururoa Flavell's urging of Maori to go to the courts to thwart the government's privatisation plans were just absurd - the equivalent of Corporal Jones running about with his britches around his ankles pointing his gun back-the-front and making wild jabbing motions at random people. How an MP supporting the government (and with naked ambition to join the Ministry) can say to Maori that the only way to stop the government is to go to court is ridiculous - an admission of his own party's impotence.

Boasting about being at the table and having influence is plainly conceded as an illusion when he makes these sorts of remarks. This is the same MP who helped ram through National's version of the Foreshore and Seabed confiscation with a phony display of consultation. At its core was a denial of the right of Maori to go to Court and now they are playing the same game again, pinning Maori hopes of justice on a flaky process that is a foregone conclusion. On this point I note that not a single venue for the government's consultation hui will be on a marae - it will all be done on Pakeha turf. So much for influence.

And as for Waitangi Day... some things never change.

The media will lead with a 'protest' theme no matter what happened. The headlines are written in advance. And when they can't get pictures of the physical action of protest they just manufacture it: One TV network showed pictures from their camera of a Maori Warden pushing them back - because the camera operator was also part of the group that ran across the Marae atea! The media itself acts as provocateur. They played that scene repeatedly and even used the word "turned violent" to describe the incident. And yet how many arrests were made? None - no mention of any arrests that I can find. Funny how you can have the presence of many police and the armed forces and yet have "violence" break out with no arrests isn't it? Only at Waitangi.

And as for the remarks of the Pakeha-based duopoly parties that have controlled the government in alternating regimes for a century - National and Labour - they merely offer a reflexive regurgitation of the ideology of Pakeha mythology and act as the mouthpiece of the Pakeha version of the so-called Treaty 'grevience industry'.

The new Labour Leader said - startlingly, panderingly - that politics ought to be kept out of Waitangi Day... WTF!? This has been Shearer's first mistake as Opposition Leader. It is an absurd thing to say - that an anniversary of a contested constitution, and consequently the very basis of politics in this country - should be somehow a non-political event. This matter of State is a matter of politics and the presence of politicians shows that this is so, and to deny the political element is ignorant and foolish. However Labour looks, once more, to have assessed the ignorant and foolish vote as being of far greater importance than anyone elses's vote.

As for the PM, John Key's Marae episode was treated with kid gloves by the media, allowing his explanation of leaving early as being caused by protesters. His playing the victim and statement that all he wanted to do was have a debate is a fiction that passed unchallenged.

He was supposedly drowned out by megaphones from a protest contigent when he went to speak. However, given the chances of any protester being allowed a chance to speak into the official microphone seems remote to non-existent, the whole "debate" ruse where he implies he would have listened and then engaged in dialogue just seems preposterous to believe. It was the only chance the protest voice was going to be heard by the elites invited and can they be blamed for telling the necessary (albeit unkind) truths the other dignitaries would not?

What Key was really miffed about is that he didn't have a chance to deliver his scripted Marae banter that he thought would go over well - you can tell that by the jolly aw-shux way he started. And all it was ever going to be was PR - a photo op... politics. We know how shallow his commitment was from his decision to leave and what the people there said about it:

A Waitangi Maori elder says Prime Minister John Key disrespected Maori protocol when he refused to eat at the marae during weekend celebrations.

Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua said Mr Key had spent too long chatting to corporate Maori, rather than eating and speaking with grassroots Maori.

"He didn't stay for a meal and that is totally against our policy that we feed our [guests] when they come on to the marae, even if it's just a cup of tea. It's the idea we bind together and become friends after that."

Mr Key retreated from the lower Te Tii Marae on Sunday after protesters drowned out the official speeches.

He also decided against walking among the Waitangi Day festivities, as he had done in previous years.

Shallow and hollow - a game of politics. The actions of a politician, not a statesman. However, with all that said and for all Key's faults and failings, his commitment to attend Waitangi is still a considerable distance ahead of the petty and pathetic way the previous PM skulked away from Waitangi and banned the Governor-General and the Navy from attending. Small consolations are all that can ever be expected.


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