The Ministry of Maori Development (TPK) will be cut back by National with the Maori Party left standing around handing out the redundancy notices and copping all the flack. As they should - it's their own managerial ineptitude that has led them to a position under the table. Picking through the crumbs, trying to claim what great hospitality the Tories have shown them has now turned to sucking up the pile of smashed eggs the Nats have biffed on the floor and pretending it's an omlette. No-one is buying it.
As Morgan Godfery surmises it will mean less services, not better or more efficient:
If the government decides to go ahead with a demolition job on TPK the quality of advice Ministers and government agencies receive will be poor to pathetic. The DPMC doesn’t have the in-house capabilities to properly and expertly advise Ministers on Maori issues. No other government agency has the in-house capabilities either. The result will be a government that fumbles Maori issues.
Ordinary Maori will also be hit. Many Maori will lose their jobs if, or when, regional offices are closed. Maori trying to access TPK services, like business grants and advice, will have to deal with a decreased service.
This is not to say aspects don't need to change or improvements can't be had with the department. Sometimes it's hard to know what TPK does sometimes because they have such a wide mandate and it may be tempting to think because they are spread so thin across so much that they don't have an impact or an effect.
From what I have observed often they seem to be used by Maori insiders and the elite to get their own way (because TPK staff are related or have an interest in the issues they are dealing with) and also used (and scapegoated) by the Pakeha elite to enable the Crown's agenda
Sometimes I wonder why other agencies or Maori institutions aren't empowered to deal with issues in the scope of TPK and I wonder whether TPK's existence is more to hinder and manipulate than to assist and develop. Is the existence of TPK an excuse not to delegate issues to better suited institutions? Is TPK's existence an excuse not to incorporate or value or bother to understand and recognise the Maori things that should be valued as a matter of course in all government departments? These are the questions I'm asking, but I doubt the Nat's or Treasury can see past the budget bottom line when they run their ruler across it; or run their ruler through it in this case.
Then again the same criticisms of responsiveness, competency and rationale could be said of other Crown agencies nominally working to assist Maori, eg. The Maori Trustee. But will reducing the TPK service do anything to advance Maori wellbeing? Of course not - that's all supposed to be done (through the patronising prism of 'welfare') by the Whanau Ora policy. One step forward must be met with another step back to make sure Maori are held in check - that is the trade off.
But here the Whanau Ora Minister, Tariana Turia, would have expected to have been in alignment with the Minister of TPK, Pita Sharples, on this balancing act - and it has been mishandled badly. The threat to walk over the privatisation policy is a thankful political diversion for the Maori Party, but support is still ebbing away no matter what they do as long as they cling to National.
The Maori Party ought to be in some position of strength because of National's precarious numbers - being one lost by-election away from a hung parliament otherwise - but despite the ammunition, the high ground and the vulnerability of the other party, they are fumbling around like Dad's Army. This is due entirely to the lack of a brains trust and a spine following Hone Harawira's eviction.
If Sharples is Capt. Mainwaring and Turia Sergeant Wilson then Corporal Jones is either (or both given the pair's plotting to topple Sharples) the third MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, or President Pem Bird - running about behind the scenes no doubt emploring Pita not to panic. Hopelessness. As an indication of what little impression the Maori Party make, I note Corporal Flavell can't even get his own backyard sorted out:
Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell said a decision by the Rotorua District Council not to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on Waitangi Day this year was "a blatant disregard" of what had been recommended at a hui on the issue.
Flavell, who attended the hui, said there had been "a general consensus" that the Tino Rangatiratanga flag should fly this year on Waitangi Day.
"Te Arawa might well ask what's the point in turning up to hui if in the end your decisions are not considered," Flavell said.
... says the guy who conducted a series of hui on the foreshore and seabed bill that was supposed to be consultation, but where he presented the re-confiscation of the foreshore and seabed as a done deal and then proceeded to ignore his own constituents and ram through National's bill! He has no right whatsoever to criticise given he did the same thing over an issue a trillion times more important than choosing flags to fly on one day of the year.
"Te Arawa people give considerable mana to the Te Arawa standing committee so it is important for the district council to honour that mana and work with the people rather than against them."
...says the guy who voted to put up GST and sold out - wholesale. He has no credibility on these issues considering his conduct in the last parliament. The only flag he'll be flying is a white one.