Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Te Ururoa Flavell fighting the political clutter

Te Ururoa Flavell fighting the political clutter

(Originally published at http://www.themud.co.nz/#!te-ururoa-flavell-fighting-the-clutter/c1hkm)

Te Ururoa Flavell strongly maintains the Maori Party has made real policy gains through its involvement in the National-led Government over the past three years.

The Maori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP met The Mud to discuss Election 2014. Most of the talk focused on the difficulty the Maori Party was having in getting traction in a cluttered political landscape. Some commentators have labelled the Waiariki electorate as the key one to watch in this election.

“The hard part is winning the electorate battle,” he said. “People say we haven’t sold what we have done.”

He says the policy gains the party has made for Maori over the past three years through its influence in government include tax credits for families, parental leave and the extension of free doctor visits to children up to 13 years old.

He says the party’s influence is also apparent in the increased number of trade training places, and in his own gambling bill which, despite having to be amended, did change the rules to reduce harm.

He believes the Maori Party MPs may have focused so much on policy issues and influencing Government that it paid too little attention to both building and maintaining its public profile.

Will the party and Flavell pay the price for that approach at this election?

“The difference I’ve noticed from previous campaigns is that Maori politics [in 2014] is very much about personalities,” said Te Ururoa. “If you are well-known, you are going to be there or thereabouts, no matter if you are a good person or otherwise.

“She (Annette Sykes) is very well known here, she’s got a following and they’ve got a bit of a machine behind them this time, so I would expect her to be formidable.”

But Flavell dismisses Internet Mana as a party with a genuine Maori focus. “Everything we have done is about Maori. We would say Mana is actually a class party.”

He points out that the Maori Party, elected initially in a blaze of indignation about the foreshore and seabed legislation, spent its first three-year term in opposition. Its MPs concentrated on being a strong, independent Maori voice in Parliament with influence on decisions. They learned the ropes but achieved nothing in policy terms.

Re-elected, they found a different situation. “National didn’t need us (to govern),” Flavell said, but they invited the Maori Party to get involved. “The people said yes, you’ve got to be at the table,” he says.

He maintains the party’s agreement with National has delivered gains for Maori, but more recently may have worked against the party. As the co-leader and potentially the most senior MP if he and the party survive the election, Flavell is clear that if a Labour-led government offered the Maori Party a place at the table it would not be rejected out of hand.

“If they support our kaupapa and give us respect, of course we would (participate in a Labour-led government),” he says.

Asked about policy in this election campaign, Flavell illustrates the difficulty the Maori Party faces in “selling” itself to voters. The party has a different approach to policy, he says. Rather than announcing individual items such as free bus travel for schoolchildren, the party promotes whanau-oriented policies, such as improving the education system to work better for whanau with work on such aspects as adult literacy. Similarly, whanau ora is linked with an emphasis on warm houses and safe houses, including a reduction of domestic violence.

In a personality-oriented political world with simple one-line campaign promises, is the Maori Party approach good enough to win? A well-known political commentator (Jane Clifton) wrote how another small party leader, Peter Dunne, was “pathologically reasonable” – and his United Future Party hasn’t exactly gripped the imagination and loyalty of lots of voters.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news