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Eye To Eye Tackles Three Terms Of Labour

Playing the Political Game

“What the hell has the Clark government done in three terms?” Talkback radio host Bill Ralston, a guest on Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson this week says every Labour government has marked its term in office with landmark legislation. They came close he says, with Closing the Gaps, but they’ve yet to achieve any form of social or economic change.

“This has been a government that’s just decided it’s about staying in power. The first Labour government had the social welfare system, the second Labour government had a packed budget … but this is one of those Labour governments that after three or four terms when it finally ends, that people are going to say, what was it exactly that it did?”

Ralston, teams up with former Labour MP John Tamihere, former Act MP Stephen Franks and Maori comedian Mike King, to provide an insightful and thought provoking analysis of how Labour and the other political parties are doing in the run up to Election 2008.

Ralston says Maori are better off these days despite the high dollar and a massive deficit.

“I think trained monkeys could have run the country in economic terms over the last eight years. I heard Parekura say that Maori were no longer a beneficiary class. I remember 20 years ago when Muldoon did budgets, if you were Maori … cutting benefits would be a blow … because so many were on unemployment benefits. These days I suspect with so much trickle through from iwi settlements and the rise of Maori business, there will be as much interest for Maori,” he said.

John Tamihere says that Labour has run out of puff.

“They’ve got a huge bureaucracy but does it provide robust information to Ministers? There’s just no challenging and testing anymore. Labour’s biggest asset was ‘Teflon Clark’, but she was missing in action on the Foreshore and Seabed and you have people who shoulder the blame. There comes a time when people get sick of it,” said Tamihere.

John Key on the other hand, Tamihere says, has put National’s cards on the table.

“He’s dragged National in to the centre, de-Brashed racism, sorted out the nuclear problem. With Climate Change they were sceptics and now accept it. There are no question marks over national and where they stand. The only question is – are they credible to govern?”

Former Act MP Stephen Franks says Maori have to put their money where they’ll get more bang for their buck.

“If I were Maori I would say crime and welfare are gutting the morale of kids … the party I’d be looking for would be the one that was going to do a good tough love welfare reform, plus get tough on crime, because the people most likely to be the victims of crime, are those in poorer neighbourhoods,” said Franks.

Maori voters says Franks, at the moment do not have a principled person to vote for.

“I have a high regard for the integrity in which Tariana approaches issues - but it’s essentially racist. Essentially every issue is seen through a race filter. But I think there are some ethical things. When she comes out and excuses criminal activities, when they cosy up to Philip Taito Field, - even if he’s not crooked he’s been a man who sees ethical issues in a pretty strange light - I think they make it hard for many Maori who might be tempted to support a Maori Party vote,” he said.

However comedian Mike King says the Maori Party are pawns in the political game.

“They are actually like women in the 50's - they’re being dictated to by the ignorant man and the ignorant man is the Labour party and if they don’t toe the line and they don’t flash their skirts and they don’t dance and look pretty when visitors come round, you will suffer the consequences,” said King.

King says they should take a leaf out of Winston Peters’ book because he doesn’t dance to anyone’s tune but his own.

“The man is a genius politician. He is like a rugby team that wins the world cup every year. He gets a hiding in between World Cup years but come World Cup time that man is at his peak. And trust me if you think Winston is not going to be around after this election, your a moron and an idiot.”

Eye to Eye, the country’s longest running television current affairs programme with a Maori perspective is hosted by controversial and outspoken former Politician Willie Jackson. This week sees Jackson pull together four political commentators, in a head to head no holds barred debate on the political parties.

Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson, TV1, Saturday 0930am


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