MANA Leader Hone Harawira

Meinga meinga – in a classic case of 21st century colonialism, Labour leader Andrew Little became a self-acclaimed expert on “kaupapa Maori” and got roundly chopped down by every Maori in the country except his “loyal Maori caucus MPs”.

For everyone’s information, Andrew Little doesn’t understand Maori, he can’t speak Maori properly, and he doesn’t know what “kaupapa Maori” is.

What he does know however is that Labour have hung grimly on to the Maori seats for so long that they think they own them and that Maori people should be happy to have a party like Labour to vote for, and he hates the thought of uppity Maori daring to speak for themselves.

This from a party that has never had a Maori leader, that sold off state assets which destroyed Maori communities built on fishing and forestry all round the country, that gave us GST which has deepened poverty within Maori communities, that broke up the unions which were the only protection Maori workers ever had, began the sale of state houses which forced Maori out of homes they’ve lived in for generations and led to the staggering levels of homelessness we face now, and introduced no go areas for beneficiaries which forced thousands of Maori to move away from their homelands and lose their lands and their homes through non-payment of rates and mortgages. Labour and “kaupapa Maori” have clearly been strangers for many years.

And funnily enough, Labour is the party that demoted Matiu Rata who left to form Mana Motuhake, and then stole the foreshore and seabed which led to the biggest Maori protest in the country’s history and saw Tariana Turia walk away to form the Maori Party.

Labour and “kaupapa Maori” go together like vinegar and ice cream.

Such is the history of the party whose leader prattles on about “kaupapa Maori”. And as for Mr Little – what exactly has he done to reverse any of devastation his party has caused? Nothing.

Oh no, sorry, he did do something – he launched Willie Jackson into the stratosphere of the Labour Party list. Wonderful job Andrew! And he announced it at Waitangi too – very clever.

But where did Willie land? Why, right on top of the heads of Andrew’s “loyal Maori caucus MPs” who have been slogging their guts out for years for Labour, and have been rewarded by being shunted down the list to make room for Willie. Nice one Andrew – very “kaupapa Maori”.

Now I like Willie. He was a bolshie MP when he was in there for Mana Motuhake (oops …), he’s been a strong advocate for urban Maori, and an excellent advocate for Maori issues in the media.

But the fact is that Andrew Little didn’t consult with his “loyal Maori caucus MPs” about giving Willie a slot that would push them off the list. And from what I hear he didn’t consult with Peeni Henare about offering Willie the seat Peeni won in Tamaki. Very “kaupapa Maori” there Andrew.

Which brings me to my other point about what Andrew Little doesn’t know …

Last week Andrew Little said “…the Māori MPs are saying to me right now do not give us high list places, we want to fight this out and stand on our own digs in our seats because we know we’re going to win and we’re confident about our success” and then added “They are fearful of a high list place because they don’t want to give the impression that they are kind of being held up by belts and braces.

What a wonderful group of “loyal Maori caucus MPs” you have Andrew, willing to sacrifice their own political futures to satisfy you – except that’s not what they said at all, is it Andrew …

Neither Nanaia Mahuta, MP for Hauraki-Waikato, nor Kelvin Davis, MP for Te Tai Tokerau said they wanted a low list spot. Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe said he hadn’t asked for a low list ranking. And neither did Tamaki MP Peeni Henare, or Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, or Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene.

You see Andrew, regardless of political differences, I get on well with most Labour’s Maori MPs and I know they don’t say things like “we are fearful of a high list place”. That’s the sort of crap their Pakeha leader might say but it’s not something that they would say.

So when RNZ reported that none of them had actually said what Little had claimed on their behalf, I knew straight away that he was being … a Little dishonest.

He got caught out by the media and had to cover for the fact that when Labour’s list gets released, all of his “loyal Maori caucus MPs” will have been shunted so far down that none of them will be able to get back in on the list, and he wanted to cover for that blunder by making it sound like they were pumped and ready for war.

Don’t be surprised if Andrew Little’s “loyal Maori caucus MPs” end up taking themselves off the list anyway. But if they do, it won’t be because they’re falling in behind him. It’ll be because they’re pissed off with how lowly he has ranked them and have decided they’d rather fight than be treated like a Little afterthought.

Andrew Little doesn’t talk to his “loyal Maori caucus MPs” about bugger all anyway, and he sure didn’t talk to them about how low they will be on the list. The fact is that the expert on “kaupapa Maori” doesn’t even have any Maori MPs in his inner circle.