MANA Māori Way Forward

Ngā mihi o te wā ki a tātou katoa i raro i te manākitanga o te Kaihanga me te rangimarie ki waenganui i a tātou.

The kawenata between the MANA Movement and the Māori Party in February this year showed political maturity by signalling their willingness to put their 2011 differences aside to work together for the good of MĀORIDOM. Tukuroirangi Morgan effortlessly wove together both organisations for the sake of Kotahitanga and the survival of the two near likeminded rōpū. The shared tikanga and responsibilities to Māori people are more binding than the positions that set them apart.

It is important to note that John Key’s manoeuvre to bring onside three minor parties to ensure a majority government was a clever move in the MMP environment. This will be a minimum requirement for future governments to take on board- a kaupapa Māori relationship. Yes , major parties could listen to their own Māori MPs- but history shows they don’t otherwise the Foreshore and Seabed Act would never have gone ahead. Yes, we also accept the heartfelt apologies of all former Māori Labour MPs who voted for the FSSB.

It has also been interesting in the debates, how National, Act and United Future have quoted kaupapa Māori gains as “theirs.“

Both MANA & Māori present an opportunity to create a bigger Māori bloc in the parliamentary arena in the upcoming election. The outcome of September 23rd will determine the future of the relationship between MANA and Māori.

The big question – is Māoridom ready to see MANA – Māori as the key brokers for building a government? Most commentators always default to the 2 big players. But actually the smaller friends network are able to cobble together partnerships to influence political direction.
The Takutai Moana – foreshore and seabed debacle is about to be replayed in the Wai domain. The same arguments from 2004, are being echoed in the debate “who owns the water?” National says “no one “ owns the water, Labour says “everyone “owns the water, MANA – Māori say “Māori” own the water. Watch this space.

This election has been incredibly tough on Māori MPs. Hone Harawira, has built an admirable campaign from scratch and with nil resources from outside parliament. The Ture Whenua amendment campaign created angst in the Māori psyche and admirably with relief it was lifted by Te Ururoa but it will have cost some votes.

Under Andrew Little, the first Māori MP in Labour’s line at number 16 was lawyer Willow Jean Prime. Labour’s Māori Campaign Manager Willie Jackson was able to secure Kelvin Davis to number 2 on the list, to appease some public ill feeling about the demotion of their Māori MPs. Let’s hope it is not a temporary move just to get through the elections.

Metiria Turei a very popular Māori woman leader was ousted by media trial following an admission she flatted with friends while on the benefit. The boys were ok, both Bill English and Winston Peters reimbursing the overpayments, one challenging court action on a snitch. Mika from TOP would have been the best advocate in parliament for fighting youth suicide but unfortunately some internal selection panel relegated him 10th.

Regardless of the outcome between the major parties this Saturday MANA- Māori will need to consider their ongoing relationship with each other, their succession plans, the role and imput of youth and women, a constant and relevant media arm to inform Māoridom of the gains as well as networking with other Māori and awesome MPs in mainstream parties.

MANA-Māori movement must be listening to the people all the time. Multi levels of poverty cause all kinds of grief in our communities. Reo and Tikanga Māori will heal some of the disconnectedness our people suffler. Solutions from the people have greater momentum than those imposed from bureaucracy. Continue the dialogues.

However you still have to ask, why do Māori default to the big parties?
Why do political commentators suggest MANA- Māori is an appendage to Labour or National? Worse, why do we Māori swallow the rhetoric?
At the end of the day, we will have to weigh up the short and long term outcomes.