He Reo o Tai Tokerau, nā Hone Harawira November 16, 2017
Whichever way you cut it, having Kelvin Davis as Acting Prime Minister is a real boost for the Tai Tokerau. Processes are already in place to take care of the mundane activities of running a government, and Kelvin won’t be given authority to do anything outside the norm, but he is the Acting Prime Minister and he’s only the third Māori to hold that title after Sir James Carroll and Winston Peters, so congratulations to Kelvin – an honour for him and for us as well.
And policy announcements from the new government have been positive – no foreign buyers of existing homes, a big regional development budget, an increase in the minimum wage, a commitment to forestry and to carbon farming, and to top it off, giving Teina Pora a cost-of-living adjustment on his compensation.
But it takes a while for a new government to get going – Winston might be out of the country but he’s still firing big shots at National and the Greens have already said they will vote against the government on the TPPA. Newly minted ministers are trying to please everybody who helped them get to the top, putting the brakes on National Party ideas, seeking briefings on their own new initiatives and scrambling to get the best advisers into their offices. Departmental heads will get shuffled to bring in people more supportive of the new way of doing things and government officials who know they’re gonna get the chop or don’t want to serve under the new regime are scrambling for new jobs. And all the while, every man and his dog is trying to get time to talk to ministers about the ‘best idea since sliced bread’.
In the meantime, MANA had an excellent hui a couple of weeks ago, an honest review of the campaign and a look at new challenges for the years ahead. We decided not to commit to a parliamentary future at this time, but to focus on keeping the home-fires burning in the communities we serve, being the voice for those who have no say, and the conscience of those who step across the line.
We also attended the Māori Party hui the following day in Auckland, where it was obvious that change was in the wind but people were still a little unsure as to how to make that happen. I was invited to speak and took the opportunity to thank Māori Party President Tukuroirangi Morgan for creating the environment for MANA and the Māori Party to work together, and for his commitment to the kaupapa of Mana Māori Motuhake.
We also spent a couple of days down in Gisborne to support the Tai Tokerau kapa haka groups at TE MANA Kuratahi Nationals – Rawhitiroa, Whangarei Intermediate, Te Kapehu Whetu, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, and Pukemiro. The time, the energy and the dedication given to kapahaka is unmatched in every other facet of school life. Bottle that and we go some ways to solving Māori underachievement in education.