By Kirihimete of Waiariki Rohe.
We must be prepared to hoe our 2017 Mana Waka on our own and look to position Mana in a positive position for 2017.
From the 2014 election, Labour will be endeavouring to make sure it holds the Maori seats that it won, and will make an all out assault on Waiariki to unseat Flavell and will also endeavour to pour in sufficient funding to prevent the return of Hone.
In a recent newspaper article, Te Ururoa Flavell indicates most strongly that he is aware that the future of the Maori Party rests with him wining Waiariki in 20117 when he writes: “I’m lucky I’ve got great staff in my office so I want to head back to the electorate this year. So much hinges on Waiariki for the Maori Party, I have to win Waiariki to sustain the party.”
If the election looks as if it could be close it will be an odds on bet that the National Party will pour in money in an endeavour to have Flavell win the Waiariki seat so as they have an additional support Party , however, Labour will also think it is in with a chance after coming in second in 2014 so it can be expected that they will spend big to try and take the seat.
The Maori Party itself may well have an elephant in the room however, as the outspoken Marama Fox does not appear to be one who is satisfied playing second fiddle and could well cause problems as she looks to cement her place further up the Maori Party ranks.
Whilst it appears that Annette Sykes may not put her hand up to stand again in Waiariki, I believe that the final decision on this matter should be left as late as possible so as Mana’s opponents have to factor in that she may well stand..
Hone is once again being seen on the Maori news programs which is keeping the Mana brand to the fore in the eyes of supporters and opponents alike..
A matter of vital importance will be getting Maori to enrol and getting them out in numbers to vote. Currently there are some 80,000 Maori not enrolled to vote and this is an area that I believe Mana must look at seriously. If Maori are not enrolled you cannot get their vote.
On the plus side for Mana, the National Party has turned its back on two very important areas of Maoridom The Maori Women’s Welfare League and the New Zealand Maori Council.
Helen Clark as Prime Minister always attended the Maori Women’s Welfare League Conference as did the Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia who usually stayed for the whole conference. On occasions other Ministers also attended. John Key and National Ministers are invited but appear to think it is not worth their while turning up.
Key is also very dismissive of the New Zealand Maori Council, so much so that he had the previous Minister of Maori Affairs Peter Sharples undertake a review of the Maori Community Development Act with the suggested options looking to greatly reduce the Council’s ability to Act on behalf of all Maori or to all but get rid of the Council altogether.
It was also suggested that Maori wardens be removed from the Act, which would have enabled Te Puni Kokiri along with the Police after wasting $20 million plus of wardens funding,to use them as unpaid Policemen. Fortunately, the comments from Maori at consultation hui, along with the large response of written submissions against the Ministers proposals resulted in no action being taken. Maori must stay alert however as it is a given that John Key is opposed to the New Zealand Maori Council, preferring instead his “Iwi Leaders Group” which he seems to be able to convince to pretty much mirror his own thinking in respect to matters Maori. I doubt that the Iwi Leaders Group will ever be as bold as to take the government to Court as has the New Zealand Maori Council with resounding successes.
The New Zealand Maori Council and the Maori Women’s Welfare League are I believe. two organisations that Mana should create bonds with as both hold considerable Mana in the wider Maori world.
I believe that the 2017 election will follow predictable lines, lots of bill boards, arranged political discussions which prevent smaller parties from really being able to promote their true message, and political commentators , concentrating on the “big boys.”
Mana is currently in the enviable position of having to answer to no one and can, should it so wish set out on its 2017 campaign and test the waters from this time forward.. With some “smart” planning, Mana can break the mould in preparation for 2017.
We must start in the area that we know best, which is to build trust and hope within our respective Maori communities and show these communities that they can be masters of their own destiny if they enrol, believe, and most important of all, Vote.
Twenty seats should be our goal in 2017, it is possible if we are SMART!