Monday 10 May 2021

Hiding He Puapua From Winston May Cost Labour Dearly.

Contemplating Utu? Had Peters known of its existence, he would have fallen upon He Puapua as a gift from God. No one has a more fearsome reputation for “fighting Maori separatism” than Winston. He Puapua, and all it represents, could have been sold to the electorate as the best possible reason for keeping the NZ First “handbrake” in place: the Kiwi voter’s insurance against extremism.

IF (OR SHOULD THAT BE ‘WHEN’) Winston Peters hits the comeback trail, Labour should look to its defences. Having transformed their erstwhile NZ First ally into a sworn enemy, Labour’s leadership will likely be forced to rely on the Greens to keep them in office. That reliance may end up costing Labour much more than anything NZ First ever asked it to pay.

The “crime” for which Peters and his party will be seeking vengeance is the deliberate suppression of the He Puapua Report. I must confess to missing this aspect of the He Puapua story. My assumption was that there were still enough people around Jacinda Ardern with the political smarts to spot the report’s enormous potential for inflicting electoral damage, and that is why it was kept under wraps until the 2020 general election was safely out of the way.

It took a journalist of Richard Harman’s insight and experience to identify the real reason. Writing on his Politik website, Harman put it like this:

“[S]ources close to NZ First believe the decision to keep He Puapua from Cabinet was deliberate. Once it had gone to Cabinet it would have been seen by NZ First’s four Cabinet Ministers and they would have been able to campaign on it; veto it and thus kill it. But now, NZ First are out of Parliament and the document is public.”

Like all shrewd observations, when you see it written down in black and white, Harman’s conclusion seems obvious. Had Peters known of its existence, he would have fallen upon He Puapua as a gift from God. No one has a more fearsome reputation for “fighting Maori separatism” than Winston. He Puapua, and all it represents, could have been sold to the electorate as the best possible reason for keeping the NZ First “handbrake” in place. Peters would have had little difficulty in painting a Labour-Green majority as both unable and unwilling to prevent the report’s “Maori separatist agenda” from being rolled out in its entirety. NZ First could have billed itself as the Kiwi voter’s insurance against extremism.

It is important to remember the time-line here. He Puapua was presented to the then Minister of Maori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, in November 2019. Had it gone to Cabinet, Peters and his fellow NZ First ministers would have had close to a year to position it at the centre of their 2020 election campaign strategy. Even with the Covid-19 wind at its back, Labour was unable to prevent the nationalist and conspiratorial Right from amassing over 6 percent of the 2020 Party Vote. Had Winston had He Puapua to play with, there is every chance he would have claimed the lion’s share of that vote (and quite possibly a bonus sliver of National’s) to take him safely over the 5 percent MMP threshold.

Ironically, such a result may have served Labour’s long-term interests a great deal better than NZ First’s failure to be returned to Parliament. In retrospect, Winston’s judicious application of the conservative handbrake, looks suspiciously like a plus, not a minus, for Jacinda Ardern’s coalition government. It arguably prevented her from making a number of deeply unpopular decisions – as well as providing her with a handy excuse for not keeping her promises.

No chance of that now. All the major players in NZ First have been made aware of Labour’s deadly sin of omission. If they’re clever (and they can be) they will turn the suppression of He Puapua into a dark betrayal myth: a fundamental gesture of bad faith and ingratitude which cries out for vengeance.

Two years from now, the howling Covid gale that blew Labour into an absolute parliamentary majority will (hopefully) have sunk to a gentle zephyr. With “normalcy” restored, the electorate will be much less disposed to accept excuses for abject government failure, and much more willing to listen to alternative and harshly critical voices. Chances are that in 2023 National and Act will still have the biggest sound systems, but, as has happened three times before under MMP, it may prove to be Winston’s little loud-hailer that contributes the decisive voice.

And the inspiration for the song he’ll be singing will be He Puapua – but not in a good way.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 7 May 2021.


Odysseus said...

Did you hear a rustling sound from within the Dustbin of History Chris? Perhaps not, maybe it was just the wind. I doubt we will be regaled by Mr Peters on He Puapua or much else any more. He forfeited his credibility with at least half his constituency in 2018 when he signed New Zealand up to the UN Migration Compact. And they are not coming back.

The charge on He Puapua is being led by Seymour and Collins with new revelations of Labour's extremist, separatist agenda coming almost every day. In the months ahead we will see Labour and Ardern's popularity take a dive as people begin to fully comprehend the unwelcome implications for themselves and their country of that agenda. Perhaps Jacinda had better jump ship to the UN earlier than she planned, before her "international brand" suffers irreparable collateral damage.

Jack Scrivano said...

Ah, yes. Our wonderful ‘transparent’ government. Isn’t it good that the electorate doesn’t have to worry about secrets anymore?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

God help us all, Winston looks old. I'm surprised he hasn't gone in for Botox – these days no one so much as raises an eyebrow at it.

greywarbler said...

Perhaps there are too many game changers in our current events to make definite statements about any political bias. Play it like you see it at the moment perhaps. Loyalty to a worthwhile, reliable, good provisioner of services and real concern for welfare, not just Robertson's 'Budget 2021 will be a recovery and wellbeing budget'.

Why not come back Winston, we could do with some style in manner and pontification from our pollies, which is what they specialise in.

This was RadioNZ's take on He Puapua and insights into its outcomes, information about it for those who are like me gobsmacked and gobstoppered.

Kenny Rogers tells some truths in The Gambler. We're getting to the stage where we will have nothing left to lose - no hope and no trust in good faith and principles of integrity with matters discussed and implemented in a reasoned manner. It's too much like the rush of the Douglas Cabal all over again.
Cause ev'ry gambler knows
That the secret to survival
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
And ev'ry hand's a winner
Just like ev'ry hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep.

You got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You don't ever count your money
While you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done...
Songwriter: Don Schlitz

The Barron said...

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

"What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

"Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

greywarbler said...

Barron Are we the millstone being turned? Rather I think the corn being ground, ready to be cooked up into a concoction that appeals to the Mr Creosotes.

greywarbler said...

This could have some relevant points coming from a Maori viewpoint.

I see our heart, soul and culture of the whole country that we had formed, being decimated by the tech giants and the apparently innate quest for materialistic goals, novelty, style and display. What Dr Morehu McDonald has to say offers background to Maori resistance to losing their culture which could help us counter the fast-moving fog of Mordor that is spreading everywhere.

“Māori leadership in the mid-19th century faced the most devastating impacts that Māori society had ever experienced, Māori leadership responded with many forms of resistance to the threat of western civilization, ideological resistance, political resistance spiritual resistance, military and passive resistance to prevent the total destruction of Māori knowledge systems and our unique way of life.”

David George said...

"Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstances, myths of man have flourished .........It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the Cosmos pour out into the human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.

The wonder is that characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale - as the flavour of the ocean is contained in a droplet or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea. For the symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered or invented, or permanently suppressed."
Joseph Campbell, preface to The Hero With a Thousand Faces, 1948.

Claims of a special racial or cultural connection with the divine, a unique understanding of reality unseen by, and unavailable to, others, should be treated with suspicion, they're usually cover for something else. Something not good.

David George said...

Grey: "Māori leadership responded with many forms of resistance to the threat of western civilization"

What was the threat the leadership was concerned with? The threat to their own hegemony more than anything?
The Maori leadership then was a hereditary, patriarchal, hierarchical tyranny with frequently capricious, revengeful and arbitrary rule. The common people, those with eyes in their head, could see the wealth, the strength, the technological and scientific superiority and, by extension, the value of the God of Western civilisation.
That will to power is evident in what passes for Maori leadership today, I don't believe their bullshit.

John Hurley said...

Phill Goff is proud of what we have achieved "we are a melting pot". "And when two alt-right Canadians showed up I said "I'm not having a bar of that because what we are doing is right and what they are doing is wrong" [not exact translation of MFAT speech]

But "melting pot" is what exactly? Diversity isn't a melting pot per se it is

there isn’t really a well-established mixed-race culture, and that mixed race culture let’s say, and that mixed race group consists mainly of people who are part afro Caribbean and part white but there are various other mixes, generally with white British people, so there isn’t that unified, unitary collective memory and culture that’s attached to this, plus it’s a small group.

So if they aren't us aren't we entitled to look back and ask how has this changed our country? Are we not entitled to have a negative reaction? What about the role of media technology. Do we have a right to balanced messaging or bombardment?

The onus is on the Labour Party to show that they have made us better off.

John Hurley said...

There's one deeply disturbing aspect to the Turtle Affair.




greywarbler said...

I think David George you should cool it, relax, stop getting agitated and not try and get everything mapped and measured and compared etc. Just take a break and watch and look for good things in your neighbours; just watch for excess in yourself and others. I think we have that inclination - time to stop and have a cup of tea.

John Hurley - I think you need a cup of tea, and a lie down as well.

Me, I am going to try the above too. In the meantime I have been looking at Zimbabwe's news. That is a country that has attempted to take back control. I don't think they have achieved their goals, though they are trying, and while struggling with Covid19 are being both high-minded and prudent. For instance, they had obtained vaccines from China, India and Russia and administered 478,174 'jabs by May 10, and some of them to South Africans who are able to cross the border and get them for cost, while they are free to nationals.

It would be good in NZ if we can come to positive understandings and agreements now with Maori without the further upset and bitterness felt in Zimbabwe and in NZ too by both Maori and Pakeha. So can you use your brains and erudition all strong-minded Pakeha elders and do something clever and good from your years of acquired wisdom turning it to bi-cultural applied wisdom, with a place for multi-cultures also.

greywarbler said...

Some Zimbabwean cultural behaviours and Guiding Principles: I think we should be teaching these in all schools, primary and secondary, and not just leave it up the pedagogues and Tomorrow's School boards - because tomorrow never comes - start today.)
How to be -
Tsika is the virtuous, polite and moral way of behaving in accordance to the Shona cultural standard. ... The Shona see tsika as something one learns and develops in adolescence to eventually foster self-control.

Zimbabwean Culture - Core Concepts — Cultural Atlas
Other core concepts:

The Barron said...

A great description of European power structure prior to 1848 or even 1918. Maori leadership was based on mana. Mana Tipuna was one aspect, but Mana Tangata was also important. No-one could rule without the consent of the ruled. Women could hold leadership roles and the voice of women in decision making was far greater than in Britain.
In many ways it was closer to the Anglo-Saxon model where there were multiple claimants chosen by consensus.