Monday 7 February 2011

Talkin' About Waitangi & Hone Harawira

Time to Talk: The hour-long, news-driven format of TVNZ7's News at 8 - in sharp contrast to the One News shock/horror-entertainment and weather-driven bulletin at 6:00pm - allows for considerably more in-depth discussion on the important issues of the day. It's coverage of Waitangi Day 2011 and the growing rift between Hone Harawira and the Maori Party leadership shows what genuine public-service broadcasting could (and should) look like.

A FRANK DISCUSSION on the subjects of Waitangi Day and the future of Hone Harawira took place between myself and Miriama Kamo on yesterday’s (Sunday, 6 February) bulletin of TVNZ 7’s News at 8.

I don’t know how long this will stay up at TVNZ-On-Demand, but at the moment the item can be accessed here (the interview begins two-thirds of the way through "Chapter 1"). [Sadly, the link no longer takes you to the items in question.]

The earlier interview between Miriama and TVNZ’s political reporter, Jessica Mutch, is fascinating. The young journalist clearly cannot conceive of any style of politics that isn’t bound up with the institutional norms of parliamentary representation. Nor is she willing to explore the more likely consequences of her own (or should that be Pita Sharple's?) predictions.

Is Ms Mutch really so lacking in political and historical imagination as to suppose that if Hone Harawira is forced out of the Maori Party he will depart alone? That thousands (especially in Te Tai Tokerau) will not resign from the Maori Party in solidarity with their MP? That the party will not be riven with angry recriminations?

More importantly, can she not see that any splitting of the Maori Party could only have the most serious electoral repercussions for the governing coalition come November?


Ian G said...

Hey Chris - what the hell is a "suspension"? Is it like a wet bus ticket?

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of pakeha support for Hone Harawira too and if you look at the maori party environment and climate policy and some of the other policy there is some really progressive stuff. Of Course a coalition with National and Act means that has not been a focus.

Hone has spoken about the greens and the maori party working closer together and looking at what kind of relationship could be had with labour. Nandor and some other greens have always been in favour building a good bloc with the maori party.

There seems to be a lot of shallow coverage of the internal tensions of the maori party. An underlying thing is a lot of the base of the party being unhappy with the relationship with National, that Turiana wants to maintain and the corporate Iwi interests would like to continue.

Hense the underlying tensions are not with Hone, but with an unaccountable leadership. Annette Sykes Bruce Jesson lecture on the brown table and the Iwi Leadership Group highlights a lot of the concerns many maori feel.

Hone has also been outspoken against Free Trade while the leadership of the party has not made a statement, perhaps because National and the Iwi Leadership Group have not told them what to say.

Shane Jones vs Pita Sharples this year in the election will raise many other issues about the Maori Party and National, that cannot be swept away by Turiana and Pita.

SPC said...

It depends upon the course chosen by Hone Harawira.

He might simply stand as an independent, or he might form a party to contest the Maori electorates. If he chooses the latter, will he augment the party list appeal of the party by making it a broader party of the left?

The first option does result in little problematic impact on national politics. The second, with or without inclusion of a broader left wing, could have considerable unintended consequences. National would have noted, if Labour win the Maori electorates (on a split vote of the two Maori parties) National would do better via the party list seat allocation that determines the majority for coalition government. This would leave National less reliant on partners.

It is only if Hone's party wins other Maori electorates, or it expands the left wing party list vote turnout that National need be concerned.

Of course a NZ First presence combined with Hone Harawira in the north is of itself a problem.

On balance perhaps, the independent-minded MP should campaign for party list votes in the Maori electorates and work with others on the left? This to deliver a government of the left that would need Maori Party support to govern.

Peter Wilson said...

It's really quite simple - if Hone goes, and he's already been forced halfway out the door with today's caucus suspension, then Maori voters, as probably the most astute users of MMP may show their dislike of the Maori Party by giving their electorate votes back to Labour in November.

jh said...

Hone Harawira: Much Ado About Nothing. Let him open his bag of tricks and see what his ideas are: a lot of smelly old fish me thinks.

Anonymous said...

TVNZ was given funding by the last government for TVNZ 6 and 7 as non commercial public service television. TVNZ and the current government have withdrawn TVNZ 6 from the funding arrangement and it will be closed next month and replaced by a commercialised youth channel ( under the slogan "It's time to get bent". The contrast between TVNZ 6 and the comparitively amoral TVNZ U is strong.

We can have doubts that funding for TVNZ 7 will continue when National's social circles are opposed to public television and literally call people without a Sky subscription "freeloaders". If funding does continue it'll be a token offering to soften the public up for the privatisation of TVNZ, which may have been where the talk of handing 7 over to RNZ came from.

Labour did nothing substantial in their last term to take TVNZ back to being a public service broadcaster. If they continue to politically ignore TVNZ's persistent decline under commercialisation, we can forget about seeing quality local content, documentaries and news on TVNZ ever again, and New Zealand would be poorer for it.