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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, November 10, 2008

End of Peters' show in house

A note of commiseration to Winston Peters and New Zealand First from a former collegue and adversary.

It comes from Tau Henare who worked alongside the maverick MP in the late 1990's when New Zealand First went into a coalition arrangement with National.

Mr Henare who is now in his second term as a list MP for National says it will be strange to be in the debating chamber without Winston Peters.

"There's a tinge of sadness in my heart about not seeing the master at work in the House and I would have liked to continue on watching him because he’s such a good show. The chamber is going to be strange without Winston and I suppose my condolences to Winston and the other key members of New Zealand First,” Mr Henare says.

New Zealand First were cast into the political wilderness on Saturday night, failing by half a percentage point to reach the 5 percent threshold needed for representation under MMP.


Former Labour MP and political commentator John Tamihere says whoever takes over the leadership of the Labour party from Helen Clark will be taking up a poisoned chalice.

And he is advising Maori MP Shane Jones to avoid having leadership ambitions too early although former MP Dover Samuels is calling for him to run for the leadership.

“The first 18 months to three years in Opposition is fraught with problems so why would Shane be stupid enough to step up to the mark to want to be a successor to a whole range of policies which he has no fingerprints on. Remember, he’s only been there three years. What Uncle Dover’s got to do is go into retirement gracefully and settle down,” Mr Tamihere says.

He says Shane Jones could be a future leader but before he is ready to lead he needs to build more extensive relationships throughout the Labour Party.


A snub at the haka by England in their match against the Kiwis in Newcastle may have worked, but not for long.

That's the view of former Kiwi, Tawera Nikau, who led the haka when the Maori team played at the Rugby League world cup in Britain 8 years ago.

He says England’s decision to turn their backs on the pre match haka on Saturday night, seemed to play on the minds of some of the Kiwi players who were slow to get into the game, and by halftime found themselves down 24-8.

“First time I’d seen that. Very disrespectful what happened to the Kiwis and most teams have that respect for it and obviously the English thought they’d do something different and it worked in their favour the first 30, 40 minutes because the Kiwis seems a little flat but the second half the boys came back,” Nikau says.

The Kiwis won the game 36-24 and will meet England again this weekend to secure a place in the final.


National's new Waitakere MP Paula Bennett of Tainui and Ngati Maniapoto says Maori need to do better and she will be pushing within the new government to see that opportunities are provided for them to do so.

The MP who won the electorate from Labour says the issues of Waitakere Maori stem from childhood and education is a major issue.

“When it comes to health and education and welfare issues, then Maori in Waitakere, by crikey we can do better and quite frankly our kids deserve better so we can actually look at truancy is a big issue out here. If they ain’t at school, they ain't learning,” Ms Bennett says.

She's looking forward to working with Tamaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira in resolving Maori issues in the Waitakere area.


However new Te Tai Tonga Maori Party MP Rahui Katene says she isn't prepared to guess what the issues are in her electorate.

Rahui Katene, who won over Labour MP Mahara Okeroa by a margin of 684 says she's excited and committed to represent her new electorate but she is not prejudging the issues.

“I know what some of the issues are but I want to go in and find out what is troubling the people. I don’t want to be a person that just sits in Wellington and guesses what is going on or thinks that because it’s an issue in Auckland, it’s the same issue is happening in Invercargill, so I need to be there in the electorate,” Ms Katene says.

She's hoping to work with Green Party candidate Dora Langsbury on up and coming projects concerning Te Tai Tonga.


Labour's latest Maori MP Kelvin Davis says he will also be on a steep learning curve in the coming months.

Although he unsuccesfully stood for the Tai Tokerau seat, won by the Maori party's Hone Harawira, Kelvin Davis has become an MP through his 29th placing on the Labour party list.

The former school principal describes the experience much the same as being a third former in high school saying he has had some good advice from one of the prefects, former MP Dover Samuels.

“I'm just the new boy and no doubt over the next two or three weeks more things will become clear but at the moment my job is just to come down here and as Dover said to me on Saturday night, ‘keep your eyes open, your ears open, your mouth shut and learn as much as you can,’” Mr Davis says.

He'll be getting around to various hapu and marae in the Northland area to gauge what the main issues are.


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