Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Logisitics underpin election logic

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says whoever is best organised should win Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

Mr Peters, who stood for National in Northern Maori at the start of his political career, is picking Labour's Kelvin Davis to beat Hone Harawira by up to 1000 votes.

He says campaign rhetoric doesn't count for as much as having enough people on the ground to get supporters to the polls.

“The person who is going to win on Saturday is the person whose team has done the logistics - enrolled people, persuaded them to vote for them, and made sure they got to the polling booth during the week or Saturday,” Mr Peters says.

The vote is likely to turn on special votes, as many eligible voters were not registered before the rolls were printed.


Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Maori Women's Welfare League may want to review its rules to defend itself from takeover.

The 60-year-old organisation's ranks have been swelled in the past couple of years by Destiny Church members, and church pastor Hannah Tamaki is standing for president at August's annual conference.

Mrs Turia says the Maori Party wrote its rules to avoid some of the electoral tactics that other organisations struggle with.

“We only allow one vote per branch and in that way we are able to ensure people don’t bus people in or don’t sign a lot of people up to try and take a movement over. I think that’s unfair in many ways to those who have given their lives to the Maori Women's Welfare League,” she says.

Mrs Turia says she has no idea what Hannah Tamaki's credentials are to be the head of the league, which is a position of great mana within Maoridom.


Auckland's Maori Statutory Board is preparing to audit how the super city council measures up to Treaty of Waitangi principles.

Chairperson David Taipari says the board has worked with consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers on an audit process, which will be put out to tender soon.

He says getting a qualified third party opinion could be what's needed to make the council heed the board's criticisms that Maori aren't being properly included in planning.

“There are a number of areas I have seen over the past seven months that the council could greatly do with our assistance,” Mr Taipari says.

The Maori Statutory Board has also employed Waitako University to identify areas where assistance for Maori may be needed, such as in housing, education, health and economic development.


Maori political commentator and former Maori Party candidate Derek Fox predicts Saturday's Te Tai Tokerau by-election will come down to the wire between Labour's Kelvin Davis and Mana's Hone Harawira.

Derek Fox says the split between Mr Harawira and the Maori Party, and the subsequent antics of his mother Titewhai and sister Hinewhare, had upset many Maori in the north.

“There will be a lot of people who say ‘well, these people have demonstrated to me that they can’t work together, they’re like a three ring circus and I’m going to go back to the main ring which is where Labour is,’ and I’m quite sad about that too,” he says.

Mr Fox says the Maori Party hasn't helped the cause of its candidate Solomon Tipene.


Meanwhile, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says Te Tai Tokerau by-election candidate Kelvin Davis has laid down a wero to his own party with his call for $100 million economic development fund for Northland.

Ms Mahuta says it's not a promise Mr Davis can implement immediately if he wins the seat on Saturday.

But it's modeled on a fund that Labour created when it stopped logging of native timber on the West Coast.

“What he's doing is signaling to Labour that will be the cost of securing this electorate, and if I am the electorate MOP, Labour better get behind on that. I support him on that,” Ms Mahuta says.

She says radical solutions are needed to tackle unemployment among young Maori in the north.


Playwright Albert Belz says judicious use of te reo Maori can give Maori theatre a special edge.

A revival of Belz's eight-year-old play Awhi Tapu opens in Auckland tonight.

He says Taki Rua Productions have done a great job altering and updating the tale of four friends clinging to a dying forestry town ... and he doesn't think it should be pigeon-holed as a Maori play.

“Thanks to some great genes I am Maori and I feel comfortable anyway, despite my reo being a shocker. A lot of people, including myself, have been trying to figure out where it fits. Is it a general audience piece, is it a Maori piece, is it a Pacific piece, I kind of like that. I like not being pigeon-holed too much,” Belz says.

Awhi Tapu starts at Tapac at Western Springs tonight and runs until July 2.


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