i was too tired to post yesterday, and only have a few bits and pieces to contribute today. first of all, i would also like to express my sadness that hon mark gosche is retiring from politics. he's a great guy and i'm sure could have contributed so much more had it not been for his personal circumstances. i wish him and his family all the best for the future.
second, why on earth is the business round table paying for a report into the viability of the maori seats? surprisingly enough, they've got exactly the answer they paid to get. i wonder why they didn't pay a maori academic to carry out the research, since maori will be the most affected by this. probably because then they wouldn't have gotten the "right" talking points.
the problem for the business roundtable is quite clear. voters in the maori seats are never going to vote for right wing parties. because they're smart enough to know that right-wing policies have lead to poor outcomes for their community in the past. the employment contracts act, the failure to raise minimum wages, the abolition of trades skills training, the slow and steady privatisation of the health system; all of these and many other policies hit the maori very hard, as they hit most people in on lower incomes.
by abolishing seats they can never win, the right has a greater chance of ruling the country. there is another alternative, of course. they could develop and implement policies that would appeal to voters in the maori seats. they could actually try to be competitive in those seats. in the last election, neither national, nz first nor act stood candidates in the maori seats. i bet united future didn't either. for national, there was hardly any point given the focus of the orewa speech by dr brash. if right-wing parties are going to target maori with dog-whistle politics, it means they aren't even trying to appeal to those voters.
it looked like things were going to be different under mr key, what with him taking that teenage maori girl to waitangi, and rubbing noses with tame iti. i haven't taken the trouble to have a good look, but i haven't seen any response from mr key on the BRT research. i'm very interested in hearing what he has to say about it all. it looks like no-one has bothered to ask him.
i know i'm very clear. the maori seats will go when maori are ready for them to go. with mr key making noises about a referendum on MMP, there is the danger that we may lose our proportional voting system in the next 10-12 years. without it, the maori party will find it almost impossible to win seats, and i don't believe a single current maori MP is there because they've won a general electorate seat. if the maori seats are lost and we go back to FPP, there is the real possibility of having no maori in parliament. how can that possibly be good for nz?
since the BRT obviously have money to spare for research, i'll make a sincere plea that they donate the funds to child cancer research, or that they put that money towards rebuilding homes in myanmar/burma or china. to waste it on a report like this, which is so clearly self-serving, seems almost criminal.
finally, i'd just like to pay a tribute to photo-journalist trent keegan who died in kenya this week. i reiterate the points i made in an earlier post, about the value of such journalists - those who do a vital job by exposing corruption, and put themselves at risk to do so. rest in peace mr keegan.