The Dim-Post

April 15, 2014

I went to the Northern Club once. Really classy toilets.

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:54 am

Via the Dom-Post:

Prime Minister John Key says there is nothing unethical or inappropriate about charging guests at a Maori Party dinner $5000 a head to sit with him for part of the evening

It has been reported that 15 Maori leaders were charged $5000 a head to attend a dinner with Key at Auckland’s exclusive Northern Club. Maori TV’s Native Affairs is screening footage of the event this evening.

Guests were reportedly promised face time with Key. Key’s office this evening did not deny that, but said there was nothing inappropriate or unethical about the practice.

Part of the deal was that Key would change his seat often throughout the evening so everyone had a chance to talk to him “confidentially”.

To me the significance of this fundraiser is that National has four preferred coalition partners who they’d like to go into government with instead of doing a deal with Winston Peters. ACT, United Future, the Conservative Party and the Maori Party.

Now, those first three parties will rely on National giving them an electorate seat. And now the Maori Party is reliant on National to raise money for them so they can afford to campaign, because they can’t attract funding by themselves.

33 Comments »

  1. It is like a particularly grisly episode of the walking dead. John Key as the A hooded women leading (h)armless zombies around on chains. The other tactical thing is it destroys the main attack line the Maori Party had on any Mana-Internet Party hook up.

    Hanging over all this is the potentially huge scandal around the corrupt use of public money by Te Kohanga Reo National Trust . Sharples airy dismissal (mistakes will happen or something) of any criticism of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust implicitly endorses corruption and coverups (presumably because by unaccountably helping themselves to public money they are getting no more than they deserve for the sin of colonisation and banning pesky journalists is part of traditional iwi autocracy) and completely disqualifies the Maori party from ever being allowed to hold office again.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 15, 2014 @ 7:19 am

  2. …because they can’t attract funding by themselves.

    You’ve gotta figure they really, really can’t attract funding by themselves, because having John Key do it for them makes them look like a subsidiary of National – can’t picture them accepting that if they had any alternatives. Whatever – anyone voting Maori Party this year might as well just vote National and cut out the middleman.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 15, 2014 @ 7:53 am

  3. Sanctuary

    1. Great comparison but Michonne’s one of the best characters in the Walking Dead and her Zombies were very useful! I’d also dispute whether the Maori Party really qualifies for that title. Whanau Ora is a substantial achievement as are the escalators in the price of cigarettes which will save more lives of Maori Party members than all the public health campaigns and tricksy display/packaging regulations against smoking put together. Both are Maori Party achievements.

    2. “Hanging over all this is the potentially huge scandal around the corrupt use of public money by Te Kohanga Reo National Trust”. It’s had the potential for this ever since it lost direct accountability to the Crown in, I think, the early 2000s but didn’t become directly accountable to anyone else, particularly not its individual Kohanga which have groaned under the oppressive yoke of the Trust for an awfully long time

    Comment by Tinakori — April 15, 2014 @ 8:06 am

  4. It’s pretty sad that the Maori Party, whose hold raison d’etre was to hold Pakeha government to account, has been reduced to this. Ten years ago there was a surge of grassroots Maori activism. Now there’s… this.

    Not that this is specifically illegal, immoral or ethically dubious. It’s just sad. I remember how fired up so many left activists were about the Maori party. If they had had crystal balls back then I think there’d have been a blip in the suicide rate.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 15, 2014 @ 8:07 am

  5. I can’t imagine this will go down too well in the Waiariki electorate, while the money might be going to the Maori Party the real winner from this is Annette Sykes.

    Comment by Alex Braae — April 15, 2014 @ 8:10 am

  6. I suppose if you were to go down the glass half full route, the very fact that the Maori Party is owned lock, stock and barrel by an unaccountable, arrogant, autocratic and anti-democratic iwi 1% in secretive cahoots with a cronyist National government is evidence that at least someone in Maoridom has worked out how capitalism works and is finally doing OK under the yoke of colonial oppression.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 15, 2014 @ 8:46 am

  7. Thats mmp for you. Looks like National are learning to play the game. What a racket.

    Comment by Simon — April 15, 2014 @ 9:16 am

  8. @Alex: “…while the money might be going to the Maori Party the real winner from this is Annette Sykes.”
    Of course the National Maori Party will respond with some crack about Mana/Internet Party.

    Comment by xianmac — April 15, 2014 @ 10:10 am

  9. someone in Maoridom has worked out how capitalism works
    Thats mmp for you. Looks like National are learning to play the game. What a racket.

    Remember Georgina Te Heuheu’s apparent stoicism when having a bucket of political ordure dumped over her by Brash’s enablers? The backroom conniving between feudal elites was well entrenched long before MMP and treaty settlements.

    Comment by Joe W — April 15, 2014 @ 10:20 am

  10. “anti-democratic iwi 1% in secretive cahoots with a cronyist National government”

    Right on the same page with John Ansell that other famous class warrior fighting for the rights of the Maori proletariat. Perhaps you both could have a chat with Hone and Kim. John can do the advertising slogans, you can do the propaganda and Bomber can be the “strategist” (I hate those fucking quote marks but if ever they were justified, this is the context). .

    Comment by Tinakori — April 15, 2014 @ 10:24 am

  11. Right on the same page with John Ansell that other famous class warrior

    That’s pretty dumb, Tinakori.
    Are you suggesting it’s not OK for people who are (apparently) at different ends of the political spectrum to hold the same opinion, even if the ideological basis for their opinion is divergent?

    Comment by Gregor W — April 15, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

  12. Nah Grgor, he’s moved on to pretending Ansell was nothing to do with National and that honourable man, gentleman Don Brash.

    Comment by Alex Coleman — April 15, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

  13. I think Shane Jones’ comment, for once, hits the nail on the head: ‘They’re nothing more now than the prime minister’s personal kapa haka group.’

    Comment by Christopher T — April 15, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  14. Sounds a lot like how Labour treated their Maori MP’s during the Clark years.

    Comment by Phil — April 15, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

  15. Sounds a lot like how Labour treated their Maori MP’s during the Clark years.

    Turia would certainly have agreed with that, though she’d probably rather not be reminded these days.

    Comment by Joe W — April 15, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  16. Frankly, the idea that the leader of one of the large Parties would help a smaller party fund raise is not a strange one. I can imagine the denizens of the Dim Post praising Labour if it had taken the same initiative with its possible support parties, including the Maori Party. The only quarrel i have with the Maori Party fund raiser is that they did not put out joint press release announcing it and that they chose the Northern Club rather than Antoines. One of the responsibilities of the 1% is to maintain standards.

    And, no it is not the same as Mana and trying to hook up with a party dedicated to a resolution in an extradition case.

    “Are you suggesting it’s not OK for people who are (apparently) at different ends of the political spectrum to hold the same opinion, even if the ideological basis for their opinion is divergent?”

    Not at all but it is very funny, given John Ansell is seriously gaga and the self appointed champions of the Brown proletariat against the Browntable are almost always good for a laugh.

    Very good line by Shane Jones too.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 15, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

  17. @Tinakori: It’s not morally wrong, but it seriously undermines the Maori Party’s claim to be able to advocate for Maori if they are financially beholden to the people they’re supposed to be advocating to.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 15, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

  18. Nah, both the Maori Party and the National Party know they have two sets of supporters to please. The money doesn’t change that. All parties in a coalition realise that and have largely behaved that way, even when breaking up, like the Alliance and Winston back in the day. The left do tend to think though that the only legitimate political point of view for Maori is a left wing one. At its worst, this means their only serious point of connection with Maori is as chocolate soldiers in the class war. That’s why they see the Maori Party as a sell out. Its a pretty limited viewpoint.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 15, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

  19. @Tinakori: I don’t really think the Maori party can in any meaningful way disagree with National if National is raising money for them, is the point.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 3:26 am

  20. It is like most things. Seen in isolation such a fundraiser by a governing party for a coalition partner could be argued as not unusual. Seen in the context of the political reputation the Maori party now has, it merely serves to provide concrete evidence of what everyone suspected all along.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 16, 2014 @ 7:27 am

  21. Nah, again. The Nats and the MP disagree on more than a few things and both have let the other know about it and/or not supported it. It is not in either of their interests to do otherwise, especially as they are not drawing from the same voting pool. Neither the Nats nor Labour would have done Whanau Ora or the excise tax hikes on tobacco without them. And the MP sure were not going to support the partial privatisations nor were the Nats (or Labour or the Greens) going to back the allocation of 100% or 50% of water rights to Maori. Just because parties have working relationships doesn’t mean they start singing kumbaya together at the start of every working day. Its pretty juvenile to think otherwise, but thats the level at which TV news pitches things, eh?

    Comment by Tinakori — April 16, 2014 @ 8:19 am

  22. @Tinakori: There is a big difference between parties having a working relationship around the Cabinet table and fundraising for one another.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  23. @Sanc: I think it absolutely is unusual to the point of being unprecedented. There may have been a few winks and nods in the past – I’m sure National never really minded people giving money to ACT, for example – but having the leader of one party directly raise money for another is, AFAIK, unprecedented in NZ history, at least post-MMP.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 8:32 am

  24. “…I think it absolutely is unusual to the point of being unprecedented…”

    Really? TBH, I am not familiar enough with the mechanics of such things to know, but I will take your word for it. If that is the case, then the Maori Party has just had it’s Uncle Tom moment.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 16, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  25. “I think it absolutely is unusual to the point of being unprecedented.”
    The closest thing I can think of, – and it’s not the same – is I *seem to remember* Don Brash when leader of National addressing some ACT function- maybe their AGM or something.
    Of course Brash was mjore-or-less an ACT MP, as many said at the time. 2005 was the election ACT more-or-less disappeared, hanging on by the fingertips in Epsom. In 2005 ACT voters could vote for the PM of their choice.

    Comment by Robinson Stowell — April 16, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

  26. @Robinson: And Michael Cullen addressed an Alliance conference in 1999. The big difference is that people weren’t being asked to smack down money for face time with Brash and Cullen. It might have indirectly led to more fundraising for the smaller parties if they are seen being taken seriously by big parties, but th

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  27. *that is a long way from “sit down with Key for 15 minutes if you give us 5000NZD”.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  28. And how do you know there were were no joint fund raisers? If there were not, the most likely reason is that Labour and the Alliance were fighting for the many of the same voters and so there was no commonality of interest in the same way that there is with National and the Maori Party. Labour and the Maori Party would face the same issue, with Labour believing Maori Party voters were their voters on temporary and misguided loan to an heretical sect.

    The sit down with leaders/Ministers is common across the political spectrum in Oz

    Comment by Tinakori — April 16, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

  29. “And how do you know there were were no joint fund raisers?”

    Are you asking me to prove a negative?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 16, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

  30. The sit down with leaders/Ministers is common across the political spectrum in Oz

    Just so long as there’s no Grange on the wine list.. BTW if this country had an equivalent of NSW’s Independent Commission against Corruption, Judith Collins would have been well on the way to becoming toast weeks ago.

    Comment by Joe W — April 16, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

  31. I’m fascinated by the apparent retrogressive mentality that appears to inform peoples’ attitude towards Maori and money. Like no one who may who may have sympathy with the Moari Party kaupapa and possess $5000 spending money can possibly be Maori, so therefore The Moari Party have somehow prostituted themselves to ‘big business’, by inference the corrupting influence of pakeha ‘self-interest’.
    But of course I wouldn’t be raising this, if Willy Jackson hadn’t inferrred that criticisms of Hone ‘The Maori Boy’ Harawira were racially motivated. And yet persons might then claim it’s ok to turn a blind eye because The Mana Party are ‘courting’ KFC – (sorry ‘KDC’). Why? because they need the cash to ‘get their message out’.
    But on balance if we are trying to claim that some kind of ‘hypocrisy’ underpins each situation Maori Party and The Mana Party, it would be useful to first judge them both by the same standard (i.e. past statements of intent and past statements of ideology, and then by shedding the unconscious colonising racism that appears to convince non-Maori that somehow they know better how to allocate, spend, gather and account for what Maori do with their intellectual and physical resources. I think on both counts The Mana Party look more questionable, but essentially, it’s their play, they get to make their own choices, and so do the Maori Party – then they get to see who voted for them.

    Comment by Lee C — April 18, 2014 @ 7:10 am

  32. If there were not, the most likely reason is that Labour and the Alliance were fighting for the many of the same voters and so there was no commonality of interest in the same way that there is with National and the Maori Party.

    Right. There was little-to-no chance the $75k raised for the Maori Party would ever have found its way to National’s coffers. So it buys National some goodwill from the Maori Party (which may be cashed in post-election) at no real cost to it. But nothing in life is free … so the Maori Party’s claim to be a proud and independent voice for Maori is a little less credible when it is relying on the pulling power of another party’s leader to get cash to run its campaign. That’s life.

    The sit down with leaders/Ministers is common across the political spectrum in Oz

    That is true. But is it a healthy and positive development for NZ’s political culture, which is notably less corrupt (both in the literal and figurative sense) than Australia?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 18, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  33. Yes, Andrew, that’s true but coalition government under MMP has an inherent you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours dynamic. What has a bigger impact on the MP’s association with National, assistance with campaign funding or support for a measure that will help their constituents and, as an added bonus, piss off National’s supporters? An interesting subject for debate, but I’d suggest – to the Maori Party MPs – the knowledge that they can gain policy and spending achievements from that association is a greater incentive. Their major problem in the last two terms is that – outside Turia – the rest of the party has struggled to develop policy packages that are credible and the Nats can deliver, given the larger partner has somewhat crowded them out by turbo-charging the Treaty settlements process and has appointed a Minister of Education who is Maori and has a strong focus on reducing the famous long tail, whatever you might think of her ability to actually do so.

    On the pay to eat approach to fund raising I am not so sure. Couldn’t agree more that we want to stay well away from the Oz political culture, but parties do have to raise funds and, currently, National has an advantage in this form of fund raising that Labour can’t match so they are using it. I would not be surprised if Helen had been used in much the same way by Mike Williams in her heyday. As I said earlier, the major omission with their Maori Party assistance is that both sides didn’t put out a press release announcing it.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 18, 2014 @ 10:33 am


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