The very excellent Graham Adams at the Democracy Project fears the Māori Labour Caucus has too much power and is pushing pro-Māori agendas through that the majority of the electorate will balk at.
This is true in that the Māori Labour Caucus are the most powerful faction inside the Labour Party and they are ferociously good negotiators.
I believe however as we enter the second year of the second term that the Māori Caucus must step up to force Jacinda to live up to her promise of transformative politics.
The left love Michael Joseph Savage. Every Labour MP who wishes to push their left wing credentials have photos of him hanging in every electorate office and Minister’s room.
Savage is lauded as the creator of the welfare state in the wake of the Great Depression.
He was swamped when he went into public as NZers gushed over how he had saved them all.
The most hilarious truth, provided by insights from John A Lee who served in Savage’s Cabinet paints a very different picture from the mythology the left have given Savage .
The truth is that Savage was incredibly centrist and not a radical at all. Backed up by the neoliberal Walter Nash and conservative manipulator Peter Fraser, Savage did all he could to stop transformative change, it was actually Savage’s Caucus who forced his hand repeatedly to be transformative.
The exact same dynamics are at play inside Jacinda’s Labour Government.
When there is a crisis, the Prime Minister shines, but when it comes to domestic policy, she is super cautious to the point of being timid.
The reality is there won’t be transformative change unless the Caucus demands it.
Which brings me to the difference between Hone & The Maori Party.
Hone was on Q&A live with Jack from the Te Tai Tokerau checkpoint last weekend and his humble, funny and kind arguments on lockdowns were a reminder of what a phenomenal leader he really is.
When MANA pushed for ‘Feed The Kids’ it was ALL the Kids, not just Māori kids. Yes MANA was Maori led, but its philosophy was about lifting EVERYONE up.
The Māori Party in contrast is far more interested in only helping Māori children and complaining they can’t wear sneakers inside Parliament.
Their claim Labour policy amounts to a ‘modern genocide’ is as laughable as it is offensive.
It’s time the Labour Māori Caucus learn the lesson from Mickey Savage and Hone and starts using the same political muscle to force transformative change in poverty, housing & climate change the way they have with 3 Waters.
Savage’s legacy was only possible because his Caucus forced him to be far more progressive than he wanted to be.
The Labour Māori Caucus need the same foresight.
The 190000 kids in poverty, the 22000 on emergency waiting lists and the generations locked out of home ownership are begging them to.
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