Labour still grieving
A number of Labour politicians are still bamboozled and hurt because so many Maori have turned away from them over the last few years.
First there was a swing to the Maori Party when Tariana Turia walked out on Labour in the wake of their bungling of the foreshore and seabed issue.
Since then there’s been widespread Maori acceptance of the party’s surprising decision to cuddle up to John Key and the Nats.
Labour held it had been battling nobly on behalf of Maori for more than 70 years, frequently in the face of National taunts painting their efforts as heaping more privileges on an already over-privileged, ungrateful minority.
So how come Maori were ready for a lovein with those ignorant, fat-cat rednecks?
As we know, lovers can be fickle. They can become bored, especially if they feel they’re being taken for granted. But they can also see when the love isn’t genuine.
And the Maori-Labour romance had been chilling because Labour’s understanding of, and devotion to Maori, was never entirely convincing. If it had been, there would have been more effort to promote talented Maori politicians, the leadership would’ve been more confident in dealing with Maori grievances, made a meal of nitwit National snivels about privilege, and have had the guts to confront much of the Pakeha ignorance about our history and what Maori have copped through the years.
Neither Helen Clark nor Michael Cullen were up to that, although to give him his due, Cullen did get into gear when he took over treaty settlements. Too little, too late. Maori had seen enough to know their concerns weren’t understood by Labour.
And here was John Key, all smiles and promises about the delights he and his mates could provide.
What more could a nice girl want?
If Labour is ever to become a serious Maori suitor again, Key may have to stuff up bigtime, as he’s in danger of doing over the Auckland supercity.
But Labour still has to find a way of re-igniting its relationship with Maori.