Te Ururoa Flavell says he’s had enough
Te Ururoa Flavell says he won’t be back in any Ma¯ori Party revival and took a parting shot at the voters who showed him the door.
The ousted Ma¯ori Party coleader lost his seat after a Labour Party rout of the Ma¯ori electorates, taking all seven in emphatic style.
Flavell trailed his Waiariki opponent, Labour’s Tamati Coffey, from start to finish, ending the night about 1000 votes behind.
‘‘This was not our day,’’ Flavell told a crowd of 150 party faithful in Ma¯ori at Waiteti Marae near Rotorua. ‘‘Ma¯ori have spoken and they said, friends, the tide has ebbed, the cause is lost.’’
But he said Ma¯ori may have shot themselves in the foot by going with Labour. National sit on 46 per cent of the vote and 58 seats. If National can cobble together a government, Labour would remain in opposition and Ma¯ori would have no voice at all in the Beehive.
If it does turn bad for Ma¯ori voters, Flavell said don’t call him for a shoulder to cry on. ‘‘I hope they don’t wake up tomorrow and start shaking their heads, saying, I feel sorry for you, because I don’t want to hear it.
‘‘I don’t want to hear people talk about tino rangatiratanga, I don’t want to hear people talk about mana motuhake because we had it in our hands and it’s gone.’’
Former Ma¯ori Party president Pem Bird said Flavell’s track record was second to none but it failed to sway voters.
They were swept up in the Jacinda Ardern wave, he said. ‘‘If it was about a track record, we’d be a shoo-in. What [Ardern] has done is reawakened a connection the Ma¯ori people have had with Labour. There is that attachment, that connection.’’
The losses in all seven seats is an indication Ma¯ori don’t want an independent voice in Parliament, he said.
‘‘That’s an obvious conclusion,’’ he said. ‘‘Ma¯ori put their faith and hope in a mainstream party, not in ourselves, to be the key drivers to control our own destiny. This thing called te mana Ma¯ori motuhake is best sourced through and driven by the mainstream parties, which is in fact a Pa¯keha constituency. So there is a whole thing about dependency there.’’
Te Ururoa Flavell says he won’t be back in any Ma¯ori Party revival.