The peo­ple spoke: and so good­bye

The list of those out of the Bee­hive are led by The Maori Party who were the big losers on the night.

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

The writ­ing was on the wall for no­to­ri­ous NZ First list MP Richard Prosser when he was de­moted from num­ber three on the party list, the po­si­tion he en­joyed in 2014, to an un­winnable plac­ing at 15. What had Prosser done to up­set the party and its mer­cu­rial leader and founder, Win­ston Pe­ters?

He dropped a clanger as re­cently as Au­gust when he told power com­pany share­hold­ers to sell their shares be­fore NZ First na­tion­alises the com­pa­nies. But Prosser was al­ready on Pe­ters’ watch­list af­ter he came to na­tional at­ten­tion in 2013 when his col­umn in In­ves­ti­gate mag­a­zine ar­gued that men who look Mus­lim should be banned from air­lines. The worst of­fence was in­vent­ing a fic­tional home­land for his imag­i­nary ter­ror­ists, ‘‘Wo­gis­tan’’.

Prosser was shamed and put his head down but the taint of ‘‘Wo­gis­tan’’ re­mained on him, and he soon be­came known col­lo­qui­ally as the MP­for Wo­gis­tan. While NZ First may court an anti-im­mi­grant vote, overt racism seemed to be a step too far.

Now 50, Prosser pre­vi­ously stood for Democrats for So­cial Credit and started a South Is­land party that never con­tested an elec­tion. He joined NZ First in 2010 af­ter hear­ing Pe­ters speak in Ran­giora and was ranked at num­ber 4 on the list the fol­low­ing year. Flavell may be feel­ing some­what un­der the weather to­day af­ter be­ing ousted from his Wa­iariki seat by Labour’s for­mer weath­er­man Ta­mati Cof­fey.

The Ma¯ori Party co-leader had been in Par­lia­ment since rolling Labour in­cum­bent Mita Rir­inui in 2005.

The Toko­roa-born MP’s party port­fo­lios in­cluded Treaty of Wai­tangi ne­go­ti­a­tions and ed­u­ca­tion where he drew on his ex­pe­ri­ence as a teacher and prin­ci­pal the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of a whare wananga.

Ear­lier in the cam­paign he told Stuff the elec­torate was keen for change.

‘‘I think the Gov­ern­ment has for­got­ten about a fair chunk of so­ci­ety. And if we are in a po­si­tion we’ve got to do a lot more on that end.’’ In 2002, Me­tiria Turei pre­dicted the prob­lems which would mar her ca­reer 15 years later: ‘‘I’m sure I’ll get into trou­ble even­tu­ally,’’ she said.

In July this year, in a bid to high­light the plight of ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Turei ad­mit­ted to ly­ing to Work and In­come New Zealand while she was on a ben­e­fit in the 1990s. The po­lit­i­cal move, which saw a brief surge for the Greens in the polls, back­fired when it was re­vealed that she had also en­rolled at an ad­dress where she did not live in or­der to vote for a friend who was run­ning in the Mt Al­bert elec­torate in 1993.

By early Au­gust, Turei had re­signed as co-leader of the party, but not be­fore two other mem­bers had re­signed in protest at her re­main­ing. Turei was not on the Greens’ ‘‘nu­mer­i­cal list’’ and only stood in the seat of Te Tai Tonga, which meant Rino Tirikatene’s win sees her leave Par­lia­ment. A poor turn-out for the Ma¯ori Party’s party vote has seen coleader Marama Fox turfed from Par­lia­ment.

The party’s first list MP leaves claim­ing $4 bil­lion worth of achieve­ments for the party in­clud­ing Whanau Ora, emer­gency hous­ing, rheumatic fever screen­ing and the recog­ni­tion of Ma¯ori his­tory in schools.

Born in Porirua but raised in Christchurch, Fox was a school teacher and ed­u­ca­tion worker for 26 years.

She rode into Par­lia­ment in 2014 on an im­proved party vote but this year’s show­ing - and her miss in Ikaroa-Rawhiti - has seen her miss the cut.

Per­haps the most mem­o­rable part of her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer came when she re­fused to back He­len Clark for the top job at the United Na­tions over Clark’s pre­vi­ous ac­tions on fore­shore and seabed leg­is­la­tion.

The move drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion as Fox her­self recog­nised: ‘‘We don’t diss the whanau abroad.’’

Fox ad­mit­ted re­cently that the Ma¯ori Party’s nine-year sup­port of Na­tional had prob­a­bly eroded their sup­port.

But she told NZME that Na­tional and Labour were much the same.

‘‘It’s Left wing, Right wing, same damn bird.

‘‘It’s blue undies, red undies, same damn skid­marks.’’

Auck­land teacher and fa­ther Antony Paine’s let­ter to Bill English

Te Ururoa Flavell was de­feated by for­mer weath­er­man Ta­mati Cof­fey.

Marama Fox ad­mits the Maori Party’s sup­port for Na­tional may have cost votes.

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