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.
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.