October 31, 2023
A potato, a broken gold watch, a pounamu hei-tiki, and a huia feather: Does Labour need a new Rātana alliance with Māori Party?
Posted On October 31, 2023
The shockwave of naked racism that emboldened so much race baiting this election highlights how the Right wil always use Māori as a political punching bag for votes.
As New Zealand faces the absurdity of a referendum to redefine the principles of the Treaty and is about to have the Māori Health Authority disbanded, the question for the Left is how to work together strategically and tactically to stop the Right from winning by race baiting.
I believe the answer lies in our existing MMP system and requires a new Rātana alliance.
The Rātana movement into politics in 1923 helped seal gains for Māori and Pakeha with Michael Savage in 1936.
Savage was gifted a potato, a broken gold watch, a pounamu hei-tiki, and a huia feather as symbols of the new alliance.
The potato represented loss of Māori land and means of sustenance, the broken watch represented the broken promises of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the pounamu represented the mana of the Māori people, if Savage was able to restore those 3, he would earn the right to wear the huia feather.
It is time for Labour to earn the right to wear that feather.
What was fascinating about the Māori electorates this election was how tactical Māori voters were, once again prooving why they are one of the smartest tactical voters each and every election.
Overwhelmingly Māori in the Māori electorates voted Labour Party vote and Māori Patry candidate vote and this has generated the focus on the power of the MMP Overhang the Māori Electorates generate.
If there was a Rātana 2, the Labour Party and Māori Party could strategically work together and push a tactical voting plan that calls for voters in the Māori electorate to all give their candidate vote to the Māori Party candidate and their Party vote to Labour.
This would end up creating up to 7 overhang seats in the Parliament which would cement an enormous block that could (with support from the Greens) become an unbeatable tactic that would ensure victory.
If this new alliance could demand better material conditions for those on the socio-economic bottom, working class aspirations and Māori aspirations could combine to finally deliver the promise to Rātana made in 1936.
If Labour want to wear that huia feather, they must rethink their MMP tactics and strategy.