This suspension though, coming right over the top of the disciplinary procedures suggests that the constitution is really just a smokescreen to stop me from raising issues which are close to our people’s hearts and pockets, but which threaten to derail our cozy relationship with National.
But I simply cannot do that.
• We should recognise that Maori people are simply not happy to support a relationship with National while food prices go up, petrol prices go up, electricity goes up, house prices go up, rents go up, and GST gets whacked on top of everything, while this government gives millions of dollars in tax breaks to the rich.
• We should acknowledge the reality that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and that our people are getting hammered every step of the way, and not because I say so, but because every single economic commentator is saying so.
• We should not only be saying we want GST to be taken off food in the next budget, we should also tell the PM publicly that we did not support the last GST increase, and that any further increase in GST will be a coalition-breaker.
• When Tariana Turia’s voters say that the most important issue for them is the Maori language, then we should be calling for Maori to be compulsory in all primary schools.
• When government says that 60,000 children started school last week, 12,000 of them will leave without being able to read and write, and that most of them will be Maori, we should be demanding that government cancel any further bailouts for big business, and instead spend the money on ensuring that all Maori kids can read well, write well, count well and speak well by the time they’re 10, and that we will achieve that by 2014.
• We should oppose the government’s Marine and Coastal Areas Bill because it does not give us the title that our people marched for, and because most of our people do not support it. We should instead ask that the 2004 Bill be repealed and a moratorium be put on the FSSB for a couple of years to see if we can come up with a deal acceptable to Maori, while accommodating the wishes of other New Zealanders This bill does not do that and we should not feel embarrassed about opposing it.
• We should come out hard against the privatisation of the nation’s assets. Privatisation of the telecommunications industry has put billions of dollars of hard earned kiwi dollars into the hands of overseas interests every single year while thousands of Kiwi workers, many of them Maori, have been simply dumped at the roadside. NZ Rail is the same, NZ forestry, NZ banks – this government’s plans to sell of the rest of the nations assets must be stopped, and we must lead the charge to stop them.
The fact of the matter is that although there have been some small gains, Maori communities have been heavily hit all round the country by this government’s policies, and our people want us to step away from National and look at whats happening.
We have been swallowed up by the National juggernaut, we are seen as merely the Maori face of a government that is hurting Maori people, and we are no longer being seen as active defenders of the faith.I agree with all that and that is why I believe Hone is a true leader and showing his leadership qualities daily - he is expressing the views of many maori - not dictating what they should believe. And to cap it all off he shows humility and that is why the people will follow him.
I know I don’t have all the answers. I know my colleagues have just as much to offer as I do, but I also know that our people are crying out for us to reconnect with them, with their lives, with their situations and with their hopes and dreams.
I know that I have been wrong with some of the things I have said, and some of things that I have done. I do struggle with authority and I know that I could handle my relationships with my co-leaders and my colleagues better than I have, but I have been selected by the Tai Tokerau to be the Maori Party candidate for the 2011 election, and I am ready to be that candidateHone is showing his quality as the pressure increases, there is still a wee way to go and I hope he continues to stand strong and stay controlled.