May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Will Parekura Horomia retire? | Morgan Godfery | Maui Street Blog

3 min read

I think it is certainly plausible. Parekura has yet to confirm whether he will stand for re-election, either in Ikaroa-Rawhiti or on the list.

At the moment Parekura may feel somewhat undervalued and excluded. Parekura is the leader of the Maori caucus, the kaumatua of the Labour Party and, formerly, a successful cabinet minister and senior public servant. This demands a degree of respect. However, from what I have seen, Phil Goff is not treating Parekura with any respect.

Phil Goff is running Maori policy unilaterally. The Maori caucus is excluded, for example when Goff ruled out Hone Harawira, and undervalued, for example when Parekura was demoted. To top it all off Goff offended, in a deep way, the Maori caucus with his Nationhood speech. It is entirely conceivable that Parekura is feeling rather disillusioned.

We can probably take in wider factors as well. Parekura is, or is approaching, 60. Time is not on his side. After another electoral cycle he will be too old to explore life beyond politics, or at least it fair to assume so. And why tie yourself to a sinking ship? Labour is heading towards oblivion – is it worth staying to pick up the pieces?

Perhaps the strongest evidence that Parekura is contemplating retirement is his non-denial as to whether he will stand again. If you are standing youre standing and there is little reason to have people suspect otherwise. However, if you are not standing, and you occupy a sensitive seat and sensitive position within the party, you make an announcement when the situation is favourable.

If Parekura does step down, it will be a bad look for Labour. It doesnt look flash when a recently demoted MP decides to call it quits. But more importantly Labour will also struggle to retain Ikaroa Rawhiti. Parekura is, by all accounts, an excellent electorate MP and a personable guy. In 2005 and 2008 the Maori Party candidate did well, but did not come within striking distance. This, in my opinion, comes down to Parekuras personal following in the electorate and, to a lesser extent, his tribal connections. However, if you deduct the personal following and whakapapa factor, Labours hold appears very tenuous. A strong Maori Party candidate could swing the vote.

Should Parekura retire, Shane Jones is ready to fill the void with Kelvin Davis at his side. Nanaia is stepping back, in the interests of her whanau, and good on her for doing so. Labour needs to rebuild and Parekura must decide whether he wants be a part of that. My opinion is, Parekura has done enough for Labour, better to step back on your own terms. But above all, Its a new generations turn.

About Maui Street Blog

The Maui Street Blog is the digitalcreation of rangatahi blogger Morgan Godfery, who affiliates to Ngati Awa (Te Pahipoto) as well as Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Hikairoa. He grew up in Kawerau, went to high school in Rotorua (Boys High) and Im currently studying law at Victoria University.

What Morgan has to say about his blog Maui Street is an attempt to address the shortage of Maori voices in the blogosphere. As an ardent reader of many left leaning blogs and an occasional visitor to some right leaning blogs I was, and continue to be, struck by the shortage of Maori bloggers and the poor coverage Maori issues receive, having said that there are a number of notable exceptions. Therefore, I believe Maui Street fills a very important niche.

Maui Street will deal, for the most part but not exclusively, with Maori political issues. I will do my best to post at the very least weekly. With study commitments and life in general my posting habits may become erratic.

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