May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Internet Mana, a shake up in politics – Dr Leonie Pihama

4 min read


(By Dr Leonie Pihama) The past few weeks in politics in Aotearoa have been quite a shake up to say the least. In particular the announcement of the Mana and Internet Party agreement.

To be honest I was surprised at the announcement. But I have been more shocked at the level of attack made towards the Mana Party from all corners and in particular much of the offensive response from some media.


The blog by Duncan Garner that the alliance is a sham and a rort is a pathetic piece of writing, yes I hesitate to call it journalism. Seems that Duncan is blinded by the fact that all political parties in some way of other buy support and with the privatisation and neoliberal agenda of the past few years the issue is not a Party for Sale but a Country for Sale.

This is not a dirty deal as Garner presents it as, it is transparent and clear, nothing hidden. And it has nothing over the cup of tea deal in Epsom in the 2011 elections. In fact Laila Harre is clear that the key mission is to remove this government. This agreement she advocates is developed in line with an existing and growing constituency of people who are wanting to remove a right wing government. Laila Harre does give credibility as her strength in the political arena is clearly articulated by knowledgeable political commentators. Laila Harre has a long history of political and trade union involvement, she is a woman that has strong convictions and an ability to argue policy with a smooth articulateness. There needs to be more serious consideration given to the key elements of this alliance and the potential for the bringing together of Mana and the Internet Party to achieve more for our people.

Articles that are based on fear-mongering and reductionist thinking by Colin Espiner, Tracy Watkins and Duncan Garner merely prop up the existing right wing status quo, which is of no benefit to our people.

We must have change this election or we will without doubt see even harder times impacting upon our people. The Neoliberal privatisation, TPPA agenda of the National government continues to strip us of any economic control whilst increasing the impact of poverty and widening the gap between the haves and the have nots.

We need to look at all options if we are to make change in this years election. The alliance of Mana and the Internet Party is an option that can not and should not be denied our people. As John Armstrong noted in his opinion piece this alliance is making an impact, whether people like it or not. Labour Party Leader David Cunliffe has clearly indicated his openness to what this alliance may mean to the Left. And so he should. Labour need help. They need help from both the Greens and from the Mana/Internet Alliance.

It is important, in fact it is critical that our people listen carefully to the rationale for this alliance, and that we make our own decisions as to its worthiness. Both Hone Harawira and Annette Sykes have clearly articulated the reasoning, we must take time to listen to those reasons and to the policies that will emerge from the alliance.

And just as important is the need for our people to have access to the policies and intentions of all of the parties. That means reducing the personality politics and keeping focused on the kaupapa, and the key issues at hand. Our people have never taken kindly to personal attacks on individuals and so to all of those who are standing in this election it is critical that we hear your voices, your positions, your policies and how you will make a difference for our people.

As for mainstream media, well we know they are driven by their own interests and have rarely served the needs of the people, so ignoring their extreme sensationalism is strongly advised.

Dr Leonie Pihama

Leonie_PihamaDr Leonie Pihama is a Senior Research Fellow at the Te K?tahi Institute, University of Waikato, and Director of Maori And Indigenous Analysis Ltd, a Kaupapa Maori research company. Her extensive research interests cover whanau, economic transformation and national identity. She has a long history of involvement in Maori education, including te kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori (total immersion preschools and schools), and has published widely.

Leonie sits on the Government-appointed Constitutional Advisory Panel. She has received numerous academic awards, including the inaugural Fulbright-Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Scholar Award and a Hohua Tutengaehe Post-Doctoral Scholarship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Leonie is Principal Investigator on the Nga Pae o te Maramatanga research projectTiakina Te Pa Harakeke: Maori childrearing within a context of whanau ora. She has led other NPM projects in the past, oneducation,eugenics,and neonatal care

1 thought on “Internet Mana, a shake up in politics – Dr Leonie Pihama

  1. Was there ever an independent commission established to monitor the media in providing a fair and balanced viewpoint (as suggested in the Special Rapporteur’s report from 2006)? A lot of the reporting I have seen lately has been purposely defamatory, consistently sharing a negative portrayal of certain parties and politicians in every broadcast/article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.