The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Monday, September 19, 2005

balance of paua

Tariana Turia talked about models of power-broking on Checkpoint tonight, specifically the arrangements they are considering for the shape of the next Government.

She rattled off a list of options for the Maori Party, roughly:
- in formal coalition
- crossbenches
- confidence and supply
- opposition (not sure if she mentioned this actually, but it is an option)
- a mysterious "alternative" that is apparently quite unique to NZ but has been used overseas

Not much of a hint to what this last option might be, but I have been musing on something Keith Locke (he of the naked Epsom dash) said to me at a candidates' forum before the election.

He speculated that the Maori Party MPs may have a much looser voting arrangement than other parties. At first I thought he meant that they would vote here on one issue and there on another, but when I questioned him further he explained that he meant each individual Maori Party MP might vote separately, ie effectively act as independents.

Keith felt that those likely to be elected represented the range of political leanings within Maoridom, and thus each could vote as suited their particular ideology. I wondered if they might add in some way of checking in with their electorate, although Locke felt this was unnecessary (not surprising given he's an MP).

This would certainly be a radical way of managing things, but it does fit with the Maori Party approach to date. One of the reasons they didn't have a lot of policy going in to the election, according to their Auckland Central candidate Bronwyn Yates, is that they have their founding principles and feel that there are many different ways. In other words, they are acknowledging that there is more than one solution to every problem, and that each Maori Party MP may hold a different view that is still in-keeping with the overall kaupapa and tikanga of the party itself.

Which would mean that the party that holds the balance of power in some Parliamentary equations effectively acts as a party of independents, bound by a common set of principles but entitled to vote according to their own conscience on each piece of legislation as it comes up.

Talk about self-determination!


CutFoldGlue said...

I think their strength is that when there are decisions to be made they have the hui format to communicate their ideas to the electorate.. I can't think of any other party that is going back to their voters to see what they want out of a coalition.

span said...

Locke seemed to think they wouldn't be using that much once Parliament was running. I don't know if he has any inside information though.

If NZF went back to their voters that would be an interesting exercise, as they'd overwhelmingly want him to go with Labour...

Sam said...

Fantastic title to that post. Did you think of that?

roskill library ghost said...

Waaahahahahaha! Oh, that's Terry Pratchett-book-title-level right there bro.

span said...

yep, i was driving home thinking about how we used to call Workers' Power "Workers' Paua" when I was at uni, and then Turia was on the radio, and bam. i thought it was quite Dog-Biting-Men-esque.