Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says that Labour
ruling out the Internet Mana Party from ministerial posts
showed the importance of the Maori Party sitting at the
Government of the day.
Some parties talked about changing things; the Maori Party
actually changed things.
"All the philosophies are fine," said Mr Flavell. "What we
have attempted to do is make it happen."
Mr Flavell was speaking in the latest of the Herald's Hot
Seat video interviews of party leaders.
He said former colleague and now Mana Internet leader Hone
Harawira "hasn't got a mortgage on looking after the poor
"He talked about feeding the children...well we've done it .
Our kaupapa we put in front of the National Party was the
Kickstart programme which is in fact dealing with over 25,000
children in more than 700 schools."
The ministerial poverty committee led by Finance Minister
Bill English had been a Maori Party initiative and had
resulted in extending free access to doctors from under sixes
to under 13-year-olds, to extended pay parental leave and
parental tax credits, and further moves to insulate homes and
address rheumatic fever.
The party was formed in 2004 and was first elected to
Parliament in 2005 when it sat in Opposition in Labour's
John Key offered the party a confidence and supply agreement
in National's first and second terms, despite not needing the
numbers to govern with Act and United Future already sewn up.
When former Act leader John Banks resigned from Parliament in
June, the Maori Party held the balance of power on some
legislation including one on workplace place which opponents
said would weaken collective bargaining.
"We, with our three little humble votes, stopped legislation
in its tracks because if we didn't support it, it went
nowhere," he said. "that's how powerful we can be."
That wasn't to say the party would use that opportunity every
"But it does show the country that we can, if needed, bring a
common sense approach, a Maori approach to deal with the
Government of the day."
Mr Harawira left the Maori party in 2011 and is now in an
alliance with Kim Dotcom's Internet party.
Despite pledging its support to a Government which got rid of
National, Labour leader David Cunliffe has ruled out offering
any Internet Mana MPs ministerial posts.
That made the Maori Party's position to deal with the
Government of the day more important.
"If you want to have change, you have got to be at the
Commenting on the difference between the more than $3 million
Internet Mana were campaigning on compared with the meager
coffers of the Maori Party candidates he said it made it hard
"But there is something about clear thinking and passion and
common sense that I think always wins over - call me a