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Labour doesn’t deserve our vote - Tariana Turia

Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that  "I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more.  I don’t believe they deserve our vote, I don’t believe they deserve the vote of the Pasifika people, because if there's one thing I've noticed since coming through and being a Minister this time, is the very very poor resourcing of all Pasifika health, social services, you name it," she said.

When asked whether she is worried that the Labour party might take a large portion of the Maori Party vote , she said, "I think that our people have to ask themselves that for all the years that Labour were in government, the nine years of plenty, what is it that changed in their lives?  What is it that Labour did that made them feel that things had changed for them, and have made a difference?"

Ms Turia denies that a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for National.

"No, a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for a party that is really clear about its intention, and it is to serve the interests of tangata whenua in the first instance, because we believe in doing that we create a great environment for New Zealanders to have a future together."

She says the Maori Party will go with anyone who can form a government, but concedes her party support has been hurt by the relationship with National.

"Only because other politicians portray it as such. When we're out there in the community amongst our people, our people have been really pleased with the gains that we have made."

She says a controversial April 2 Northern Club dinner was about getting people along who had the resource to support the Maori Party.

The fundraiser at the posh members-only club featured John Key as a draw card. Attendees had the option of paying $5000 for a confidential chat with the Prime Minister.

"We've never purported to represent all poor people, because Maori people are on a major scale, so we've got very poor, and we've got very middle class, and so we've always tried to represent all of their interests.  When you're fundraising you hardly go to the poor."

Ms Turia says they have had two fundraisers and they asked the people who agreed to come to the dinner who they would like to speak. "Both times they chose John Key."

Comments and questions

Controversial fund raiser? Only in the minds of the media and the losers in the Labour, Greens and Mana (not) Party. Maori Party is in government with National and doing a fund raiser with the main draw card is not only natural, but a right thing to do.

Have to agree. Never voted for Turiana, but have to admit that over the years she has made more sense than any other Maori leaders.

Turia is absolutely right. Labour don't deserve the Maori vote. No question they've done much better under National. And the fundraiser was a smart move...why wouldn't you use NZ's most popular politician ever!

Whose done better? There are more Maori struggling now under this government than when under a Labour lead government. The only Maori that are doing alright are those who are pulling Tariana and Sharple's strings, the corperate Maori.

Very good interview by Turia and I agree - Maori should look at what the Maori Party has been able to achieve in government, compared to what Labour delivered in the past.

The only thing I took issue with was her institutional racism example - why did her son act confrontational when asked a standard police question?

who would've thought..... It is interesting to see that as the wealth and ability for self determination outside of the state has improved, so has the understanding of the value of preserving that position away from a nanny state that says it is helping, but is actually oppressing. I'm sure there is some psychology around people awakening to understand that the it saviour/supporter was in fact an oppressor...

Certainly agree with Tariana.Helen Clark told her to lie across the back seat of a Government Limo to hide from the NZ MSM who were out to find out the truth,why she left the Labour.Tariana is correct the only thing Labour has done for Maori was to divide them with the seabed and foreshore fiasco.That includes the present Maori who voted in Clark,s divisive stance.Seem to remember Shane Jones was one of them.Now it saddens me to hear him berate Tariana,when all she has done is tell it like it was and still is.

At the dinner, there was no one from the private sector - all were from the public trough - i.e. no attendee paid his or her own money to attend but used taxpayer dollars/agency monies e.g. Maori TV, TPK, Ngati Whatua..and so a very expensive dinner was had at the cost to the taxpayer.

All very well intentioned by Mrs Turia

But the Maori party coalition with National has not assisted Maori across the board - being in government has made no difference.

Maori will decide their destiny at the next election and Mrs Turia knows that the Maori party are on a hiding to nothing. A Flavell led Maori party has no credibility or substance

One interesting point here. Can anyone see a post-Turia/Sharples Maori Party as willing to sit down alongside Colin Craig's Conservatives, given that party's mindless anti-Treaty stance?

Ms Turia does make an interesting point, though. Does the Maori Party represent middle-class, managerial and professional Maori, perhaps more so than the broad base that she advocates, given its coalition relationship with the Key administration? It would be intriguing to poll Maori electorates and voters about their voting intentions and perceptions.