It's "suck up to maori voters" week, as politicians join celebrations at Ratana Pa. The annual event commemorates the founding of the Ratana church, but politicians in some ways have taken over proceedings in recent years, circling the brown vote like sharks around burley.
But this year New Zealand First leader Winston Peters called 'a spade a spade' and, in his usual style, described Maori Party policies as akin to apartheid!
Peters said his party would never support separatist Maori Party policies such as having separate maori prison units and a separate maori social welfare system Whanau Ora. In fact, he described them as "racist policies based on colour and ethnic preference" : "What maori need is housing, decent healthcare, decent education system and first world jobs and wages. The Maori Party has abandoned that for socialogical objectives which are of no interest to Maoridom at all. Apartheid policies are based on racial preference. This is, too."
Peters wouldn't say which parties he'd consider working with post-election, but was firm he could not work with the Maori Party as long as it kept separatist policies. "You can't have a Crown composed of two different groups - the rest and maori. Either we're all together or we're all going to be separate."
Winston is himself multiracial, of a maori father and Scottish mother.
PM John Key announced this week his National Party would work with NZ First after the election, as a last resort.
Meanwhile...Hone Harawira's hopes of a merger between his Mana Party and the Maori Party crashed and burned at Ratana. Maori Party prez Naida Glavish said if Hone-cuz couldn't work with National, then her party couldn't work with him. Chuurrr! Bye, bro!
PS: 24 Jan.2014 - Winston's comments make no friends...hmmm, I thought they were spot on actually!