Mike's Minute: What are the govt's plans with He Puapua?

Author
(Photo / NZ Herald) ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 10:34AM

Mike's Minute: What are the govt's plans with He Puapua?

Author
(Photo / NZ Herald) ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 10:34AM

Evidence trumps denial. That's where I am at this morning with He Puapua.

This week has seen the presence of this report and its potential go from something dismissed as a bit of race baiting, little more than a discussion document loved by National written by an academic, and of no consequence whatsoever, to a full-blown acceptance that something is afoot.

The evidence is the separate health agency with veto powers. The key is the veto powers. The evidence is the argument put forward that Maori are disproportionately represented in the health area. An argument no one disagrees with, because you can't.

And yet it is justification for a standalone health agency with veto powers.

The obvious question, and we've asked it several times this week, is if that’s the logic for health, why isn't it the logic for education, welfare and justice? And when asked, no one can answer.

Hence, the suspicion.

The evidence is the Maori Ward move at local body level. It was a rapid "under urgency” change of law that was not raised once in the election campaign. It was a policy enacted swiftly and yet never mentioned in the months of campaign lead up, why not?

The evidence is Ihumatao and a deal that not only stunk from day one, got stalled until Christmas for obvious reasons, but then in the ultimate embarrassment turned out to be unlawful. But that was dismissed by the government, red faced, as a technicality.

The issue, apart from anything else, is what's worse? The policy itself, the idea that we run this country along lines of race, or the fact the government clearly aren't being open, honest, and transparent about what's really on the planning whiteboard?

The document was held up for an age and heavily redacted and the Prime Minister was arguing she was worried about how it would be perceived. Treat us like adults and let us make up our own minds.

And given the control freaky approach to it and the ensuing fall out, how did that go for you then?

The debate in the house Tuesday is worth a watch. Ardern was rattled and flustered. She gets that way when things aren't going well. She's visually not hard to read, and they most certainly are not going well on this.

David Seymour got to this first and deserves credit. Judith Collins saw it for what it was and is now in a lot stronger position as of today than she might have thought she was last week.

The initial round of race baiting, dismiss and disown that got rolled out from the usual Labour apologists didn’t work. They hoped in a woke world calling her racist might shame her.

But that’s what good opposition is about though, know when you're onto something and run with it.

National has run with it and they're right. Middle New Zealand, I think, is on to this and this is far from over.