Maori Party snub of Clark a clever move

Posted August 4, 2016

Despite claims that their decision not to back Helen Clark for the UN job was unpatriotic, the Maori Party’s decision was a clever move that reinforced their standing in New Zealand politics.

Whether it be a media interview, political campaign, or the entire reason a political party exists, there needs to be a consistent message. The lack of one recently is a major reason why labour languishes in opinion polls.

But the Maori Party has always been clear. It stands for the wellbeing of Maori. It even came into existence after the replacement of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Helen Clark was seen as the instigator of that, while her Government also failed to sign the Declaration of Indigenous People’s Rights.

So to stay relevant to what they stand for and make that clear to their potential voters, they had to snub Clark. Many say they should have supported Clark regardless and perhaps they would have for another position. But because the UN is in the business of human rights, this was a tougher test.

I personally think she would be a great Secretary General. But I totally understand why the Maori Party have taken this stance. Not only does it follow their principles, but it’s good politics and has given the Party a great opportunity to show its relevance to potential voters.

Also, remember that those who have criticised the stance would never even consider voting for the Maori Party. But some Maori who don’t traditionally vote for the party may now have another look.

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