by Geoffrey Churchman

Last September, Roger Childs asked on here if we need a Māori Party and in December castigated its co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer for making absurd historical claims.

Soon after entering parliament, the other co-leader, Rawiri Waititi made the legacy media headlines by declaring he would not adhere to Parliament’s dress code of wearing a tie. In March on social media he described Causcasians as an ‘archaic species.’ On Wednesday this week after making another rumpus in the debating chamber, aimed at Judith Collins for questioning Dear Leader about the government’s He Puapua plans, the Speaker gave him marching orders out of the chamber.

Some Māori may applaude this behaviour, but it’s likely that most regard it as an embarrassment and counter-productive, which it is. It’s sure to have made many non-Maori wonder, “do we really want any kind of co-governance from people who behave like clowns?”

The present Māori Party leaders in parliament do a big disservice to Maori causes, and as Labour’s Kelvin Davis says, at 1.2% of the vote in the last election, they hardly represent Māori anyway.

I regularly discuss local issues with local Māori who are among the nicest people you could hope to meet — thoughtful, gracious, friendly and insightful about why Māori are over-represented in areas of crime, prison population, drug addiction and poor health — and they not only see solutions, they work to achieve them. We hope to give them and their ideas attention, thus countering the negative public impression given by the Māori Party.