28 May 2024

Mata Season 2 | Episode 9: Te Pāti Māori - Disrupting the Budget

From Mata with Mihingarangi Forbes , 7:00 pm on 28 May 2024

Te Pāti Māori leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi on their nationwide activation to disrupt Budget 2024 and commentators Dr Lara Greaves and Shane Te Pou discuss the latest in politics.

Māori are being called to "stand and rise" and join a national strike on Thursday by Te Pāti Māori leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi, as the coalition government announces the budget.

In an Instagram post published jointly with Te Pāti Māori, organisers called for all Māori and Tangata Tiriti to go on strike on Thursday and protest the government's policies affecting Māori.

It is the latest chapter of Māori activation after Kiingi Tuuheitia called for a national hui at Tuurangawaewae Marae in January, attended by thousands of people.

Ngarewa-Packer and Waititi told Mata with Mihingarangi Forbes that their call for a strike was to continue the call of kotahitanga (unity in Māori) and also ask people to consider whether they had reached a bottom line where they would not tolerate the actions of the government any longer.

"For far too long, we've allowed them to assume, under the guise of kāwanatanga, absolute sovereignty and control ... for far too long we've allowed them to domesticate us," Waititi said.

Hikoi were planned throughout the country, including at Parliament.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said it was "wrong" for Te Pāti Māori to be calling people to take the day off work and the planned strike was "illegal".

Labour leader Chris Hipkins also voiced concerns over not breaking the law.

There are clear rules around strikes, including being in a collective agreement and striking in the context of bargaining.

However, Ngarewa-Packer and Waititi dismissed those comments, and said they were not operating in a Western context.

Rawiri Waititi

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

"Of course, he's going to say it's illegal, because it's in a kāwanatanga space," Waititi said.

"He can say all he likes, at the end of the day we are acting in our rangatiratanga, we are acting in Article 2, which was the protection of the pre-existing rights of tangata whenua to be undisturbed  of our whenua, to be undisturbed of our kainga, to be undisturbed of our taonga."

Commentators Dr Lara Greaves and Shane Te Pou, who also feature on the episode, said just because striking law had clear rules, it did not have to stop people from joining in the action.

Te Pou mentioned that anyone could take a sick day, a mental health day or time off in lieu.

"If some bum of an employer wanted to sack you, I reckon ... there would be lots of support ... lots of lawyers that would fight for you," he said.

Greaves said the timing of the strikes was good because numbers on budget day did not normally "get to people's hearts".

Ngarewa-Packer and Waititi confirmed they would make it to Parliament on Thursday, but only to oppose the budget.

"What we're going to get is a Pākehā government that will announce a Pākehā budget for a Pākehā economy," Waititi said.

Te Pāti Māori said the end plan was to "start our own parliament".

"We allow this government, and we are allowing Pākehā to assume mana over us as we continue to engage in kāwanatanga spaces," Waititi said.

"We must step into rangatiratanga, we must look at what our own oranga is and our own parliament."

This Friday also marks the next national hui for Māori, where discussion papers on its agenda have already been published online and includes kōrero about what a Māori nation would look like.

Greaves said the government should be concerned about what is discussed.

"But they won't be, because [sic] the system of power that got you in power, you're kind of always going to give credence to that [and] support that," she said.

But Greaves said this issue was not unique to New Zealand and the structures of democracies all around the world had problems.

"Realistically, with things like the climate crisis coming, I think over the next few decades we will be reconsidering a lot of our structures. I can't see how we don't do that."