Duncan Garner: Māori giving Labour a free pass when they should be holding Ardern's feet to the fire

Opinion 05/02/2021

OPINION: Tomorrow is Waitangi Day, but today usually marks the fireworks: Mud, rubber dildos, punch-ups, tears, a Harawira somewhere - we all lived in fear.

But so far, she's all quiet in the North.

I don't really know why. Quite frankly Māori are giving Labour a free pass when they should be holding Ardern's feet to the fire.

And she started it, three years ago turning up at Waitangi and infamously asking the local iwi to hold her to account on the levels of Māori children in poverty and job creation for Māori. She also promised to reduce the Māori incarceration rate.

So the report card: 

  • Māori children in poverty - about the same as when Ardern took office.

  • More Māori are unemployed than last year

  • Housing costs have skyrocketed

  • 65 percent of children in care are Māori

  • The number of Māori in jail is stubbornly high - about 65 percent of the jail population.

There is nothing to celebrate. 

So let's highlight the successes. Ardern got speaking rights at the upper marae - how modern of Ngapuhi.

But Judith Collins didn't - how old fashioned. Seriously, why do we accept this sexism under the guise of culture? Why do we tippy-toe around it?

But there's collective selective amnesia over the challenge Ardern laid down three years ago.

Anyway, have a day off on Jacinda. Welcome to your latest public holiday, it's Matatiki. Brilliant politics - imagine National campaigning to take it off you? 

Collins has been snookered and silenced at the same time.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.