Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In the Whare

Five women walk into powhiri. Four of them literally. One's part Maori, one's part woman, and some walked out part way through. The part-woman one is also Maori. All were MP's. One MP, Judith Collins, says they walked out because some of them were rebuked for sitting in the front row.

It is government policy that women can sit in the front row at a powhiri.

The part Maori one walked out, the part- woman one stayed in. Both were apparently sitting next to each other, but not in the front row.

Helen Clark has waded in to the argument making stuff up again. She said that the MPs were rude.Called Collins the "guest from hell". She didn't comment about Maori protocol, nor the apology given by the Ministry of Social Development for thumbing its nose at government policy and causing offence over seating arrangements. How rude of the kaumatua for challenging government policy, Clark DID NOT say.

But it is the part woman's fault. Georgina Beyer, despite telling the kaumatua that there will be women sitting in the front row, as per government policy, did not tell her fellow select committee members that there was going to be a powhiri. In fact the other members firmly understood that there was not going to be one.

What a shambles.

Given that Clark's information has come second or third hand, I`d rather believe Collins. It`s Beyer that should be criticised, not Collins. It's understood Beyer sat about half way back. How appropriate.

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