Gone By Lunchtime (Image: Tina Tiller)
Gone By Lunchtime (Image: Tina Tiller)

PoliticsJune 10, 2024

Disentangling the claims around census data and Te Pāti Māori

Gone By Lunchtime (Image: Tina Tiller)
Gone By Lunchtime (Image: Tina Tiller)

Are the existing probes sufficient to address such a swarm of allegations?

Eleven agencies were summoned by the public service commissioner for a meeting on Friday to discuss “action” to address a series of allegations involving Manurewa marae and Te Pāti Māori, the most serious of which centres on misuse of census data ahead of the last election. In the Tamaki Makaurau electorate, TPM’s Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp – then CEO of the marae – defeated Labour’s Peeni Henare by just 42 votes.

Kemp and John Tamihere, president of TPM, strenuously reject the allegations and “baseless innuendo”.

“If true, the allegations represent a serious misuse of citizens’ personal information and an unacceptable breach of public trust,” said Heather Baggott, acting Public Service Commissioner, in a statement. “These are serious allegations that go to the core of trust and confidence in our public institutions and our democratic processes.”

But while Stats NZ has launched an investigation and a range of other agencies are non-specifically described as “taking action”, there was no announcement from Baggott of any broader or overarching inquiry.

In a new episode of the Spinoff politics podcast Gone By Lunchtime, Annabelle Lee-Mather, Ben Thomas and Toby Manhire convene their own summit in an attempt to get their heads around the claims and counter-claims, and why they’re so serious.

Plus: The enduring newsline for Nicola Willis’s debut budget was meant to be tax cuts and a tightening of belts. Instead it’s something else: a failure to deliver promised funding to 13 cancer drugs. We assess the severity of the backlash, the response, and the reception to the 2024 budget more broadly.

Follow Gone By Lunchtime on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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