Steve Maharey, Minister of Education, Broadcasting, Research, Science and Technology, Crown Research Institutes and the Education Review Office is to leave Parliament in 2008.
Reversing the usual trend of socialist academics ending their careers in Parliament, Maharey is going back to Massey University to take up the vice-Chancellorship.
So one less socialist in Parliament, but one more in a key educational position. Maharey certainly won’t be lonely.
Here is a short profile of the possibly worst Prime Minister we never had.
Steve mahaey left school at 15 to work in the Valuation Department and then a shoe shop. After that he went to Palmerston north’s Massey University (1972/6) to study sociology.
Maharey mixed with the activist anti-Vietnam War crowd at university. He campaigned against compulsory military training, usually a preserve of the Maoist student community.
Like many of his future Labour colleagues, Maharey was active in student politics, becoming president of the Teacher Trainees Association of New Zealand.
Maharey also joined the Labour Party, to “get rid of Muldoon“.
After university, Maharey joined the Massey staff to lecture in Business Administration ans Sociology.
In 1981 Maharey opposed the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand.
By the late ’80s, the New Zealand far left which becoming highly unsettled by the Lange labour government’s pro-market economic policies.
The debate was fierce. Some began agitating for an alternative to Labour, others regarded Labour as still the best hope for advancing socialism.
In August 1986 a “Winter Forum” was held in Palmerston North to look at alternative strategies-political and economic. About 50 people attended including members of the Socialist Action League, Workers Communist League, Values Party, Labour Party and independent left wing activists.
According to the WCL’s “Unity” of the 12th September 1986, Maharey attended. Allegedly he outlined his reasons for working towards socialism in the Labour Party and fortold of a looming power struggle within the party.
In 1986 Maharey wrote an essay “Moving Left: Can Labour be Socialist and be the Government?” The essay opposed Roger Douglas’s economic policies and argued for socialist alternatives. According to the Marxist journal, NZ Monthly Review of May 1992 “Maharey answered “yes” to the question he had posed – there was a parliamentary road to socialism and the Labour Party could be the vehicle for socialist policies.”
From the late ’80s to 1991, Maharey was on the editorial collective of the Massey based journal Sites-A Journal for Radical Perspectives on Culture.
“Sites” was the magazine of the academic left.
Leftist commentator Chris Trotter stated that “Sites looks like fulfilling the role played by Marxism Today in the retooling of British Labour Party’s decrepit ideological machinery”
In March 1989 Maharey spoke at a Victoria University seminar on the “New Right“. Other speakers included Marxist Bruce Jesson, socialist economist Brian Easton, Robert Mahuta, Hazel Armstrong ( a former reporter for the Socialist Unity Party’s “Tribune” newspaper) and Marxist academic, the late Hugh Lauder.
By 1990, Maharey was the Labour MP for Palmerston North and a rising star in the party. According to Chris Trotter, he was “charged with reconstructing Labours policy base”
For a time Maharey served on Labour’s left controlled Policy Council.
Even as late as 1999, Maharey was still showing his leftist paranoia, by chairing the launch of an NZCTU book on Business Round Table influence on New Zealanf government at the local Labour Party rooms.
On the 27th of June 2006, Maharey was asked this question in parliament by NZ First’s Brian Donnelly.
Should an understanding of the philosophical and economic theories of Karl Marx be an essential part of our early childhood teachers’ qualifications, as it was in the 1990s under a National Government, or should such qualifications be focused more on how to optimise the intellectual, social, and emotional development of preschoolers?
The Hon. Steve Maharey replied;
I go along with what the member says, in the latter part of his question, should underlie early childhood education, but I do have to say congratulations to the National Party on its open-minded approach to Karl Marx and its support for his recognition through the system.
Of course, he was joking.