Stand by with the fire hoses

It seemed – for a moment – the Parliamentary security people should be alerted.

The alarm bell was raised by a media statement headed “Major conference to discuss presence of Māori in Parliament”.

Its first sentence was:

Sparks could fly when a major conference brings together speakers from across the political spectrum to discuss the presence of Maori in Parliament next month.

So some hothead will set fire to the place?

Probably not.

The conference – Maori and Parliament – is the eighth in a series run by Victoria University’s Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, and the Former Parliamentarians’ Association. It will be held in Parliament Buildings from 8-9 May.

Conference organiser Professor Lydia Wevers says

“With the combination of people we have—from across the spectrum—sparks may fly.”

Ah. Looks like someone is keen to grab a headline.

On second thoughts, maybe there’s a greater danger of Alf being hit by a flying pig than of seeing sparks fly at a gabfest organised by academics on the presence of Maori in Parliament.

A conference on the spelling of W(h)anganui which pits mayor Michael Laws and local supporters against Maori – then the debate might get heated.

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