Hone Harawira thinks the Maori Party needs to dance to his tune. Are his colleagues going to pull the plug on his stereo?

Last Sunday, Hone Harawira penned this opinion piece in the Sunday Star-Times, titled "crunch time for Maori grumbles". It's looking like the piece may well have brought about crunch time for him; or, at least, crunch time for his relationship with his Maori Party colleagues.

You can see why the piece has caused so much friction. Not only does he decry "the anti-worker, anti-beneficiary and anti-environment (and therefore anti-Maori) legislation that comes as a natural consequence of having a right-wing government", he also slams his own colleagues: "because leaders do most of the talking for a party (and control what the rest of their MPs say as well), our public statements over the last couple of years have been rather muted, to say the least."

His list of "suggestions" for the Party in the lead up to the election also contain a few pretty blatant swipes at his own team. They need to "speak out strongly against National's anti-social initiatives." They need to abandon their support for the replacement foreshore and seabed legislation - effectively admitting defeat on this core issue. They need to "most importantly, go back to the people" - because the MPs have become so comfortable in power that they've forgotten who they must answer to.

Oh - and they also need to "stop trying to make us all be the same. When some of us say one thing and others take another view, learn to celebrate the difference rather than try to crush the dissent." In other words, let me do my thing in my own way ... .

Finally, Harawira closes with a threat: "Over the next few months I will be writing articles focusing on issues which will affect Maori in the run-up to the 2011 election, including a more in-depth one on National's Marine and Coastal Areas bill." Not that last bit - he calls the legislation "National's", in spite of his Party trumpeting it as "fulfil[ling] our election promise."

I don't know if Harawira's colleagues knew he was planning on dropping this particular bomb, or were fully aware of what he planned to say in it. Probably not, given that it took them over 2 days to work out how to respond publicly.

If they did know it was coming, you can bet their stern message was "don't you dare write this!" And it is hard to decide what is worse - writing without forewarning your colleagues, or doing so even after being told not to.

So, given all this, it isn't surprising that all four of Harawira's colleagues have officially complained about his column to the Party President, Pem Bird.

Of course, we've been in this sort of territory before. Back at the end of 2009, it looked touch-and-go as to whether Harawira would remain in the Maori Party following his tax-payer funded Paris sojourn and racially-charged reaction to criticism of it. He eventually backed down with an "I'm sorry if you can't handle my truth" apology (nicely parodied by the Southland Times here), with his colleagues also publicly seeking to heal the rift.

So will the present stoush just be 2009 redux, with a bit of posturing followed by a public show of reconciliation? Maybe - but maybe not, too.

For one thing, the issues at stake are much, much greater here. In 2009, it was whether Harawira could control his temper (and temperament) so as to avoid generating the wrong sorts of headlines for the wrong sorts of reasons.

The Sunday Star-Times piece, by contrast, represents an attempt at a full policy coup within the Maori Party. Essentially, Harawira is seeking to develop a political platform that flaxroots party members can clamber aboard, thereby forcing his caucus colleagues to follow.

Or, to put it another way, it's a statement that unless the Maori Party starts doing things the way he thinks they should be done, then he'll wage a guerilla war against it both internally and in the national media. That is, to put it mildly, a recipe for ongoing trouble throughout the entire organisation in a year which may be make-or-break for it as a political force.

For another, the Party hierarchy looks to be really serious about calling Harawira to heel on this occasion. The complaint laid by the MPs is a formal measure required to begin disciplinary procedures that might, in the end, result in Harawira's expulsion from the Party altogether.

Back in 2009, Harawira's position was handled in a much more informal manner. The then-president Professor Whatarangi Winiata and co-leader Pita Sharples attended a hui in Northland and read Harawira the riot act, with the message that he needed to shape-up-or-ship-out.

But they did so in a way that, from a legal standpoint, actually made it almost impossible to take any further action against him. At that hui, Professor Winiata told Harawira he should resign and become an independent MP - a position he publicly restated after the hui finished. By doing so, he handed Harawira a massive advantage in any future disciplinary proceedings.

If the Party began moves towards expelling him, Harawira's lawyer (he reportedly hired Peter Williams QC) would have laid this statement before a court as evidence that the decision already had been made and so Harawira's right to natural justice had been abrogated. The necessity to be seen to be keeping an open mind even when working toward a foregone conclusion is why, for example, Andrew Little was so circumspect about Chris Carter's likely fate when the Labour Party was going through all the steps needed to expel him.

This time around, however, the Party looks to be playing things entirely by the book. They've got Mai Chen to advise them on the proper procedures to follow. The Party President is refusing to speculate on possible outcomes from the complaint, while the MPs who made it have (so far) kept quiet about it.

This suggests to me that the Party is at least contemplating going as far as kicking Harawira out. So what would have to happen before this could occur?

Well, according to the Maori Party Constitution, which serves as the rule book here, disciplinary action can be taken against a member who

"refuses to comply with the Party Constitution; improperly deals with any party funds; or, in any other way wilfully brings the party or its members into public disrepute."

Without having seen the complaint, I assume it is based on the first and/or third grounds. Harawira's quite abrasive comments about his colleagues' actions certainly look to be in tension with the Party's commitment to Manaakitanga and Kotahitanga, while the bad press his attacks on its policies (as well as its relationship with National) may well bring it into public disrepute.

OK - so there's a complaint that he's broken the Party's rules of behaviour. Who then judges that complaint, and what happens as a result? According to the Constitution, the complaint first goes to the Party's Te Tai Tokerau Council. But given Harawira's popularity in the electorate, you can assume it will side with him on the issue - just as it did in 2009.

Consequently, as the local electorate council looks unlikely to "resolve" the matter - whatever this means - it will proceed to the Party's Disciplinary and Disputes Committee to "resolve on the basis of the kaupapa of the Party." Again, just what this means in practice is not specified, nor are any sorts of disciplinary powers expressly set out in the Constitution.

Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear that the Committee could decide to expel Harawira, on the basis that he's failed to abide by the conditions of membership set out in the Constitution. This requires that members:

"work to support the Māori Party kaupapa and tikanga; act within the Māori Party constitution; [and] abide by lawful decisions made in accordance with the Māori Party constitution ...."

If Harawira is adjudged to have acted inconsistently with these conditions, then his right to remain a party member is forfeit.

But I've got to say, there's a lot of wiggle room in all of this. For one thing, the description of the process for taking disciplinary decision is pretty rudimentary, which invites argument about how those gaps should be filled. For another, Harawira can argue pretty strongly that he's actually speaking out in support of the party constitution. Consider these elements within it:

"[The Party will] develop a parliamentary team that will take advice and guidance from Māori in the first instance;"

"[The Party will] promote a fair and just society, to work for the elimination of poverty and injustice, and to create an environment where the care and welfare of one's neighbour is still important."

"[The Party will] ensure that the conduct and activities of the parliamentary team, leaders and the organisation as a whole are reflective of the attributes of rangatira."

Isn't there a pretty strong case that Harawira's opinion piece is simply calling his colleagues back to the core values that the party constitution enshrines, and that it is they that have acted in ways that are inconsistent with it?

Of course, I'm immediately looking toward the legal ramifications of the complaint against Harawira. (But then, I am a lawyer of sorts, so cut me some slack.) For the moment at least, the matter primarily is a political one - you could even say it's a struggle for the Maori Party's mauri. And so it may yet be resolved through the political channels of debate, compromise and conciliation.

But these legal matters do still matter. Because whether, as a matter of law, the Maori Party can or cannot kick Harawira out of the wharenui helps determine who holds the ultimate card in the political debates to come. And while compromise is the art of politics, holding the ultimate card helps decide on whose terms the compromise takes place.

Comments (40)

by william blake on January 19, 2011
william blake

This can only be bad news for the Maori Party, many National voters did not vote for the coalition with Maori, let alone a party with Hone Harawira. In reacting to Hone’s stone throwing the rest of the Maori Party can only loose votes no matter what process occurs; hui, court, tiaha at dawn.

Te Maori Party with a loose Hone will aggravate the National Party vote, without him it must loose a chunk of the Maori vote.

Hone is the counterweight to the Maori Party the way the Maori Party (and ACT) are counterweights to the Nats. Perhaps if Hone goes then so does Rodney Hide.

Or is it just a case of Hey Hone No…

by Chris Webster on January 19, 2011
Chris Webster

Andrew: 

Hone sees himself as a solution - - as do his followers -- and not as a problem.

It would be a real pity if he was diced sliced and spat out before the maori party council get through the processes which you have outlined in great detail  ..

or is it -- to coin an oft-spoken phrase of falcon -- left-wing media commentators -- giving him too much air -- again

 

 

by Andrew Geddis on January 19, 2011
Andrew Geddis

Chris,

"Hone sees himself as a solution - - as do his followers -- and not as a problem."

Yes. But there isn't a snappy musical lyric to that effect. Unless I go to Fugazi: "Here comes another problem/All wrapped up in solution" ...?

by The Falcon on January 19, 2011
The Falcon

Here's my take:

All 5 Maori Party MPs want the same thing - more special privileges for Maori, more cash/land lump sum payments to iwi, the creation of more cushy and unaccountable Maori trusts for their cronies to chair, etc.

I differ from left-wing commentators in that I'm skeptical of their motivations - left-wingers believe the MPs to be motivated by a genuine sense of 160-year-old injustice, while I believe they're motivated by plain old avarice.

But regardless, all 5 MPs want the same thing. Harawira just disagrees on HOW to go about getting more racial privileges. Personally I think the other 4 MPs have done a great job in that regard, securing billions of dollars cash for iwis, and preventing things like the abolition of Maori seats. What handouts has Harawira gained for Maori? None. All he's done is raise smoking taxes (which ironically affects Maori more than others).

So if I were Maori and deciding which faction to support, I'd support the faction that actually gets results. It would take some pretty clouded reasoning to back Harawira. Kick him out and get another MP who knows how to work the system.

by Andrew Geddis on January 19, 2011
Andrew Geddis

That's an ... interesting take, Falcon. But exactly what "special privileges" did you have in mind, what "unaccountable Maori trusts" do you refer to, and where on the Crown's account sheets are these "billions of dollars cash for iwis"?

In my imaginary world, the Maori Party has built a mountain out of frosted sugar, given every little girl a flying unicorn and made all the boo-boos go away. What about other people?

by william blake on January 19, 2011
william blake

..meybe its is much ado about nothing but Peter and Tariana will have his guts for garters.

Hone soit qui mal y pense.


by stuart munro on January 19, 2011
stuart munro

I guess he's the local version of the Te Party - but I liked his column.

by Chris Webster on January 19, 2011
Chris Webster

Andrew:

In my imaginary world, the Maori Party has built a mountain out of frosted sugar, given every little girl a flying unicorn and made all the boo-boos go away -- .

mmmm I like your story better than the dark black brooding thoughts of the character who wraps himself in a flag that has for centuries done exactly what he's accusing the maori party and yet that country calls it -- wait for it - capitalism and democracry --

methinks though - he's just pissed off with the column inches you wrote about Hone today and the collective inches tim provided the maori party and their successes!

by Deborah Coddington on January 19, 2011
Deborah Coddington

Mai Chen??? Why don't they get a lawyer, as opposed to someone with a law degree?

by Pete Sime on January 20, 2011
Pete Sime

In my imaginary world, the Maori Party has built a mountain out of frosted sugar, given every little girl a flying unicorn and made all the boo-boos go away.

So that explains the excrement falling from the sky.

by The Falcon on January 20, 2011
The Falcon

That's an ... interesting take, Falcon. But exactly what "special privileges" did you have in mind, what "unaccountable Maori trusts" do you refer to, and where on the Crown's account sheets are these "billions of dollars cash for iwis"?

Oh boy. Have you been living under a rock for the last few years? Here are some examples (out of many instances):

Special privileges = http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10579095 (don't get me started on racial scholarships, preferential entry into public service careers, etc, which were all in place before the formation of the Maori party).

Unaccountable Maori trusts = http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/12/anti-smoking_spending.html and http://whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz/2009/11/03/exclusive-te-reo-marama-maori-smoking-troughing-101-results/ (eventually shut down, but no other ramifications/accountability).

Billions of dollars for iwi = http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/ngati-porou-agrees-settle-110-million-39... and http://www.3news.co.nz/Govt-under-fire-for-race-based-ETS-deal/tabid/419... (Phil Goff quoted in article condemning race-based settlement).

I've provided comprehensive evidence of my assertions. So it looks like the person living in the imaginary world (or should I say, an ivory tower) is you.

by Andrew Geddis on January 20, 2011
Andrew Geddis

One of the vexing things about living in an ivory tower is that we are required to abide by standards of scholarship, such that the evidence we provide for an assertion much actually prove the point we are making.

I'll actually grant you the first point - although what would YOU do about the 20% gap in educational achievement between Maori and Pakeha secondary school students? I also don't think Sharple's argument on this point can be put down to "plain old avarice" as you claim.

As for the second, there is a shonky trust that lost its funding. That looks like accountability to me - or are you alleging that the Maori Party somehow stopped the police from prosecuting a crime? Plus evidence that the Maori Party wants more such shonky trusts to exist?

As for the third, I'd have thought a good right-winger would have known the difference between a million and a billion dollars? Further, your examples relate to Treaty settlements between Crown and Iwi which predate the formation of the Maori Party and take place independently of it. I guess you just don't know the difference ...

by Bruce Thorpe on January 20, 2011
Bruce Thorpe

I like Stuart's reference to the Te Party.

The highly successful protest march against the F&S legislation laid the foundation of the Maori Party and was pretty much Hone's creation.

He is now calling the party to live up to its  principles.

it is a long time to November.

by Chris Webster on January 20, 2011
Chris Webster

I despaired out loud when I read the previous claim

I've provided comprehensive evidence of my assertions .. 

to quote from the Phantom of the Opera: it is you who are the toad ...

methinks a long-needed sojourn in an ivory tower is required so as to improve your attitude and give you time to learn the numbers... 

by ScottY on January 20, 2011
ScottY

Andrew, doesn't the judgment of Fisher J in Peters v Collinge suggest that Harawira will have a hard time trying to argue that any expulsion is unlawful, so long as they follow the right procedure? Even if Harawira's values reflect the majority of Maori party members, if the National Council want to get rid of him they should be able to? That's certainly what Mai Chen was suggesting on the radio this morning.

To quote Fisher J in that case:

"Politics is a notoriously volatile, not to say fickle, business. Just as ideas and policies change, so must there be room for changes in allegiance and loyalties. Those who enter politics must surely do so in that knowledge… Whether a political party is so out of sympathy with its Member of Parliament that it no longer wants him as a candidate is something which one would expect the party to be free to decide from time to time with relatively little constraint. It is essentially a political question in which one would expect a robust level of discussion, lobbying and preconception."

by Andrew Geddis on January 20, 2011
Andrew Geddis

Scott,

Yes ... but what constitutes the "right" procedure here is the tricky part. As I note, the Disciplinary and Disputes Committee has to "resolve [the complaint] on the basis of the kaupapa of the Party." Given the broad range of principles that the Party Constitution encompasses, I just don't know what it means to say that this is the test for settling any problems (and I suspect the people who wrote the provision didn't really turn their minds to what it meant, either!)

Further, here is a gnarley little problem. Let's say the hui with the Te Tai Tokerau Council (required under the Constitution) ends with that Council declaring "we are satisfied that the complaint has been resolved and that no further action needs to be taken." Can the complaint then proceed to the Disciplinary and Disputes Committee at all? Arguably not, as the Constitution only says this latter body gets involved if the former can't resolve the matter. Who decides if this has happened?

So - yes, the Party has a lot of freedom to decide to kick people out if they break the rules. But what are those rules, and who in the Party gets to make that call?

by DeepRed on January 20, 2011
DeepRed

Are we about to see a re-run of the NZ First bust-up from  the Shipley years?

Where would Hone jump to? Labour & the Greens probably wouldn't want him because they'd likely regard him as too reactionary. And NZ First would be too fuddy-duddy for him.

The Maori Party *IS* struggling together!

by The Falcon on January 20, 2011
The Falcon

@Andrew,

By providing the right incentives for hard work at school and in the workplace, rather than incentivising mediocrity (Working for families etc), everyone is more likely to do well at school. Rewarding excellence rather than mediocrity would help Maori culture (and all other cultures) to go down a more positive path. Holding Maori students to a lower standard, as occurs now, is patronising and counter-productive.

As for the trust - the one that got shut down is one of hundreds that are just as wasteful and worthless. The only reason it got shut down is because of Whaleoil's blog, which brought it to light - there was no accountability, no one watching the trust - it was just given hundreds of thousands of dollars per year without any goals being set. Whanau Ora etc (proposed by the Maori party) will doubtless go down the same unaccountable path.

Finally, you've got your facts wrong again. The ETS backroom deal was worth billions, not millions. It was NOT a treaty settlement, it was the National Party giving the Maori Party their most treasured resource (cash) in exchange for votes in Parliament.

Anyway, with regards to the legal situation faced by the Maori Party, here's Cactus Kate's analysis - http://asianinvasion2006.blogspot.com/2011/01/can-constitution-save-hone...

She points out that the wishy-washy, tree hugging nonsense in the Maori Party constitution will create a legal nightmare, allowing Harawira to escape again. I agree.

by Andrew Geddis on January 20, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"Finally, you've got your facts wrong again. The ETS backroom deal was worth billions, not millions."

Sorry Falcon - I'm just not going to bother arguing with someone who accuses me of getting facts wrong without bothering to check them first.

"Climate Change Minister Nick Smith confirmed yesterday there would be a significant cost to the Crown under the Government's proposed deal with the Maori Party to secure support for its emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Smith said he could not put a figure on the cost to taxpayers.

However, he said it would be substantially less than the $130 million claimed by Ngai Tahu for the loss of forest value under the amended scheme."

Back on point, I've read Cactus Kate's analysis - she is right that the Party Constitution contains a fair amount of ambiguity in its basic principles. You might note that this is exactly what I have said in my post. But whether this actually helps Harawira is a moot point ... the question is who gets to interpret that ambiguity. So, if the Disciplinary Council decides that Harawira's actions are inconsistent with those principles, who is to say differently ... and in particular, who is any judge to say they are wrong?

by Andin on January 20, 2011
Andin

The Bald Eagle sez

"By providing the right incentives for hard work at school and in the workplace, rather than incentivising mediocrity (Working for families etc), everyone is more likely to do well at school. Rewarding excellence rather than mediocrity would help Maori culture (and all other cultures) to go down a more positive path."

So all we have to be is Excellent!

Dude.... I'm there already.

by Bruce Thorpe on January 20, 2011
Bruce Thorpe

I am sure the Maori Party leadership does not underestimate the potential for lengthy and very tedious legal manoeuvres up ahead.

 

They must hope a good legal process will give them the advantage in the political posturing ahead.

Let's hope they will want to avoid so much argumentation about legality, seniority, internal protocol ( and too often blatant media munching) that can corrode Maori organisations all the way from the family level of marae committees to the national  and even international level.

The Harawira propaganda machine  would score  massive wins in that format.

by The Falcon on January 20, 2011
The Falcon

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10...

$50m per year. 20 years = $1b. 40 years = $2b. Etc.

Not a very principled stance by the Maori Party, selling votes for cash, but then what do you expect from a party that only exists to score freebies for one race?

by Maree on January 21, 2011
Maree

Andrew: I think you have posed some interesting questions regarding Hone Harawira's recent article.  I  have quite a bit of respect for Hone - he has remained loyal and committed to Tai Tokerau and not been willing to support the Marine and Coastal Area bill which is the product of the same kind of eurocentric logic that underpinned the Foreshore and Seabed Act - iwi 'rights' are to be determined by the still dominant pakeha system. It will be interesting to see where the Maori party stand after the upcoming hui.  Keep up the thought-provoking articles, Andrew. 

by BeShakey on January 21, 2011
BeShakey

Ngai Tahu says the deal is worth $50m per year to them.  They didn't say it cost the Government that much, but rather that they would profit by $50m (which makes sense given that this is a business opportunity, rather than the Government directly giving them $).

And of course if you have evidence of the MP selling votes for cash you should go to the Police, or the paper, or the Act party.  I'm sure any of them would be interested.  Even if you only have the tiniest scrap of evidence.  Anything really.  I'm sure you have some.  Rather than just making things up.

by The Falcon on January 21, 2011
The Falcon

Ummm... believe it or not, cynically whoring out your vote is not against the law. It's known as "horse trading". Predominantly money-focused political parties (such as the Maori Party) are the biggest offenders, but all parties have been guilty at one stage or other.

by Andrew Geddis on January 21, 2011
Andrew Geddis

So, Falcon ... the Maori Party are all just about getting cash for their supporters (as are all other parties), which you think is a bad thing (or else why call such parties "offenders" who "cynically whor[e] out [their] vote"?). But, as you point out, "What handouts has Harawira gained for Maori? None. All he's done is raise smoking taxes (which ironically affects Maori more than others)." So, whatever Hone might like to do, he is just not good at getting cash for his supporters (hence in practice he doesn't create the bad consequences you decry), while the things he is good at are obviously motivated by something other than avarice (as you point out, his success on smoking actually costs Maori more than other ethnicities).

Thus, on your reasoning and from your perspective, having Hone in Parliament is a good thing, and we would all be better off with more MPs like him. Right?

by The Falcon on January 21, 2011
The Falcon

My first comment was an attempt to give a neutral analysis - yes, Harawira is less effective at securing freebies for Maori than the old pros, and so yes in that regard I would like to see more ineffective left-wing MPs like him. On the other hand while he performs a valuable public service by wasting a left-wing seat, he is also vicious, narcissistic and hate-filled. This means on the balance, I would prefer him not to be in Parliament.

You're right that, unless one of his cousins owns a nicotine-gum company, his anti-smoking crusade wasn't done for cash. In fact it will reduce the need to create more unaccountable Maori anti-smoking trusts, because demand for cigarettes will drop. Maybe he has some good in him after all.

On the other hand, during the crusade he made numerous references to killing/maiming the staff of tobacco companies, spoke only of wanting to improve the health of Maori (doesn't care about any other race), and most glaringly forgot that moves towards prohibition always have the opposite effect of what was intended. Demand drops slightly but the negative consequences outweigh this.

A question for you Andrew: do you think Harawira is a good person?

by Andrew Geddis on January 21, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"...and most glaringly forgot that moves towards prohibition always have the opposite effect of what was intended. Demand drops slightly but the negative consequences outweigh this."

I guess this is why the law criminalising murder is such a bad thing, which has wrecked so much havoc in society at large. When oh when will our MPs realise that the futile attempt at stopping people slaughtering each other in the streets must end? And as for trying to stop me obtaining enough weapons grade plutonium to construct my own nuclear bomb ... well, we all know how well that worked out!

"A question for you Andrew: do you think Harawira is a good person?"

I believe him to be the Flying Spaghetti Monster's chosen representative amongst men.

 

by Matthew Percival on January 21, 2011
Matthew Percival

Hone needs to learn the nature of compromise.

He is a member of a political party that is a minor player in terms of number of seats and is a player the current government can govern without. Hone can't seriously expect to have his way in such a predicament.

The Maori party has made positive gains in relation to the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, but because it's not perfect Hone throws the toys? Hone, the current government doesn't need the vote of your party! You're fortunate to get anything.

The Maori Party could just as easily be in opposition where it would achieve little in terms of tangible benefits to it's supporters.

I also wonder if Hone has much of a case with regards to "looking after the poor". Did his party not vote through an increase in benefits to cover the rise in GST? Hone counteracted that by campaigning to have smoking taxes increased. So if you're poor and smoke you now find yourself in a worse situation thanks to Hone.

Personally I don't think parliament is the best place for Hone to achieve what he wants to achieve and perhaps it's time he reconsidered his future before the next election.

 

by The Falcon on January 21, 2011
The Falcon

I guess this is why the law criminalising murder is such a bad thing, which has wrecked so much havoc in society at large.

I should clarify - prohibition of things that don't harm others. I can understand why you're unable to make the distinction though - if The Democratic People decide to ban something, you support it.

I believe him to be the Flying Spaghetti Monster's chosen representative amongst men.

If your employment requires you to not give straight answers on questions like my one, that's fine. But if you don't have a good reason for avoiding the question, that's a bit of a cop-out.

by Andrew Geddis on January 21, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"I should clarify - prohibition of things that don't harm others."

So you do support gun control after all!

"If your employment requires you to not give straight answers on questions like my one, that's fine."

Oh Falcon - you do take yourself just a bit too seriously. It's not a question of duties. For me this is fun, and if you're not enjoying it, stop playing.

by The Falcon on January 22, 2011
The Falcon

So you do support gun control after all!

The moment guns develop free will and are capable of making decisions as to whether to shoot, yes. Blaming guns for deaths is similar to those African nations that drag goats to court on charges of stealing.

Oh Falcon - you do take yourself just a bit too seriously.

I do enjoy commenting on pundit (only occasionally getting riled up). Jokes are great, but this was one occasion where I was genuinely interested in your answer to my question.

by Andrew Geddis on January 22, 2011
Andrew Geddis

"Blaming guns for deaths is similar to those African nations that drag goats to court on charges of stealing."

While allowing all persons access to any form of firearm they want to possess is a bit like turning a herd of goats loose in your backgarden and wondering why your washing happened to disappear off the line ... but let's not revisit the past.

"... this was one occasion where I was genuinely interested in your answer to my question"

I answered flippantly as I just don't know how to answer it seriously. Is Harawira "a good person"? Never met him, so what do you want me to say? Do his words and deeds accord to some test of higher morality? How could I possibly know this - I'm sure like most people he's done (and does) good and bad things in his life. Do I agree with his every public statement and action? Of course not - but then again, I can't think of any public figure who meets that test. Do I think he's a reputable representative? Not really my call - I can't vote for him, and there's a lot of Northland Maori who have made that choice. Would I vote for him if I could? Probably not, but it would depend on who the alternative candidates were.

by The Falcon on January 22, 2011
The Falcon

Well thanks for trying to answer. Personally I would say yes he is a bad person. If it were possible, Harawira would banish all white people from NZ. Whereas I don't think many other MPs have that sort of racial hate going on. Also, while everyone does bad things in their life, I doubt any other MPs have done anything as bad as Harawira's "lock the door, bring a group of thugs and bash with baseball bats".

Because he is a genuinely bad person, I rate him the worst out of all Parliament's MPs. But if people on pundit want to like him for inexplicable reasons, fine.

by Andin on January 22, 2011
Andin

"Harawira would banish all white people from NZ"

As long as he lets me pack my bags and ship belongings to any part of the world I want to go. And gives me a monetary parting gift. I'm fine with that.

And I'm sure you have a bolt hole sorted, eh Baldy

by Anaru Jones on January 24, 2011
Anaru Jones

The Maori Party should have never entered into a coalition government with a party so openly class and race conscious as the National/ACT Party, Hone Harawira's article reflects the level of discomfort many feel when confronted with such an unholy union.

The Maori Party will not be judged on the paltry concessions it has extracted from the Key regime, it will be assessed on its servility to a political force that has a long history of violently opposing the right of tangata whenua to exercise sovereignty over their ancestral homelands.

The National/ACT Party's only saving grace, at the very least, is it was not the political party that set a paramilitary police unit on Tuhoe. The Maori Party would have done better by imitating the Green Party's reticence for entering into formal coalitions with any major party.

I hope the executive of the Maori Party gets the roasting they deserve when they return to their constituents for their endorsement in the upcoming election. They say a week is a long time in parliament, I imagine for some of those Maori MPs the length of this year will be excruciating.

by william blake on January 24, 2011
william blake

...and isn't this exactly where Hone is valuable Anaru?, The Maori Party need him to spice their bland compromising deal with the Governing party, muzzling or exhiling him will be their downfall.

Or perhaps this is the inevitable consequence of a party that supposes to represent an entire race, a thrashing out of idealism v pragmatism in public.

Pita Sharples is a Westie and as an bright, educated urban Maori, of considerable Mana, I think he can see the longer term benefits of diplomacy.

Hone is from a different background and understands that the gains that Maori make through diplomacy have, historicaly, been forcefully removed.

They are both right and should stick together.

by Anaru Jones on January 25, 2011
Anaru Jones

I think the executive of the Maori Party are going to find it more and more difficult to reconcile their personal advance in status and authourity with an increase in economic hardship among poor and working class Maori. I was actually quite stunned to hear Pita Sharples,on the TV news at Ratana, say that they (the Maori Party in coalition with National/ACT) were the last hope for Maori treaty aspirations.

It is going to be an interesting election campaign. Traditionally, both major parties (most especially National) tend to see flogging Maori as a vote winner. I don't think the National caucus is going to sit back and allow the ACT Party to usurp the mantle of this county's preeminent Maori bashers. There is no Dancing With The Stars publicity for Rodney Hide this time round, he may get a few women's magazine articles for his wedding and the impending birth of his first child, but realistically the constituents the ACT Party publicity campaign will target are those who responded so enthusiastically to Don Brash's Orewa Lions Club speech.

If the current polling is anything to go by John Key does not need the Maori Party to get reelected, I don't believe he or his caucus are going to allow ACT to gobble up the paranoid white reactionary vote without a fight. It will be interesting to see how Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples respond when the National Party reflexively attack Maori aspirations.

by The Falcon on January 25, 2011
The Falcon

Yes Anaru, anyone who wants people of all races to be equal under the law is a paranoid white reactionary. Only those who want one race to have special privileges and superior rights can claim moral superiority.

Wanting all races to be equal can definitely be construed as Maori-bashing. Maori deserve special treatment, and anyone who says otherwise is just ignorant.

by Chris Webster on January 25, 2011
Chris Webster

Bryce Edwards over on Liberation has taken a different tack to the question posed by Andrew  'How do you solve a problem like Hone'

Understanding the latest Maori Party schism:

 

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