Hone Harawira, “not the process, not the kaupapa”

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It is said in politics that a day can equal a life time and for Hone Harawira, the past 4 days must seem like an eternity.

Over the weekend, Hone spoke to the Sunday Star Times and gave voice to growing disquiet within the Maori Party. He looked at the challenging road ahead, reminding the public that the Maori Party had been born in direct response to the Labour Partys Seabed and Foreshore confiscation. Tens of thousands took to the streets in 2004 and their action directly gave rise to an authentic Maori voice in Parliament.

Concerns have been there since the inception of the Maori Party around cohesion and accountability of the representatives back to the people and this seemed to be at the heart of his article but for the most part, much of what was put forward had been heard before that the Maori Party members are concerned for their Party.

It then came as a shock to many that on Tuesday, Hone had been called by Pem Bird, the President of the Maori Party and formally issued with a notice of complaint. A letter was then issued by Te Ururoa Flavell, whip and Waiariki Member for the Maori Party, with the full support of fellow MPs Tariana Turia (Te Tai Hauauru), Dr Pita Sharples (Tamaki Makaurau) and Rahui Katene (Te Tai Tonga). What started as a frank assessment of the Maori Party soon turned into a full on siege.

What is becoming clear is that this issue is as much about the person as it is about the process. The recently updated Constitution of the Maori Party has been activated, with legal advice being sought by prominent lawyer Mai Chen. In an interesting twist, Mai had been approached well before Hone was served with the complaint and in perhaps a slip in words, Pita regarded Hone to be the one laying the complaint (listen@29 seconds).

Added to that were issues around tikanga and process. Comments had been made that tikanga determined these issues were mediated and presented face to face. By all accounts, the decision was relayed by way of conference call with an accompanying email, upsetting some but probably of little surprise to Hone, who must have been saying the same things in his article during the weekly Maori Party caucus meetings.

We have seen documents asking why the media was involved so early in the process when what was agreed to in that fateful concall was that the media not be involved to allow time for a more reflective and balanced process to take place.

Another thing to emerge referred back to the initial article. Rumours swirled that Hone had been asked to write a regular article in the Sunday Star Times (unconfirmed) and that his colleagues may have seen this as a reduction of their mana for not also being asked.

In crisis mode, the Party hierarchy has since called a series of hui to discuss possible options toward resolution.

Support for Hone both inside and outside his Te Tai Tokerau electorate is strong and talk around a Friday show-down may be premature. Though the Maori Party hierarchy would like to see a hui occur as quickly and as expediently as possible, word on the street is that the Electorate Committee will not be drawn on such a confrontation, possibly seeking a hui next week.

Kia ora whanau we will keep you updated

2 COMMENTS

  1. papa soli keia. E papa hone, listen to the Kuahiwi, listen to the kamakani, listen to Tupuna, but more important listen to Maoridom. If you do, you will never walk alone. You will protected forever and ever and ever! Ake Ake, Ake

    Me Ke Aloha, Ku'e Mau Loa…papa soli kihei niheu

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