Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, January 24th, 2013 - 10 comments
Categories: leadership, mana, maori party, Maori seats - Tags: hone harawira, pita sharples, rahui katene, Tariana Turia, te ururoa flavell
Pita Sharples should step down as a leader of the Maori Party and let someone else have a go. The Party under Sharples and co-leader Tariana Turia has been a failure, falling in share of the Party vote (down from 2.39% to 1.43%), number of MPs (down from 5 to 3) and membership (down from over 24,000 to just 600). Turia had enough sense to realise this, to step aside, and to call for Sharples to step aside too. But Sharples has announced that he wants to stay.
So a fight for the leadership of the Maori Party began at Ratana yesterday, with Te Ururoa Flavell officially challenging Sharples, and Rahui Katene seeking to replace Tariana Turia as co-leader. The wildcard in this game is Hone Harwiara:
Hone Harawira [says] he’s being courted to lead the Maori Party.
He left it in February 2011 and formed Mana, but now he’s suggesting the two could merge. “I’ve been asked by various kaumatua and kuia to come back because of the divisions within the leadership and the fact that the Maori Party seems to be dying,” he says “Mana is a vibrant and active political movement while the Maori Party has gone from a membership of some 24,000 when I was there to just 600 today.”
That has prompted a hysterical reaction from the outgoing Turia:
Harawira ‘dictatorship’ unwelcome – Turia
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is rejecting Mana leader Hone Harawira’s attempts to merge the two parties, saying his “dictatorship” style isn’t welcome.
… she says she sees Mr Harawira’s aspirations as a joke. “The fact is the Maori Party is led by the people and we’re not prepared to be led by any kind of dictatorship,” she told media at Ratana Marae, where the party has gathered for annual Ratana Church celebrations. …
Dr Sharples is more open to working with Mana, saying there’s no reason the parties shouldn’t be talking about it. “It’s a bit silly to have two Maori-kind of parties,” he said.
Interesting times for Maori representation in Parliament. In my opinion Pita Sharples should step down gracefully, the Maori Party under his leadership is doomed. A merger with Mana seems to offer the most viable way forward – I wonder if Turia retains enough influence to derail the possibility…