Why did Hone Harawira pick a fight if he wasn’t prepared to see it out? One News last night had him saying he wants to stay with the Maori Party. Patrick Gower reckons Hone’s assault on the leadership is all about building cred to take over next year but Hone’s saying he would support Te Ururoa Flavell for male co-leader. Curiouser and curiouser.
Very oddly, the One News video isn’t online but it had Harawira saying he would stay with the Maori Party and senior Maori Party figures who support him saying he should stay too because he can achieve more as a Maori Party MP than an independent (what about as a member of a New Left party?).
Gower reckons that Harawira loves the Maori Party too much to abandon it. It’s a good point that Harawira has been a driving force behind the Maori Party from the start so he’ll be loath to walk away but don’t think Gower’s explanation for this stoush, that Harawira is trying to confirm his position as the leader of the ‘true’ Maori Party in preparation to take over after the election, stacks up. Harawira is constantly saying he doesn’t want to lead and that he would vote for Flavell to lead. And why pick a fight now, before the election? (Gower’s piece, btw, reveals a deep animosity between Pita Sharples and Harawira)
If leaving and leading are out then what’s the play? I refuse to believe that Harawira wrote what he did in the Sunday Star Times without knowing that it would ignite open conflict with the leadership.
Has he been talked down by those senior supporters? Has he been offered something behind the scenes? Is this all just, as I suggested in the first post on his article, a way for the Maori Party to placate its restless activists with promises that it will be better eventually while continuing to sell out to National?
Maybe it’s a double bluff – he does intend to leave but is still trying to make it look like he wants to stay so that when he is booted out he will appear to be in the right and the leadership vindictive. But will the leadership choose to boot him if he is making consolatory noises? Sacrificing 20% of their seats and a large chunk of their activists to boot isn’t something Tariana Turia and Sharples will do unless they absolutely have to. And they won’t have to if Harawira continues to soften his stance.
Maybe, just maybe, everyone’s been over-analysing. Maybe Harawira’s column is just what it appears to be on the surface – a critique of the Maori Party’s direction and a call for it to return to its roots. Maybe, although undoubtedly aware they would take it badly, he has only been trying to give the leadership a wake-up call and he has been prepared to take the flack for doing it. In the last few days, the leadership will have seen, as we have, that a hell of a lot of their activists feel the same as Harawira and they risk bleeding votes to the Greens big time. Maybe Harawira is just giving them the boot up the bum that they need to keep their base.
It’s a hell of a way to go about it but, then, Harawiras never do things by halves. I’ll await his next SST column with interest.