What a lot of fuss yesterday about Titewhai Harawira and daughter heckling Tariana Turia:
Harawira pair’s abuse sickens Turia
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was sickened by what she called “psychological abuse” meted out to her and others by MP Hone Harawira’s mother and sister at a hui yesterday.
Mrs Turia said the entire meeting, at Waitangi’s Te Tii Marae, was disrupted from 10am to 2pm. “It was just terrible. It was the whole hui. It wasn’t just two minutes. It was shouting, abusing, swearing, singing loud over the top of people.” She said Mr Harawira’s mother, Titewhai, “kept shouting at me that I was a liar … bloody liar … snakes”.
There’s no doubt that the Harawiras were persistently rude and aggressive, causing some people to leave the hui. I don’t condone such behaviour, and I believe that it damages Hone Harawira and the Mana Party. It is counterproductive and therefore foolish.
But I do think it is important to see the behaviour in context. What is ruder, 4 hours of heckling or 3 years of selling out? The Maori Party has voted against workers’ rights, it has voted for tax cuts for the rich, it has voted for higher GST, it has voted to weaken the Emissions Trading Scheme (which it had previously opposed as too weak), and it is seen by many as selling out its people on the foreshore and seabed. It was the sheer weight of these issues that moved Hone Harawira to write the stinging rebuke of the Maori Party that set in motion the events that lead to his expulsion. Subsequently the Maori Party has broken their agreement with Hone, deciding to stand against him in Te Tai Tokerau.
Perhaps those expressing outrage, real or pretended, at yesterday’s events, would do well to reflect for a while on the source of the Harawiras’ anger. The actions of the Maori Party, which have undermined so many of the people who gave them their trust in the last election, are very much ruder.