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Let it go Pita

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, January 24th, 2013 - 10 comments
Categories: leadership, mana, maori party, Maori seats - Tags: , , , ,

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…


10 comments on “Let it go Pita”

  1. yes fun times. Hone is playing this well and Mana will be the winner whatever happens. That is good for those who are left, tangata whenua, and all who call here home. I don’t really see a ‘merger’ working – sublimation from the MP into Mana and the pesky gnat lovers will fall off like dead fleas.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    In Te Tai Tokerau a lot of MP members just switched over to Mana at the movement’s foundation and activity continued. The tactical position of a TTT by-election has been proven correct by the continuing momentum of Mana and its supporters and members.

    Annette Sykes will likely prevail this time in her electorate. The MP ‘identity politics’ unfortunate experiment is now substantially over. All the significant societal indicators are worse for Māori working class people (and Pākehā) after a term and a bit of sucking up to ShonKey.

    Joining Te Mana Movement with it’s more class based kaupapa is the the honourable solution for any remaining non tory supporting Māori Party members. As Marty Mars alludes to above.

  3. muzza 3


    The Maori Party hoped to be a part of any government, regardless of its leanings. Then he confessed:

    “Actually, I got so used to the increase in salary I told the Prime Minister you’d better be good because if the other guys get in, I’ll go sell myself over there to keep my ministerial salary. I just got a new house, man – I can’t afford it on a backbencher salary so I’m up for grabs.”

    • David H 3.1

      So when he is out of Parliament then he can really bitch about being broke But he has probably sucked up $700k+ and still has 2 years to go, so another what $300k + And he bitches about a mortgage. What did he buy? a mansion next to his mate Shonkeys in Hawaii?

  4. xtasy 4

    The Maori Party generally more or less appears to be a “dead” or “dying” party now.

    Founded initially upon Tariana Turia leaving Labour, due to issues with their foreshore and seabed legislation, Sharples and others joined her to establish a party to seek redress from what Labour introduced into law, and a kind of “movement” was started.

    The downfall of the Maori Party started by going into a support agreement with a National led government, and to agree to a range of policies, also to amend the law affecting foreshore and seabed matters. But Maori Party members – repeatedly told by their elected MPs, that the agreement with Key and his National led government is good, necessary and will bring more benefits than being in opposition, have increasingly felt hood-winked.

    Harawira brought on the challenges that arose through working with National and its other support parties. An internal rift developed, and Harawira left, to form Mana.

    Mana is supposed to be a new, inclusive “Left Party”, but most know, it is primarily led and organised by and through Harawira and his closest supporters. Yet he always wishes to emphasize, that Mana stands for the rights of Mana PLUS others, e.g. Pakeha, negatively affected by bad right wing policies.

    Maori Party support has dropped and they will struggle to get voted back into Parliament, since Tariana has announced her retreat. Sharples is just too much of an old power loving hanger-on now, as one must seriously question his ability to influence the decisions of the government he supports, and is member of as a Minister. Flavell made a challenge, but Maori Party leaders are too scared now to see it through.

    Harawira makes comments on National Radio this morning, basically admitting, that Mana is the other Maori Party. He talked about working together, some form of alliance, or something in that direction. He also presented his interest as a “leader” for Maori interests.

    There was suddenly not much talk about inclusiveness and Mana being not just an “alternative Maori Party”.

    Looking up their website tells you enough, how it is run and what the priority political emphasis and support base is:

    It appears to be an “inclusive” party so far, through some images and presentation, but when looking closer, it becomes clearer to me, that Mana is primarily a party established by Harawira as “independent” MP for Tai Tokerau, who appears to have seen a need to try and boost membership and support by allowing in Minto, Bradford and a few others, to establish a wider set of leading members. Yet in polls it still struggles to get above the 1 per cent rate.

    See also this newspaper article from the Northern Advocate:

    See also this news and blog site:

    So I feel, Harawira now has to come CLEAN, on what is ultimate mission is, where he stands, whether he really wants to be primarily a Maori leader, or to keep working on a more inclusive leftist party.

    My suspicions are, he wants to be the former, as that is what he feels more passionate about.

    Hence again, my conclusion is that not just is Labour in a situation where it is struggling to find a “new way” as a “left” or at least “left of centre” party, Mana is also about to fall to pieces, given Harawira’s newly revived true aspirations.

    Consequently, as the Greens are also not committed to be identified as “left” as such, or in principle, there is a TOTAL NEED and an ideal time now, to create and establish a NEW LEFT PARTY in NZ, that is truly left of centre and inclusive, not restircted to individual MPs or member’s interests and selected agendas.

    Maori Party will soon be “dead”, I would expect, at least no more than a party in a similar situation as ACT is in now.

    • Murray Olsen 4.1

      I think any true left party to be built in Aotearoa has to give primacy to Mana Maori in the wider context of building a country which truly serves the needs of the workers. I also think that Hone recognised this and is building an inclusive party. It is natural that his heart and his first interest will be the tangata whenua, but I think he is realistic enough to realise that justice for his people will not come via separatism, but via inclusion and togetherness. The Maori Party thought they would achieve something worthwhile as official kupapa but all they have managed is to worsen the situation for all except the rich.
      I do not expect Mana to fall to pieces. I expect them to strengthen as people recognise, among other things, that they have a leader who is an orator in at least two languages, whereas Labour has a leader who has trouble mumbling illegibly in one.

  5. ak 5

    Bottom line is the Gaps have Widened. With more taonga about to be hocked off. No more kei te pai guy.

    Now through Tory Organ hack Trevett, the string-pullers are telling Maori how they feel.

    Big mistake Pullers. Divide and conquer might still work on modern lefty activists, but Maori have a century’s more bitter, tempering experience.

  6. bad12 6

    Ah Pita Sharples a sad but frank admission that He is nothing but a ‘political prostitute’, and here was me mistakenly mis-believing Te Pati Maori were simply the lap-dog of the current Slippery National Government,

    It’s good to see that Sharples is so willing to sit idly by as Maori who occupy en masse the bottom sector of society and economy are continually harassed and beaten upon by His good mate Slippery and the various National Government Ministers in a vain effort to hide their own FAILURES in policy so that He (Sharples) can afford to pay His mortgage,(that has to be one of the most bizaare statements of naked self interest i have ever heard from a politician),

    Pita might as well give it up now, lapdogs are tossed the occasional bone from the table of their masters and the longer Sharples sits there slavering over the thought of a knighthood that will never come the more ‘His people’ will suffer…

    • muzza 6.1

      It’s a confession not only illustrating how NZ politicians operate internally, but is an expression of the mindset which will allow the *selling out*, to happen externally to foreign entities, also!

      The can be no differentiation, these are the word of a traitor, who is not operating alone!

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