On Sunday and Monday, Hone Harawira gave very cogent and candid assessments of where the Maori Party has gone wrong by losing connection with its ideals and base. By the standards of mainstream parties it was extraordinarly blunt and appeared to be a challenge to Tariana Turia. But the Maori Party can be and should be different, eh? Seems not.
Hone’s four fellow MPs have laid a complaint against him The Herald reports:
The party’s president, Pem Bird, yesterday received a complaint from fellow MP Te Ururoa Flavell, supported by MP Rahui Katene, and party leaders Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia. Mr Bird did not say the nature of the complaint. A meeting will be held on Friday to resolve the issue. “The Council will be in a position to make further comment after that meeting.”
Well, it’s pretty clear what their complaint is about. They don’t like that he has critiqued the party’s direction, and they certainly don’t like that he has done it in public.
But all four of them taking a complaint about him to the Party President is a bad, bad move. Striking him down will only make him stronger.
First, it’s not clear from the Maori Party’s rather vague rules that he has done anything wrong – and you can bet that Harawira was canny enough to check the rules first. In fact he could well argue that he is arguing for the Maori party to stand true to the kaupapa described in the Party constitution.
Second, if they force Harawira out of the party (and what else can the four other MPs taking a complaint against be seen as but a notice that he is no longer welcome?) then they will lose their one claim to still represent the activists. The guts of the party will be ripped out if Harawira leaves, especially if he forms a new party with Matt McCarten and Sue Bradford, because most of the activists will go with him
I wonder if Hone knew that they would respond like this? I wonder if he knew this would be his justification to split with the sell-out faction of the Maori Party and take would be his justification to split with the sell-out faction of the Maori Party and take his activists into a new Left party?
With his new SST column and McCarten’s one in the Sunday-Star Times, a new party would have excellent platforms for communicating its deals and Harawira’s seat (which he will hold with or without the Maori Party) makes it a viable proposition.