The courage of his convictions

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, May 20th, 2010 - 56 comments
Categories: budget 2010, class war, gst, maori party - Tags: ,

Hone Harawira does not want to vote for the ‘don’t be jealous’ budget and he doesn’t think the Maori Party will be standing true to its principles or supporters if it does:

“I’m having difficulty supporting a tax increase that made things easier for the wealthy at the expense of those in need.

“GST hits poor people the hardest because nearly all of their money is spent on things that you pay GST on food, petrol, electricity so any increase is going to really hurt them.”

“Maori people … voted for us because they believed in us and they will be struggling to put the picture of the Maori Party they voted for together with the picture of their MPs voting for an increase in GST.”

Harawira sought permission to cross the floor and vote against the Budget. Tariana Turia, who is awfully comfortable in the back of her Crown limo, refused fearing it would imperil the deal she has with a Prime Minister who makes jokes about her people being cannibals and breaks his promises to them.

Says Harawira:

“My caucus colleagues don’t like the GST increase either but they argue that we’ve done too much to jeopardise what we’ve achieved so far and what our people want us to achieve in the years ahead.”

The GST increase and the rent increases to pay for the ‘rich man’s bonus’ undo at one fell swoop any gain one can claim from Whanau Ora, DRIP, and the flag (nevermind the ETS,Fire at Will, mining, the Tuhoe debacle, the Supercity…).

Turia can’t ultimately force Harawira to vote one way or another. If he wants to cross the floor he can. Will he have the courage of his convictions and stand up for working Kiwis against this wealth grab for the rich?

Let’s hope so.

56 comments on “The courage of his convictions”

  1. Lew 1

    Harawira’s already in a safe seat, and it could become the safest seat in the country if he turns against the Nats like this. The party therefore has little leverage against him. They would be fools to expel him as a consequence, and should support his right to cast his own vote, simply as a matter of emphasising that there’s still a core of principle there (even if acting on it is constrained by being part of a government).

    I’m not convinced it’s the best move in terms of progressing the long-term agenda, but that’s his decision to make. It also plays into the Nats’ hands somewhat, permitting them to make the party’s internal division the issue when it’s not, really, and highlighting the nasty old “troublesome radicals” versus “loyal natives” dichotomy.

    But bring it on. The whole world’s watching. Or the whole country, at least.

    L

    • Pete 1.1

      I agree with everything you’ve said Lew.

      My preference would be for Harawira to cross the floor, at least to show that the Maori Party (or part of it) are still there to represent Maori.

      After all, Harawira was elected to his electorate to represent the people in it – surely crossing the floor would be fair representation.

      • Lew 1.1.1

        Yeah. The most valuable thing about holding a safe seat is the ability to say “or what?”

        L

        • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1

          but what about the coalition agreement

          That collective mP agreement competes with his right to cast his own vote to the extent that if the mP wants to honour it’s agreement, and Hone can’t do that with his vote, then he has to leave the party.

          No?

          • Bright Red 1.1.1.1.1

            Or the Nats and MP could just not let Hone crossing the floor destroy their agreement. that decision would be in Key’s hands.

          • Lew 1.1.1.1.2

            The party could sack him, but this would be a poor move on their part.

            According to my reading he would be in breach of the C&S agreement, but need only resign if the Nats or his party demand it. As with Key’s breach of the ACT C&S agreement regarding the DRIP. Also, the mP could argue that Key’s decision over Te Urewera was a breach of the “no surprises” provision.

            The government is not on strong ground here. Requiring his sacking would be a big call over a budget which will pass anyway, and what seems more likely is that they’ll apply pressure behind closed doors beforehand in an effort to get him to back down, and they might succeed. But I think they would be reluctant to follow through for fear of being held hostage by ACT.

            L

            • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Fair enough. I’d just be worried about relying on coverage to extend beyond

              Ohmigod Hone Bloody Harawira Crosses the floor! Only on the Bloody Budget!!!, FFS, Failed to call Anyone a Motherfucker, Yet. Updating. omigod ohmigod ohmigod.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.3

            Could he not abstain? That’s a nice middle-ground option.

            • Lew 1.1.1.1.3.1

              Now that really would be a half-arsed lily-livered not-standing-for-anything-really position to take, and I can’t see Hone taking it.

              L

            • ClarityJones 1.1.1.1.3.2

              Hone ‘middle ground’? middle aged perhaps,….
              The Middling Party?

        • Anita 1.1.1.2

          WRT to Harawira “holding a safe seat”.

          What would Labour’s response to Harawira leaving the MP (opr being suspended) over this be? Call for a by election and try to win it? Call for a by election and give Labour supported a nod and a wink to support Harawira? Support Harawira as an independant without a by election?

          A

          • Lew 1.1.1.2.1

            Shane Jones needs a safe electorate, but they wouldn’t stand him unless they thought he could win. Kelvin Davis needs one too, and he’s a more likely prospect to stand — but not to win.

            But what they’d actually do is anyone’s guess.

            L

    • HitchensFan 1.2

      Agreed. Do it, Hone.

  2. colonel rabuka 2

    I’m in agreement with what Hone is saying, in that this budget flies in the face of the wider Maori electorate.

    However, if Hone were to cross the floor it would ultimately do more harm that good. All the coverage would simply paint, as Lew points out, Hone as one of those pesky radicals rather than actually seriously looking at the budget issues that might have promoted the walk.

    The MSM would just beat it up and feed that angle to mainstream New Zealanders, who, unfortunately, let’s face it, are quite happy for John Key to u-turn on Tuhoe and make racist jokes in the days after the deal fell through.

    The Maori Party have to suck up the pain of this budget as this was the bed they chose to lie in. National taking care of the rich ahead of the middle class and poor. It’s hardly an earth shattering revelation, is it?

  3. Alexandra 3

    Marty, Turia may be awfully comfortable at the back of the Limo, however, I dont think that is what motivates her given she gave up associate ministerial benefits when she left Labour. The ongoing assertion that the Turia and Sharples are in it for the Limo’s may be a reasonable if pakeha MP’s of all stripes were subject to same assertion. That said, Turia leaving Labour on a principle does not excuse the MP for supporting law which is harmful to most of their constituents.

  4. Alexandra 4

    Nice BR, Like dont be hypersensitive.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      didn’t mean for you to take that badly. It’s just that the limo thing isn’t solely being directed at Tariana and Pita.

  5. kriswgtn 5

    If Hone had any balls and was concerned HE could have just done it==NO BALLS HONE

    Saying blah blah blah and then voting in favor is a copout and YOU know it

    You have sold our people Hone and next year @ the ballot box YOU WILL PAY

  6. Alexandra 6

    BR- if you read my comment properly, you may see that what I am saying is that the ongoing assertions that the MP deals with the government are somehow motivated by limo’s is unreasonable and give my reason why. I dont recall reference to limos being used in same the fashion in relation to pakeha. If you type “limo maori” in the seach box and then just “limo” you might see that my complaint has some substance. You might notice that the tone of the discussions are somewhat different. It is that difference that I think is unreasonable, at best!

  7. Alexandra 7

    YEAH!

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    Well Hone might be a rebel but a rebel with a good cause if he crosses the floor ! That rebel would soon become” Likable Rogue” and that could really work for him and the Maori Party who’s supporters are starting to feel a bit let down.

    Winston’s pulled off saying things that are quite racist for years( usually about asians I know not about white folk) but then makes a good point ( not always a correct point in my view but hey) and finishes it with a smile for years. While Hone may not be as smooth as Winston its hard to beat that Maori boy smile which he can do really well.

    While Hone has made some mistakes he could be the Maori Parties saving grace, as they say a week is a long time in politics.

  9. Tigger 9

    Crossing the floor was just a show. MP gets to have a ‘radical’ arm while still helping National stomp on the poor.

    Hone, what has the MP actually achieved for Maori. Actual achievements that mean something. Nothing of substance. Nothing that makes the marriage with National worth it.

    It’s like staying in an abusive relationship because you think it will be good for the kids. It never is.

    • Lew 9.1

      Why does anyone other than the government even bother turning up, then? Their votes don’t matter, so they might as well all just go home. Ferchrissakes.

      L

      • Tigger 9.1.1

        Big difference between voting against the government and being part of it, Lew. Hone’s now got a bob both ways.

        • Lew 9.1.1.1

          You’ve got one both ways as well, Tigger. If he votes against the government, it’s symbolic and doesn’t matter. But if he votes for the government — despite the fact that it’s symbolic and doesn’t matter since they have the numbers regardless — then he’s a traitorous turncoat.

          The fact is that symbolism matters. It might not be a substitute for meaningful policy progress, but when there’s minimal hope of achieving meaningful policy progress, you exert what influence you can. If he goes through with it, this one action will do more to undermine this budget than a month of Labour complaining about it. To look that gift horse in the mouth is just churlish. Even Labour aren’t being churlish about it, and thank goodness for that.

          L

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.1.2

        Yeah, pretty much, which is why the system needs a radical overhaul that minimises the influence of parties and ties MPs to a defined electorate (not necessarily a geographic one though).

        But hey, let’s all pretend MMP has, and will, make these tools actual tools.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    Where’s the story that Hone has “crossed the floor”? He’s spoken out, but he hasn’t voted yet – nobody has.

    • Bright Red 10.1

      yeah. someone got a bit ahead of themselves it seems.

      • Craig Glen Eden 10.1.1

        I did say “IF” which I think is along shot because I am not sure he has the balls but hey he could prove me wrong.

    • Michael Foxglove 10.2

      I think it was just a bit of confusion because Scoop was late at publishing Hone’s press release. I’ve taken the update off :).

  11. kerry 11

    good on him……hes gone up hugely in my estimations.

  12. subPrime minister for hire 12

    People can vote on wehter they think GST should be raised to 15% on Hone Harawira’s website: http://www.hone.co.nz/

    go to:
    Kōrero Mai!

    Do you agree with the Govt’s decision to raise GST to 15%?

    on the right hand side of the page. so far 100% is against (3 votes)

  13. Lew 13

    Five votes in favour at the motion to read. That’s Hone voting aye to the budget.

    L

  14. Alexandra 14

    Im disappointed and getting tired of defending snow flakes. I thought Hone might have backed the rhetoric with a meaningful gesture, or cynically protected his brand. Either way hes failed on both counts and has let himself down. Ive recently heard Hone described as a blow arse. His performance today shows that he is.

  15. Jenny 15

    It’s all very well to challenge Harawira to cross the floor.

    But cross the floor to what?

    To being pushed to the margins by both major parties?

    As far as I know the Maori Party is still considered by Labour to be “the last cab off the rank”.

    It is all very well to criticise, but unless you are offering anything better, what do you expect?

    I have followed your posts Marty, as you rejoice at the trouble that the Maori Party is having trying to get along with a right wing party. But what choice do they have. Become the last cab on the rank by both Labour and National?

    Schadenfreude is a negative emotion.

    How about offering up something positive?

  16. subPrime minister for hire 16

    according to the radio he was in Northland and not parliament – so he did not vote.

    • Nope. Maori Party, five votes in favour. He’s one of the five, no matter where he goes to sulk. Still, at least he gets to share the shame with four other sellouts.

      • Jenny 16.1.1

        I’m sure if there was some positive alternative the Maori Party and particularly Hone would probably take it.

        Those who attack the Maori Party MPs as sell outs, without offering any positive alternative, are in effect asking the Maori Party to go quietly into the political wilderness and stay there to be shunned and ignored by both major parties.

        This is a very big thing to ask of any political movement. After all, even Jesus couldn’t spend more than 40 days and nights in the wilderness.

        • They have an alternative, Jenny. They could walk. Admit they got it wrong and get their sorry butts off the limo seats and into the opposition benches. But they won’t because they are conservative MP’s from a conservative party and they feel right at home in a dimwitted right wing coalition.

          • Jenny 16.1.1.1.1

            Ad hominem abuse, with no facts to back it up.

            VOR you claim that the Maori Party are a conservative party at home in a right wing coalition.

            I don’t think that they are at home there.

            Maybe you would like to back up your claim with some facts.

            • The Voice of Reason 16.1.1.1.1.1

              You’re kidding right? They are in a right wing coalition, with Ministerial responsibilities. If you check their voting record, it mirrors National and Act almost exactly. I think I’ll stick with the facts, Jenny, but you’re welcome to your fantasy.

              • Jenny

                Thanks VOR for your prompt reply.

                Could I bother you to provide the proof that shows that the Maori Party and National and Act voting record is “almost exactly” the same.

                Depressingly as a consequence of being in coalition with the Nats. you are probably right on the recent Maori Party voting record.

                But I would like the facts never-the-less.

                If you could, I think it would also be interesting to see a breakdown of how the Maori Party voted before they were in coalition with National as compared to after.

                It may be interesting to compare how the Labour and National Parties voted during the same period, (and since), as well. As when it comes to claims of where different parties fit on the political spectrum, nothing is in isolation.

                When it comes to the studying the voting record on the issues of the day, it pays not to study just one party’s direction but necessary to compare it to the all the others as well.

                I think that such a study of the facts might reveal that the Maori Party is not as right wing as you think.

                VOR in your claim that the Maori Party “are conservative MP’s from a conservative party”, “at home” in a “right wing coalition.” Again I challenge you to back up your argument with facts, not just opinion.

                I admit that it is possible, that as you say, I am under a “fantasy” that the Maori Party is not conservative party. (or at least, not as conservative as National or ACT).

                I am reliant on you, or others to convince me.

                If you could refrain from ad hominen slurs or sectarian attacks, and just stick to the objective facts while you are doing it, I would appreciate that as well.

                Thanks Jenny

  17. Carol 17

    Jenny, when the Maori Party originated I was hoping it would be a party I (a Pakeha) could vote for, as I strongly supported them on the Foreshore & Seabed issue, and have always been critical of the Labour Party for how they betrayed the long support large numbers of Maori had given them.

    I don’t know about the MP’s general voting record, but I do remember one social issue when they took a conservative line. As a lesbian, I have never forgotten that they generally did not support the Civil Union Bill, and in a way that stuck me as being due to some underlying homophobia.

    As a lesbian leftie, I felt there was no other party other than the Greens for me to support. They support the MP on most issues that affect Maori directly, but also actively support the GLBT community, and on this, I think they are in tune with more Nats than people in left parties.

    I have been left with a lingering feeling that the MP is conservative on GLBT issues. I’d be very happy if someone could prove me worng on this.

    • Jenny 17.1

      Carol I agree with you on this one. Though I do believe there has been some movement on this.

      At the time you mentioned, there was only one Maori Party MP in Parliament.

      The Maori Party like all political movements is greater than the sum of it’s parts. And in my opinion needs to be objectively judged on the totality.

  18. Jenny (above):

    The Maori Party are currently tied to a deal which causes them to vote in favour of all Government legislation. I understand they have limited ability to vote differently on Private Members’ bills, but I’m not aware of instances where they have in opposition to their mates.

    Far easier to point out times when they have done something progressive for their supporters. There’s the flag on the Auckland Harbour bridge for example. And Rugby on Maori TV instead of seats on the Auckland Super City. And the BMW’s, almost forgot them. Leather seats! Choice!

    If you can think of any left wing policy they have put into place, please let me know, Jenny. I’d happily be corrected, but I’m thinking it’s all been sellouts so far. Think of their history. Formed in opposition to a centre left party. Vaguely nationalistic, in a racially based way. Entered willingly into a conservative coalition. In Parliament, have done nothing for their supporters, but lapped up the bawbees of office, while whining that their hands are tied to a deal they themselves advocated.

  19. Jenny 19

    Surely VOR you have heard of this.

  20. Carol 20

    Well, I’ll wait and see, Jenny. I’m not likely to vote for them in the near future, but I’ll support them, for what it’s worth, on the things I agree with.

    I understand why they did a deal with National, in the first place, though I’m not keen on some of the outcomes. They got some good things out of it. Labour lost their trust too, so it’s partly their fault.

    Brash, Orewa & the Labour Party all set this trajectory in motion.

    At the moment, the Greens is the party I can feel most comfortable with. And Metiria Turei is impressive.

    • Jenny 20.1

      I agree with everything you say Carol. I myself will probably not vote the Maori Party either. But the fact is a significant number of (mainly Maori), people will.

      When headlines in a Main Stream Media franchise like stuff.co.nz label the Search and Surveillance bill “Chilling” you just know that it’s gonna be bad.
      Chilling surveillance bill delayed till next year

      The stakes are high, the current recession is not over, and there is the threat of a new double dip recession starting.

      The policy of the Nats, as we see in the budget, is to instead of cushioning the affects of the recession for the majority of New Zealanders, the Nats seem hell bent on increasing inequality by just protecting the few. National’s policies are all about protecting the elites and bugger the rest of the population.

      It couldn’t be more serious. John Key has made it clear that if National is returned to the treasury benches next year, he will claim an electoral mandate for some extreme right wing policy spearheads.

      The second Key government will I fear be a very different beast.

      Not only can we expect more attacks civil liberties, but we can also expect to see the sell off vital state assets to the benefit of John Key’s rich mates. This privatisation agenda will seriously undermine the material base for the provision of social services by the state, and usher in much greater user pays in health care and education. And all this at a time when recession will be making the social need for these state provided services more vital than ever.

      In my opinion the Labour party will be guilty of being childishly sectarian and irresponsible if they don’t, in the interests of their own supporters and all other grass roots battlers, objectively explore the possibility of an electoral accommodation with the Maori Party if that is what it takes to keep National out.

      Like all political parties the Maori Party has a left and right wing.

      In my estimation, at the moment the conservatives in the Maori Party have the ascendancy. But the make up of the membership of the Maori Party (like the general population of Maori,) is overwhelmingly working class and as we have seen around the 90 day bill have the ability to over rule their leadership when they try to back right wing legislation in the house.

      Hone Harawira is the defacto head of the left wing of the Maori Party, and as such his position is tenuous, the conservatives are just looking for the slightest pretext to expel him.

      This is why I support Harawira’s decision to abide by the majority decision of the Maori Party caucus and vote for the rise in GST. To not do so will see him expelled from his party and thrown into the political wilderness without any mandate to affect the future path that the Maori Party will take after the next election and into the future.

      Without the counter balance of Hone Harawira inside the MP caucus, the conservatives will try to stick with National, no matter what.

      Hone Harawira I believe will be a lightning rod pole of attraction for the flaxroots activists inside the Maori Party, that the conservatives could not dismiss lightly. If for instance the Labour Party wished to seriously engage with the Maori Party, or even put up some positive alternative to coalition with National, this is more likely to get a fair hearing with Harawira in the Maori caucus, than if he was marginalised and excluded.

      I feel that an objective analysis of the Maori Party, free from subjective name calling and sectarian spite is vital. Despite the fervent wishes of some in the Labour Party for it’s demise, the Maori Party exists and will continue to exist because it fulfils a very material need for an independent Maori voice in parliament. And if as I predict the Maori Party vote holds up in the elections next year, there is a very real possibility that along with the predicted collapse of the ACT vote, the Maori Party will wind up as the Kingmakers for our next parliament.

      Let us all hope that the Labour Party supporters can put aside their narrow sectarianism and find the vision and the courage to put out a hand of friendship to the Maori Party.

  21. just saying 21

    I agree with you about the urgency of “Labour putting their hand out” to not just the Maori Party, but to the Maori people. The soc con, right wing of the Labour party just has to ‘get over itself’ on this before it is too late.

    The overwhelming majority of new Zealanders are robbed when the right prevails. Our health, wealth, (in the full taonga sense), dignity, communites, security, environment, and committment to each other is pillaged, to increase the wealth and power of a minority.

    The ‘us’ that needs the left is broad and diverse – but we have way more interests in common than in conflict. I believe we are mostly people of good will. I hate the way the right continues to manipulate us by turning us agaisnt each other, and it infuriates me that too many of those driving the Labour party are so eager to dance when National whistles the tune.

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