Editorial: Hone not building his mana

By Christine Allen

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I begin and end my working day in my car - listening to radio news - so my working day is book-ended by radio interviews.

As I park up outside the Advocate on Wednesday morning I hear Mana leader Hone Harawira giving his reaction to Phil Heatley's sacking from his ministerial portfolios in John Key's latest Cabinet reshuffle the day before.

Harawira's cellphone must have been red hot on Wednesday as it never left his ear. Yet, as usual, it was his mouth that caused the kerfuffle.

No sooner than he had his breakfast consumed, if even he had, the potty-mouthed politician lashed insults on the departing Energy and Resources and Housing Minister.

Hone said on National Radio's Morning Report that Mr Heatley's departure would be a welcome relief for low-income families. He then called Phil a "smarmy p***k", adding a cherry-on-top by telling the nation that the Cabinet minister had joked about the poor.

Whether you believe Heatley was effective or not, credit must go to him for rising above Hone's trash talk. Heatley was staying positive and focusing on the future.

He told us later that day: "Local people who know me and who know Hone are quite capable of making their own judgment on our respective characters."

With a day's work done, it was back into the car for me and guess who was on the radio?

"A lot of our people have their hopes and faith pinned on us as Maori doing something better for Maori than squabble," the Mana leader was saying.

Harawira quit the Maori Party in 2011 but he is willing to return as the party leader, stating that his return has been requested by some members of the party.

Discouraging "squabbles" - indeed. I wonder what Phil would say about "horrendous" Hone's change of course, and only hours after his Heatley thrashing?

("Horrendous" is how Tariana Turia described the Maori Party's former dealings with Hone.)

The young Maori men of Northland need positive role models - something the renegade Mana leader might remember next time he opens his mouth and addresses the nation.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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