I should have asked my wife to check email, Harawira admits

By Edward Gay

Hone Harawira said Phil Goff should be shot over the passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Photo / NZPA
Hone Harawira said Phil Goff should be shot over the passing of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Photo / NZPA

Hone Harawira knew his words were wrong minutes after sending an email that included bad language and racist comments.

Mr Harawira has apologised for the language that he used in an email but not the sentiment.

He told a press conference at the University of Auckland Waipapa Marae this afternoon that there was no pressure from Maori Party leadership to apologise and his apology was genuine.

Mr Harawira said a meeting later this week with party leadership could result in disciplinary action.

He said he had the support of his electorate of Te Tai Tokerau who had voted for a "rebel to be their spokesman".

Mr Harawira said his wife saw the email shortly after it was sent and told him that he should not have sent it.

"What I should have done is ask her to look at it first before I sent it," he said.

Asked if she was angry, Mr Harawira said: "love conquers all".

Mr Harawira found himself embroiled in further controversy this morning, when he went on Radio Waatea with host Willie Jackson.

While making a partial apology, Mr Harawira also said Labour leader Phil Goff was a "bastard" who should be "lined up against a wall and shot" for Labour's passage of the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Goff laughed off the comments and said Mr Harawira had failed to address any of the issues.

"It is a silly comment. I can't take that sort of thing seriously, but what the public of New Zealand are looking for was an apology, an apology for ripping off the taxpayer, an apology for abusing people in racist and obscene language," Mr Goff said.

"There is no contrition there, he is proud of ripping the taxpayer off and he genuinely believes that white people are to blame for all of his problems."

There was a need for leadership from the Maori Party and Prime Minister John Key to take action as know no apology would do.

"If he apologises now that will be phoney because he actually believes that every problem he has is down somehow to Pakeha people in this country. That is simply a nonsense."

Mr Goff said he did not think his father would appreciate him being called a bastard, but the shooting comment was stupid.

"I have been abused by better people than Hone."

Mr Harawira told Radio Waatea that Mr Goff was out of line for saying he should be suspended from politics.

"The cheek of the bastard. If I should be suspended for swearing, him and his mates should be," he said.

"I'm saying to Phil Goff `beware mate, beware before you start throwing stones'."

The remarks followed an apology in which Mr Harawira said sorry for his language, but not his message, in a controversial email sent to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere.

Mr Mikaere wrote to Mr Harawira over his decision to leave Brussels, where he was visiting as part of a parliamentary delegation, and take his wife to Paris for the day.

Mr Harawira responded: "White motherf...ers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit."

The Maori Party leadership, Mr Key, and Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres were among those who have called for an apology.

A spokesman for Mr Key said "he accepts he has apologised and in the end it's for New Zealanders to judge the issue".

He was not going to critique the apology.

Regarding the new attack on Mr Goff, he said "that's a debating matter he might wish to take up with the Labour Party".

Mr Harawira said sorry for his "poor choice of words" and the offence they caused.

He should have instead referred to what European colonisers had done, the MP for Te Tai Tokerau said.

The comments were not an attack against all Pakeha, he said, but had been taken that way.

"... and that's caused a lot of damage to my own credibility throughout the Te Tai Tokerau and throughout Aotearoa as well."

The MP said he was not a racist - "Hone doesn't hate Pakehas. Hone's part Pakeha".

- with NZPA

- NZ Herald

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