Faith in Harawira lost - caucus

Hone Harawira spoke ahead of his leader. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Hone Harawira spoke ahead of his leader. Photo / Richard Robinson.

Rogue MP Hone Harawira has been suspended from the Maori Party for what its leadership describes as a five year legacy of ill discipline.

A joint statement issued today by Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples said the party caucus no longer has any faith in Mr Harawira.

He had caused disunity through incidents of ill discipline stretching over the past five years, it said.

"Mr Harawira has failed to show the restraint and discipline expected of a caucus member and the caucus now has no faith or confidence in him.

"Ultimately... no political movement, divided within itself, can survive."

Fractures have emerged in the Maori Party in recent weeks since a Sunday Star-Times column by Mr Harawira criticising the party's policy and direction.

Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell laid an official complaint over the column but neither he, nor party president Pem Bird was invited to a hui intended to resolve the dispute.

It was set to go to a meeting of the party's disciplinary committee on Wednesday.

Mr Sharples and Mrs Turia said the Maori Party could no longer continue with internal conflict.

They said Mr Harawira had breached the policies and kaupapa, or founding principles, of the Maori Party.

That kaupapa states the party will always speak with a "strong, independent and united voice" for Maori.

"Having no regard for the constitution is one thing. It is quite another to have no regard for the kaupapa and tikanga of the party, and that is really what has brought us to this point."

Their statement said the decision was made difficult by the strong support Mr Harawira still enjoys in his electorate of Te Tai Tokerau.

"We have made this decision with heavy hearts. We are especially mindful of the position of Maori Party supporters in Te Tai Tokerau, who will obviously feel loyal to Mr Harawira; but who are also supportive of our kaupapa Maori and the achievements of the Maori Party in Parliament."

Te Tai Tokerau electorate chairwoman Lisa McNab said electorate executives would meet tonight to discuss the suspension, and that she was unable to comment until then.

Ms McNab said she had not been informed formally by the disciplinary committee as to whether Wednesday's meeting would go ahead.

Mr Flavell told NZPA that as far as he knew the complaint would still be heard on Wednesday.

He would not comment on Mr Harawira's suspension, except to say it was action that had been taken by the party's leadership.

Hone Harawira's misdemeanours:

February 2011: The night before Waitangi Day, maverick Maori Party MP Hone Harawira gave an address dubbed as a "state of the Maori nation" speech an hour before Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples gave his own speech with the same title. Dr Sharples said he was insulted by the move, and said Mr Harawira should consider "cutting himself loose" if he wished to continue to undermine the party leadership.

- On his Facebook page, Hone Harawira accused "dickheads" within the Maori Party of trying to get rid of him.

January 2011: Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell laid a formal complaint over Mr Harawira's Sunday Star-Times column which included a barrage of criticisms of the party and its coalition with the National Party.

July 2010: Mr Harawira was widely criticised for comments made in an interview with the Weekend Herald, where he said he wouldn't feel comfortable with his children dating Pakeha.

November 2009: In an email response to criticism of the way he skipped off to Paris while on a parliamentary visit to Brussels, Mr Harawira told former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere: "White motherf...kers 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?" He invited Mr Mikaere to go to the media with the email, which Mr Mikaere did. Complaints flooded in to the Race Relations Commissioner and Maori Party leaders came close to expelling Mr Harawira from the party, but after he apologised he was allowed to stay.

July 2009: Mr Harawira penned an abusive email to Ministry of Maori Development officials in July over a brochure about the Maori flag, accusing them of "shafting" him and threatening to "go apeshit" and "expose this as a sham" if they did not make changes he wanted.

- NZ Herald staff

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