View interactive

Rebel MP 'wanted job as a minister'

By Claire Trevett

Hone Harawira. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Hone Harawira. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Government's arch critic, Hone Harawira, wanted to become a minister when the Maori Party first went into coalition with National in 2008, according to a confidential statement by caucus colleague Te Ururoa Flavell.

In his submission to today's disciplinary committee hearing against Mr Harawira, obtained by the Herald, Mr Flavell said both he and the Te Tai Tokerau MP were prepared to take up ministerial positions - belying Mr Harawira's recent strong criticisms of his party for staying in the coalition.

"Put it this way: If he was to have received a ministerial position, would he still be writing to criticise the relationship? Answer: I doubt it."

Mr Flavell laid a complaint against Mr Harawira a month ago over a column the MP wrote in a Sunday newspaper in which he criticised the coalition and questioned the Maori Party's leadership and direction.

Mr Flavell revealed Mr Harawira's ministerial hopes to counter the MP's claims that the party had gone off the rails and sold its people out by dealing with National.

Mr Flavell was also scathing about Mr Harawira's criticism of National as "anti-worker" and "anti-environment," saying the MP had had difficulties with his own staff and once told the caucus he did not believe in climate change and nobody would tell him to drive a smaller car.

"So he champions the cause and yet abuses the cause as he feels."

Mr Flavell said Mr Harawira had backed the relationship with National at the time. He described the newspaper column as "lies, mistruths, misleading statements about everything but himself and his part in things".

In the often-emotional submission, Mr Flavell said it was not easy laying a complaint against his friend of more than 40 years and it had taken a toll on his whanau, the party and the other MPs, who had suffered personal abuse.

However, Mr Harawira appeared to have a deliberate strategy to cast the other Maori Party MPs in a bad light.

He depicted the maverick MP as "talking himself up" and "big-noting" by constantly painting himself as the only true voice of Maoridom. "That strategy is aimed at putting the rest of us down."

Mr Flavell also depicted brattish behaviour, saying Mr Harawira "spits the dummy" if he doesn't get his way and had a "Hone's view is right and everyone else is wrong" attitude.

He questioned Mr Harawira's conviction, saying co-leader Tariana Turia
left the Labour Party over the first Foreshore and Seabed Act.

"She is comfortable enough to support this [latest] bill. If it is that Hone is so vehemently opposed, then surely a belief in that principle would result in his walking as well."

Mr Flavell indicated things were past the point of no return, saying the other MPs "have lost any semblance of trust in Hone and clearly, he in us."

"I am clear that more hui with Hone or an electorate will not change things. He is his own man."

Last week, party president Pem Bird banned all of those involved in today's hearing from talking to the media, after Mr Harawira apparently breached an agreement by appearing on TV One's Marae.

Mr Bird did not return calls yesterday but has previously said the national council will meet tomorrow to decide on any disciplinary committee recommendation made today.

However, it is understood the Te Tai Tokerau electorate wants another extension, claiming many could not attend today's hui because of Waitangi Tribunal hearings in the Far North.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 23 Sep 2014 03:51:03 Processing Time: 430ms