Harawira's no-show 'disrespectful'

By Yvonne Tahana

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

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is angry that Hone Harawira failed to turn up to the disciplinary hearing the rebel MP had explicitly asked for.

Speaking after he left the hearing, which is weighing Mr Harawira's future, Mr Flavell said the northern MP's no-show was disappointing and disrespectful.

"I personally think it does [show disrespect], because we had certain agreements in place - things like we wouldn't talk to the media and that we'd be meeting again... it was his opportunity because he specifically asked for this opportunity to meet with the committee," said Mr Flavell.

Asked if he thought Mr Harawira was deliberately trying to wind up the party, Mr Flavell said that was a question for Mr Harawira.

He refused to be drawn on his presentation to the committee, obtained by the Herald, where he put Mr Harawira's behaviour down to the fact that he hadn't received a ministerial position.

Nor would he discuss Mr Harawira's rejection of climate change, which he alleged in his presentation.

Mr Flavell wanted the matter cleared up as soon as possible.

"I'd be pretty angry and pretty disappointed personally if it's not dealt with before the end of this week. I think we've had too long ... I think all of us want an end to it."

The impact on his party wasn't clear, said Mr Flavell. The feedback he'd received from members came from extreme ends of the spectrum. People were telling him: "The party could well do without Hone Harawira, but also they acknowledged the many skills that he does bring and the edge that he has brought to the Maori Party," he said.

"No one has come up to me face to face and said [I] think you did the wrong thing... from that I take it that we're on the right track.

Mr Flavell was at pains to emphasise he did not leak his submission before it was presented to the committee.

The hearing has now finished and disciplinary and disputes committee chair Te Orohi Paul said she would contact Maori Party president Pem Bird to tell him the outcome.

The party's national committee will meet on Wednesday and make a decision on Mr Harawira's future.

FLAVELL ON HARAWIRA

* On the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Harawira: "The Marine and Coastal Area Bill does not reflect the hopes and dreams of the Maori people of the Maori Party.

Flavell: Said Harawira was closely involved in forming the bill but had contributed little and had not raised concerns before pulling his support the night it was introduced to Parliament. Hone had also admitted he had not read the bill: "When something is wrong you know it because you can feel it in your bones."

* On the coalition with the National Party:

Harawira: "We have been swallowed up by the National juggernaut, we are seen as merely the Maori face of a government that is hurting Maori people."

Flavell: E kii kii [is that so?]. This is the same Hone who agreed to go into the agreement, was willing to accept a ministerial [place] next to that same group, has worked with those people for the last two years, acknowledges the gains made.

* On the suppression of Hone:

Harawira: "I think what they are trying to do is crush dissent on the foreshore and seabed, I think that what they are trying to do is demand that all members of the Maori Party nod when the leaders speak." Radio NZ

Flavell: "Hone's views have never been suppressed. How could they be? He has taken every advantage to ensure his views are not suppressed. The leadership have never in the current term censured any of Hone's releases. But that's not what Hone says."

* On a voice for Maori:

Harawira: "If I go quiet who carries the Maori flag in Parliament, who takes those Maori issues to the edge, who speaks from the hearts and minds of the ordinary Maori? I'm not trying to bignote myself here, but that's just how it is, that's my role." (Parliament)

Flavell: This looks like bignoting to me. What have I been doing here for the last four years with him, Tariana, Pita and Rahui at my side? It is Team Hone alone that works for our people: there is the put down. I reject that absolutely."

* On the direction of the Maori Party:

Harawira: "No matter where I go, I am told that the Maori Party is coming off the rails, usually accompanied with a comment I should keep speaking out because none of my mates are." (Sunday Star Times)

Flavell: Hone has been a part of the movement from the start...If the party is in fact off the rails, then that surely is a reflection of his lack of input or a rejection of his input. That is not the picture Hone paints.

* On the disciplinary process:

Harawira: Maori is supposed to be the basis of our party, but it seems that some people will happily ditch the kaupapa for a Pakeha process whenever a problem crops up. (to media).

Flavell: Hone developed this process, so we should assume it has a kaupapa Maori feel to it. But even if he has a part in it, if it does not suit him, we apparently do not follow kaupapa Maori."

- NZ Herald

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