End of line for Hone Harawira

By Claire Trevett

Hone Harawira faces being out on his own from today. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Hone Harawira faces being out on his own from today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is expected to be expelled from the party today, making him an independent MP.

The party's disciplinary committee yesterday recommended his membership be cancelled, and the party's national council is expected to accept that recommendation today.

Disciplinary committee chairwoman Te Orohi Paul revealed the recommendation yesterday, saying it was reached "with great sadness".

It followed a complaint by party MP Te Ururoa Flavell against Mr Harawira, prompted by a column Mr Harawira wrote in the Sunday Star- Times in which he questioned the direction of the party and its relationship with the National Party.

Although Mr Harawira did not attend the final hearing of the committee on Monday, Ms Paul said Mr Harawira had had many opportunities to respond to the complaint, and "he had said a great deal".

But attempts to find another resolution had all failed, leaving the party with little option.

"The committee considered that Mr Harawira had been accorded full rights to natural justice."

Mr Harawira was suspended from the caucus this month. It is understood the caucus is considering an arrangement in which Mr Harawira would be an independent MP but work in association with the party.

Mr Harawira has objected to the disciplinary committee throughout, describing it as a "Pakeha process".

He would not comment yesterday, saying only "I have nothing to say whatsoever, thanks very much."

Maori Party president Pem Bird said neither Mr Harawira nor Te Ururoa Flavell was expected to be at the meeting today.

Mr Harawira's fate would be decided by the council, including at least two representatives from each Maori electorate except for Mr Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau branch.

Mr Bird said Te Tai Tokerau's views were already clear and they were "conflicted".

He said the party hoped to deal with the matter before the second reading of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill tomorrow.

Mr Harawira's failure to attend the second hearing of the committee on Monday is understood to have further angered the committee and council, which had granted an extension on Mr Harawira's request.

Mr Flavell's submission to the committee made it clear he thought Mr Harawira should go, as he was apparently deliberately undermining the caucus by presenting himself as the only true voice for Maori.

The submission said he believed Mr Harawira's outspokenness on issues relating to Maori was valuable to the party, but he had gone too far by turning on his own colleagues.

He was also concerned about "mistruths" he claimed Mr Harawira was telling about the party and the new foreshore and seabed bill, which Mr Harawira strongly opposes.

- NZ Herald

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