Harawira to hold meetings for new party from today

Hone Harawira. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Hone Harawira. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Independent MP Hone Harawira will today begin a series of meetings to discuss forming a new political party.

Mr Harawira quit the Maori Party last month before its national council ruled on a disciplinary committee recommendation to expel him. He fell out with his party when his caucus colleague Te Ururoa Flavell made a complaint over Mr Harawira's outspoken criticism of the party's relationship with the Government and accusations it was supporting anti-Maori policies.

Mr Harawira will hold a public meeting in Auckland from 9am today to discuss the shape a new party might take. Further meetings in other areas of the country are planned for the coming weeks.

The new party could be at odds with a deal Mr Harawira signed on leaving the Maori Party, in which he agreed not to put Maori candidates up against the party in Maori seats.

However, Mr Harawira told Radio New Zealand that deal had already been broken.

"If all things had been considered and we'd made a deal and they'd stuck by the deal I probably wouldn't be, but given that I only asked for two small things in return, one, a decent office space and two, a decent seat in the house, and they've already reneged on both of them," he said.

"It just seems that any deal the Maori Party make isn't the sort of deal that Maori people feel is going to be honoured."

Mr Harawira said he had received wide interest for a new party, and that it would likely be Maori-led and Maori-focussed.

"I've been talking to people like Willie Jackson, John Tamihere, Sandra Lee, Donna Awatere and all sorts of other MPs, including Pakeha ones, over the last 12-18 months.

"Those talks are ongoing but there's nothing locked down at this stage with anyone."

Mr Harawira returned to Parliament on Tuesday when the The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, which he has long opposed and was one of the key conflicts in his relationship with the Maori Party, had its second reading.

However, the MP was not present to cast his vote, and in a statement later said he was distracted by business outside the house.

The bill passed with 62 votes to 56.

- NZPA

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