Harawira delays resignation

By Claire Trevett

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

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has delayed his planned resignation from Parliament, saying he wants to take the decision back to the people of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

Mr Harawira said at the launch of his new Mana Party on Saturday that he would resign from Parliament yesterday to force a byelection.

But yesterday he said he would now probably not decide until after he had further consulted his supporters in Northland.

"The people back home make the decision on where and when. So I will be taking it back to them to get their views."

He continued to defend his decision to force the byelection, expected to cost taxpayers more than $500,000.

Labour, the Maori Party and the Greens have criticised the byelection as a waste of money and have not decided whether to stand against him.

Mr Harawira said it would be "great" if they did not contest it.

"As long as I can be returned to the House as the leader of Mana, I'd be more than happy with that."

Being in Parliament as a party leader instead of an independent would give Mr Harawira up to $80,000 more in salary and parliamentary funding before the election.

He said he had a mandate only as an MP for the Maori Party "and the line I'm taking is diametrically opposed to everything the Maori Party stands for".

Dr Sharples said the Maori Party would meet in the Bay of Islands and Auckland on Sunday to let Te Tai Tokerau members speak their mind about whether to stand a candidate. The party would at least strengthen its organisation in the electorate.

Mr Harawira said among the differences between the two parties was that he would not deal with Act's new leader, Don Brash.

Dr Sharples said the change in Act made it even more important for a Maori Party presence in government to curtail Act policies such as abolishing the Maori seats and ensure policies such as Whanau Ora continued despite Dr Brash's policy against race-based funding.

"The Maori Party has to make sure we are strong and credible so we get invited into any coalition to stand up against Don Brash, if they are in the coalition themselves."

- NZ Herald

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