Harawira: Whanau told me to 'soften' my behaviour

By NZ Herald staff

Hone Harawira. Photo / Chris Loufte
Hone Harawira. Photo / Chris Loufte

New Mana Party MP Hone Harawira has pledged to "cool his heels" as he looks to work with the Maori Party ahead of this year's General Election.

Mr Harawira retained his Te Tai Tokerau seat at Saturday's byelection and has signalled his intent to work with the Maori Party in the future, despite initial resistance from the Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

The firebrand MP has continued to ruffle feathers in his former party, saying the party "shit all over" people in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the way they treated him and their candidate Solomon Tipene.

However this morning on TV3's Firstline, Mr Harawira was much more conciliatory.

Mr Harawira said he is yet to speak to either of the Maori Party's co-leaders Mr Sharples and Tariana Turia following the byelection, but is confident he will get hold of Mrs Turia today.

"There has been some big things gone down in the last few months and I think we need to come at this in a calm and peaceful manner and look to build bridges rather than set up walls.

"I think Tariana's comments over the last few days have been positive, balanced ... I can work with Tari, I can work with Pete.

"I think there might be issues further down the track that might lead to divisions but I don't think the personality issues are the important thing."

Mr Harawira acknowledged he will have to change his tack.

"I'm going to have to cool my heels to deal with a lot of people, including Pete and Tari, but that's part of the leadership game I guess. I'm confortable with the changes necessary to lead a movement as important as Mana."

Mr Harawira said party president Matt McCarten has told him to "never lose touch with my reality".

"Keep that edge, but a little less of the cussedness."

He said he has been told by his whanau, including his controversial mother Titewhai, to "soften" his behaviour. He also said the family had discussed the party's campaign, which has resulted in Mr Harawira being seen in public with his mother less frequently.

The Mana Party will look to follow the steps of the Green Party by staying on the cross benches for at least a couple of terms, "to get a sense of our own capacity as a team", Mr Harawira said.

He said he is still keen not to contest seats against the Maori Party at this year's election, instead targeting the party vote for Mana, allowing both parties to return to Parliament.

Mr Harawira said a merged party in the future "was a long ways down the track"

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