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Harawira: 'This was all done behind closed doors'

Published: 12:34AM Wednesday January 19, 2011 Source: ONE News

Hone Harawira says he believes there are other forces at work after an official complaint was laid against him by a group of senior members of his party.

A complaint about the Maori Party MP was handed to Maori Party President Pem Bird yesterday, from Waiaraki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, supported by Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene, and Maori Party co-leaders Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.

Harawira says he wasn't told about the complaint until this morning when he saw messages from journalists on his phone.

"[The complaint] wasn't presented to me, neither was I invited to participate in any of the discussions. This was all done behind closed doors without me being present," he said.

"I don't think anybody who believes in justice can be impressed by the way in which this has been handled.

"The intent is to try and crush dissent and really that's never going to work in the Maori Party. We were born out of protest," he said.

He said Bird told him he had tried to ring him, but did not believe that was the case.

"I just went through all my voice mails since Monday and I've not had a call from him."

Bird said last night in a statement that he had informed Harawira of the complaint and sent him a written copy of it.

He says members have lost trust in Hone Harawira after Harawira wrote a scathing column in the Sunday Star-Times, criticising the closeness between the Maori Party and the National Party.

Bird said the party would be taking legal advice on what to do next ahead of a hui on Friday.

"The National Council of the Maori Party has resolved to seek expert constitutional law advice from Mai Chen, Partner at Chen Palmer, on how to deal with the complaint consistent with the Party's Constitution approved at the 2010 AGM, 30 October 2010," Bird said in a statement last night.

Chen says she is hopeful the matter can be resolved at the hui.

"There's a process here and it's really, really important that Hone Harawira is treated fairly.

"I'm really keen that it not be escalated. I'm really keen that the parties be able to talk to each other," Chen told ONE News.

Bird said the party is seeking an early meeting to try and resolve the issues raised by the complaint and that's why the urgent hui will be held this week.

"We have invited Hone Harawira, Te Ururoa Flavell on behalf of the complainants, and the Chair of the Te Tai Tokerau Electorate Council to be present at the hui. It will be chaired by the Party's co Vice President, Ken Mair. The hui will be private and confidential to enhance the chances of successfully resolving the issues in the complaint," Bird said.

"We're treating this as a professional matter, not a personality matter.

"I would rather not have received the complaint, but that's the reality of the world of politics.

"We're hopeful that this can be resolved at the meeting on Friday. I'm optimistic about that," Bird said.

Harawira said there was no bad blood between himself and Flavell despite the complaint.

He said the Maori Party would probably have to change its constitution if it wanted to kick Harawira out of the party.

"They'd be saying to the Tai Tokerau we don't care who you choose, we're going to tell you who you can have. I think that would be the wrong thing."

He said he didn't believe anything that he'd written in the column was any different to anything he had ever said before.

Harawira is talking to his local electorate Te Tai Tokerau tonight to decide his political future.

He won the seat by more than 6000 votes last election.

Harawira has not ruled out the possibility of going into a political arrangement with the likes of union leader Matt McCartern for a more left-wing party.

What do you think of the Maori Party's actions? Let us know on the messageboard below.

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  • bees said on 2011-01-22 @ 16:57 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I am!

  • tauhara said on 2011-01-20 @ 13:06 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Without Hone the maori party will just be a dumb mainstream party like the national party, if Tariana & the rest of the lench mob kick Hone out, then i will be voting greens, i am sick of the maori party being so pro-national & for what? so they can get recognition of the maori flag? big deal. Talk about having very low expectations. Hone Harawira represent grassroots maori's. Why waste money on a lawyer? i am sure Mai Chen is not cheap

  • jifar said on 2011-01-20 @ 12:28 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Hone Harawira is the only MP in the Maori Party who has stayed true to the principles which saw the formation of the party. Getting into bed with a party which has, in the past, openly advocated the abolition of the Maori seats is an appalling betrayal of their constituency. He should be applauded for sticking to his principles while others in the coalition are feathering their own nests, courting big business at the taxpayers expense and compromising worker's rights. Keep it up Hone!

  • Wasserman said on 2011-01-19 @ 20:40 NZDT: Report abusive post

    All credit to those within the Maori Party for recognising, albeit very slowly, what a divisive racist and hater this person is. He continues to spout his racist, seperatist diatribe, and is defended by by the leadership. They attempt to defend the indefensible. He is a hypocrite, content to take the taxpayers money, while vilifying and abusing them. Mugabe politics? Absolutely!

  • ititahi said on 2011-01-19 @ 18:43 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Maybe Hone does represent flaxroots Maori - who may not have access to the means to voice their views like we can here - and if he does? then what? I think those others in the MP may have done better to join a mainstream party because it seems to me they are rolling with their National buddies hard! I reckon the only thing those others have in common with Maori is their ability to speak it! Im with Hones daughter gonna vote for Hone and the Greens!