Mana Party leader Hone
Harawira covers a lot of ground in an hour.
Fielding questions from interviewer Dr Bryce Edwards, from
the audience and via twitter during a political forum at the
University of Otago yesterday, he expounded on everything
from who will win the election (National) and whether Phil
Goff will survive being dumped as Labour Party leader (he
will not), to why he abstains from alcohol (to maintain his
edge as a warrior and example to his people), and why he
attended the Destiny Church conference (because they invited
There was only one question he did not have an opinion on -
his views on abortion.
He got round it neatly by saying the Mana Party's policy was
being written by its women members and he would agree with
whatever they decided.
Mr Harawira, who fell out with the Maori Party earlier this
year and formed his own party, was the sixth politician to
speak at a Vote Chat 2011 forum organised by Dr Edwards, a
political lecturer and commentator.
As well as a studio audience, the chats are streamed live on
the internet and people can tweet comments and questions.
Looking relaxed, Mr Harawira entertained and informed, firing
off pithy one-liners and more detailed responses but avoiding
any headline-grabbing controversial comments.
But only because he had decided not to make any
headline-grabbing comments at the forum, he said.
"If I wanted to I could be the first items on the six o'clock
news tonight by saying something here and now."
He had plenty to say about almost everything.
Prime Minister John Key was described as "a smiling snake ...
delivering poison to ordinary New Zealanders, working New
Zealanders and Maori New Zealanders".
Reminded by Dr Edwards he had once said he wanted to line Mr
Goff up and shoot him, Mr Harawira said he did not think he
would have to do that now "as the Labour Party would do it
Which party was worse?
National or Labour?
It was "the devil in blue versus the devil in red", he said,
... "but at least National stabs you in the front".
Giving his views on the economy, he said New Zealand needed
"an economy for the people, not for profit".
Asked whether he supported lifting the alcohol purchasing age
to 20, he said he did not, saying it would be hypocritical to
do that "when old guys are hanging on to their drug of choice
When quizzed for his opinion on same sex marriage, he called
himself a "moral conservative" and said he did not view any
marriages as a human right. The only human rights were the
right to life, the right to food, the right to water and the
right to shelter.
Everything else was a privilege, he said.
Was the Mana party becoming radical and left-wing with the
addition of candidates such as John Minto and Sue Bradford?
Dr Edwards asked.
"Not really. We're just intelligent," Mr Harawira replied.
Mana would have at least three MPs in Parliament after the
election, he said - Mr Minto, Annette Sykes and himself.
"Me, John and Annette ... We could take on those clowns any
• Deputy leader Annette King will speak at the next forum in
the series, at noon today.