An answer for almost everything

Hone HarawiraMana 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 him).

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 for me".

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 - alcohol".

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 day."

• Deputy leader Annette King will speak at the next forum in the series, at noon today.

- allison.rudd@odt.co.nz

 

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