Prime Minister John Key has accused Mana leader Hone
Harawira of taking a taxpayer-funded junket to South Africa
after it appeared Mr Harawira did not attend Nelson Mandela's
Mr Harawira travelled to South Africa separately from New
Zealand's official delegation last week because he felt
anti-apartheid protesters needed to be represented at the
official memorial for the former South African leader.
He received approval from the Speaker's office to use his
Leader's budget to pay for the trip.
Mr Key said this morning that Mr Harawira had gone to the
country "on a jolly" and he should not have billed the
taxpayer for it.
He said the delegation represented "the right mix" of New
Zealanders and he did not feel there was a role for Mr
Harawira to go to South Africa.
"This is a guy who has barely turned up to Parliament in 2013
... He has spent a hell of a lot of 2013 doing anything other
than actually taking his place in Parliament.
"He has to stand up to his own constituents, but I for one
don't support what he's done."
Mr Harawira led protests against the Springbok tour of New
Zealand in 1981 and wanted a protester to be part of the
Mr Key defended the choice of New Zealand delegates, saying
he was under pressure to take a small number of people.
"I can't be sure but I'm pretty sure the Australian
delegation was two. We took five and within half an hour of
beginning they were still telling us we had to choose two to
go to the actual memorial service."
Anti-apartheid protester John Minto - who many felt should
have gone to South Africa - would "have his place in
history", Mr Key said.
The New Zealand delegation included Mr Key, Labour Leader
David Cunliffe, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, former
Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and former Foreign Affairs
Minister Sir Don McKinnon.
- By Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald