The shame over Parliament non-attendance rests on the
Prime Minister's shoulders, Hone Harawira says.
The Mana Party Leader said Prime Minister John Key's
criticism of his record of attendance at Parliament was
"petty" and he was one of Parliament's hardest-working MPs.
Mr Key yesterday said the public paid a lot of money for MPs
to attend Parliament and while there were always reasons why
they might miss the House, "I think there's been a situation
where some MPs, frankly, have taken the mickey and they've
treated the place with not enough respect".
"Hone Harawira's an obvious one. You go and have a look at
the number of days he was here in the 2011-2013 period ...
not very many," Mr Key said.
Mr Harawira today said the Prime Minister had been absent
from Parliament more days than he had last year.
"I think that the shame sits on his own shoulders, because
having named me, he then refused to tell the media how many
days he's out," he told Radio New Zealand.
"I don't feel ashamed about the things I've done.
"Every absence that I've had from Parliament has been
formally approved, formally requested and were all for
"I have no intention in changing the way in which I act to
suit John Key.
"I can be in Parliament every single day of the week, but the
reality is, I don't get to speak on every single bill and
because I don't, what would people have me do; sit in
Parliament and do nothing?"
Mr Harawira said his electorate expected him to be actively
canvassing issues including asset sales, Treaty settlements,
water rights, tobacco, state housing, pokies, alcohol and
He was yesterday asked about reports he was absent from
Parliament for 68 days last year.
Mr Key's remarks were "just a continuation of his petty
bickering about my going to South Africa," Mr Harawira said.
This year sees the introduction of a register of attendance
at Parliament for MPs who now face penalties of at least $295
a day for each unexplained absence after three days.
Meanwhile, Mr Key's own chief whip Louise Upston refused to
release records of National Party MPs absences from
The only party to release their attendance records yesterday
were the Greens.
A Labour Party spokesman said Labour didn't believe it was
appropriate to release its MPs' attendance records because
the leave was often applied for "for various personal
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald