Complaint laid with Maori Party over Harawira

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira
Maori Party MP Hone Harawira
The Maori Party is investigating a complaint against MP Hone Harawira, laid by his own parliamentary colleagues.

The complaint, laid by Te Ururoa Flavell, was supported by co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, as well as Rahui Katene, party president Pem Bird said.

It related to a column Mr Harawira wrote for the Sunday Star-Times newspaper at the weekend.

In it, Mr Harawira said his party had become too wrapped up in its coalition with National and that many people had told him they felt the Maori Party was coming off the rails.

"The downside of being in government with National is having to put up with all the anti-worker, anti-beneficiary and anti-environment (and therefore anti-Maori) legislation that comes as a natural consequence of having a right-wing government," Mr Harawira wrote.

"The Maori Party is a coalition partner of that government and our co-leaders are ministers in that government, so unless we take a very strong position against some of the government's legislative agenda we will be seen as supporting that agenda.

"And because leaders do most of the talking for a party (and control what the rest of their MPs say as well), our public statements over the last couple of years have been rather muted, to say the least."

Mr Harawira also reiterated his opposition to National's Marine and Coastal Areas bill, which replaces the foreshore and seabed legislation.

"It does not reflect the hopes and dreams of either the Maori people or the Maori Party, and was opposed by most Maori during the select committee hearings. If we support this bill, we're effectively saying that our coalition with National is more important than our commitment to Maori."

Mr Bird would not go into the specific details of the complaint, and said the party's National Council was seeking legal advice on how to deal with it.

"We are seeking an early meeting between affected parties to try and resolve the issues raised by the complaint, as our constitution requires," Mr Bird told NZPA.

"The Council has requested the Te Tai Tokerau Electorate Council to call an urgent hui this Friday, 21 January."

Both Mr Harawira and Mr Flavell had been asked to attend the meeting.

Mr Bird said he did not believe the complaint was a bad look for the party.

"It's something that's a reality to all political parties," he said.

"What matters most is, when it happens, we front up to it and take the necessary action and act in a fair, transparent manner."

Mr Bird said he expected the issue to be resolved at Friday's meeting.

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