Joshua Hitchcock

Thoughts on the Mana Party Launch

In Te Ao Māori on May 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

It has been a fascinating few weeks on the political fringes with both the far right and far left attempting to once again reinvent themselves.  Given the  lack of political relevance both sides command in New Zealand, I only kept a cursory eye on the launch of Hone Harawira’s Mana Party over the weekend and the various noise that surrounds such a launch.   Nonetheless, I make the following observations:

– The Mana Party more closely resembles the Alliance (minus the Greens) than it does a Maori-focused party.  By pitching itself on the left of politics, it automatically seeks to alienate a large proportion of Maori who make up an ever-growing middle class, and those iwi who’s aspire to economic prosperity.

– As such, Maori need to be very careful if Harawira allows the Mana Party to be captured by the trade union movement.  With Matt McCarten, Sue Bradford, Nandor Tanczos, and John Minto all active at the launch of the party; this is a very real possibility.

– I am personally ashamed, as many Maori will be, by the divisive comments made by Harawira over the past few days.  Comparing Don Brash to Hitler is a gross insult to the Dr. Brash, and to the memories of those who died at the hands of the German National Socialists during WWII.  Comments that people in New Zealand are “starving” and “being forced in slavery” are inflammatory and, when these are read with his “white mofo” comments, Harawira’s loose lips have the potential to severely damage race relations in New Zealand – in much the same way that he criticises Don Brash for.  What Harawira does not understand is that Pakeha take his comments in the same light that Maori view comments made by Dr. Brash.

– Harawira has broken his agreement with the Maori Party.  Despite his protestations on National Radio this morning, the active campaigning of Annette Sykes is a clear indication that she intends to run in Waiariki.

– The By-Election is a disgraceful waste of money.  Argue as much you want about democracy, Harawira’s actions are not motivated for the good of the people.  He is the elected member for Te Tai Tokerau, and if he was genuinely concerned about ensuring that his constituents had their right to a by-election then he would have forced one when he resigned from the Maori Party.  He was more than happy to remain as the MP when he left the party that brought him into Parliament, what has changed now?

– That is why the Maori Party should refuse to stand against him in the by-election.  The Greens and National have already confirmed that they are not going to run, Labour is heading that way to.  The absence of a Maori Party candidate will send a clear message to the electorate that the Maori Party does not endorse such a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money.

– That said, what odds of a challenge for Te Tai Tokerau by Winston Peters?

– And finally, it is no surprise that Phil Goff has come out and said that he will not work with Harawira if Labour wins this election.  A Labour-Green victory will install Goff as Prime Minister, and he is much more likely to bring in the Maori Party than he is the Mana Party.  No Prime Minister would willingly choose to form a government with a man who has clearly demonstrated that he cannot work well with others. Hone Harawira in a Labour-led Government will act exactly the same as he did during this National-led Government.

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