Colin James writes:
The Maori Party’s Mr Harawira also spent taxpayers’ money on personal fun, in Paris. Confronted, he reverted to Hone, the abusive teenage protester. For that he earned a grandmother’s fierce disapproval.
That gutsy, determined kuia five years ago held off Labour’s heavy hitters and earned their fury for what they saw – and see in exchanges as late as last week – as duplicity. She went solo and now has four MPs alongside her. The party’s future is far from secure and many National policies are anathema to its voters. But it is in the game and winning points.
In that game it is Tariana Turia who anchors the party. Whacking Mr Harawira quarantined a threat to its important third constituency (after two sorts of Maori): an intrigued and respectful white middle-class that ungrudgingly (so far) concedes the points the party wins.
Mrs Turia is my politician of the year.
Kiwiblog readers also voted Tariana the Minor Party MP of the Year. I can recall the days when she was seen as electoral poison. She has achieved something quite remarkable with her establishment of the Maori Party, as I suspect it will be one of the four parties still existing in 2030.