In a statement today, Maori Party co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia announced the suspension, saying that it was a result of Mr Harawira’s behaviour in the party for the past five years.
That is an interesting time-frame to refer to. It looks like it has been building for a long time, and has reached the near inevitable conclusion.
“We have always respected the right, and made provision for caucus colleagues to speak out on issues which their constituency presents. We do this, however, always guided by the principle of unity of purpose and direction (kotahitanga).”
No political movement could survive divided within itself, they said.
“We have made this decision with heavy hearts. We are especially mindful of the position of Maori Party supporters in Te Tai Tokerau, who will obviously feel loyal to Mr Harawira; but who are also supportive of our kaupapa Maori and the achievements of the Maori Party in Parliament.
“We want them to know that we have huge respect for the people of Te Tai Tokerau and our commitment to our people remains unwavering.”
The suspension would remain in force until further notice.
It will be interesting to see if Harawira now gives his proxy vote to the Opposition. It won’t affect things a lot as you need 62 votes to pass a law and Nat + ACT = 63 and NAT + Maori = 62 so National can still go either way – plus have Peter Dunne.