If any two words might ever be regretted by the Prime Minister, I think “haters” and “wreckers” will be at the top of the list.
It was incredibly stupid judgement to lash out at the Hikoi like that. Sure Ken Mair and Annette Sykes are part of it and they are not my cup of tea either, but it was obvious that the Hikoi was going to involve the leaders of probably every Iwi in NZ, a dozen or so knights and dames, professors, bishops, plus a fair few “ordinary” Maori. You’ve just told all those people to go copulate with themselves, and have guaranteed that when a huge crowd turns up on Wednesday, the media will remind everyone how you labelled them haters and wreckers.
I have some experience in dealing with Hikois having worked for the last Prime Minister when we had the last Hikoi, of Hope, in 1999. We had many discussions about how to deal with the Hikoi, but having the PM come out and call them haters and wreckers was never even suggested.
The Hikoi were addressed by the Social Welfare Minister and a delegation met respectfully with the PM. Ironically their demands at the meeting changed from ending poverty to giving Maori their own Parliament and tax system etc etc.
It will be interesting to see if they make their prediction of 5,000 people tomorrow. I will try and pop in and take some photos of it.