Maori Party schisms

I am surprised. I thought Party would whack Hone with a slightly moist bus ticket, and say look Hone is a hot head, but he does a lot of good stuff, and we have told him to tone it down in future.

Instead the Herald reports:

Party leaders have made it clear Hone Harawira will be pushed if he refuses their request to resign.

They say his actions have had a devastating effect on the party and he has refused to be accountable to the caucus or the party.

I feel somewhat sorry for the other Party MPs for havign to weather the backlash from one of their colleagues.

Professor Winiata said Mr Harawira’s actions had had a “devastating effect” on the party and his fellow MPs.

He made it clear the decision was not based solely on the Paris incident and the email, saying Mr Harawira’s actions showed he believed he was accountable only to the people of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

“If Hone believes he is not accountable to the Party or its leadership, or the party caucus in Parliament, then clearly he has placed himself outside the party.”

There is often some tension between loyalty to constituents and to a party, but this is part of the balancing act all electorate MPs have. If one claims an extreme position of loyalty only to one’s electorate or only to one’s party, then you won’t be in a tenable position for long.

Mr Harawira said he had no intention of leaving the Party, and the suggestion that he resign was “the silliest idea I’ve ever heard”.

But Dr Winiata and co-leader Tariana Turia have made it clear it will take a lot to dissuade the party from pushing him if he refuses to go.

Asked if Mr Harawira would be expelled if he did not resign, Mrs Turia said that was ultimately up to him.

“But I don’t think Hone will want to change how he is, and I don’t think he will change how he is. This is not just about a jaunt to Paris or bad language. It’s been an ongoing issue and it’s reached its end, very sadly.”

She said it had become obvious the party leadership had no other option.

As I said, no one can say the Party are not taking this seriously. Things sound pretty bad, and whether there is a way forward for reconciliation – well time will tell.

Personally I hope there is a way forward. I suspect Hone would win Te Tai Tokerau as an Independent – but he will become irrelevant if he does leave the Party. The Maori Party won’t like losing an electorate and possibly losing some of the hard core activists – but they obviously feel the status quo is not tenable.

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