Why Hone is a good activist but a lousy politician

The Dom Post reports:

The Maori Party co-leaders have been forced into damage control to defend their decision to support new foreshore and seabed legislation after party MP Hone Harawira pulled his vote.

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill will have its first reading today and although the Maori Party had agreed to cast all five votes in support of it, yesterday Mr Harawira said he would not allow his vote to be used.

Most politicians do not decide whether or not to vote for a bill, based on whether they are absolutely happy with it. Otherwise, no bills would ever get passed.

The usual test that MPs apply, is “does this bill improve the status quo” or will New Zealand be a better place if the bill passes, rather than not passes.

So by this test, Hone Harawira’s decision not to support the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, is politically inept – it is effectively saying he prefers Labour’s Foreshore & Seabed Act.

Now of course he does not. So why is he voting against – well basically because he can. It allows him to remain “pure”. He says he wants the entire foreshore and seabed held in Maori title.

Ironically Hone’s stance probably helps National. They can point to it, as showing they did not go too far.

But Hone’s stance is very unfair to his colleagues. Hone knows the bill can pass without him, so he has the luxury of voting against. But his colleagues are forced to deal with real  politik, and support the bill.

In terms of representing those with similar views to him, Hone is a very effective activist. But in terms of being able to achieve outcomes in Parliament, he is a pretty lousy MP. He puts his personal brand ahead of actually achieving things.

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