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Harawira Says Suggestions He Leave Maori Party Are Silly

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Kaitaia, Nov 13 NZPA - Firebrand MP Hone Harawira says he wants to stay with the Maori Party despite suggestions from its president that it would be best if he became an independent MP.

At a hui in Mr Harawira's electorate yesterday party president Professor Whatarangi Winiata said the party's elders did not know how to handle him and it might be best if they parted ways.

Mr Harawira had posed problems for the party, Prof Winiata said.

"We would like him to be a member of the party, so long as he does not destroy the party," Prof Winiata said.

"We know he is a good speaker and an analyst, but we just haven't known how to manage him."

Mr Harawira said his leaving the party was "the silliest idea I've heard".

The hui was held as the Maori Party pondered what to do with their fast-talking MP, who has been in the headlines for the past week.

Co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia had distanced themselves after his "white" comment in an email, a reaction to criticism of his unauthorised trip to Paris while on a parliamentary trip to Europe.

Mrs Turia said his comments had damaged the party and it was up to Mr Harawira's local electorate to decide how he should atone for them.

Prof Winiata said the party had asked for two weeks to work with Mr Harawira, and the party would decide the agenda.

For his part, Mr Harawira said nothing had changed. He had no intention of leaving the Maori Party.

He was in no doubt that was where his future lay, and he was heartened with the huge level of support he got from the people in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

He intended to return to Parliament with "all guns blazing".

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters leapt on the Maori Party's troubles saying it should have instantly expelled Mr Harawira for his "outrageous racist behaviour".

Mr Peters used a speech to Grey Power in Wanganui yesterday to attack Mr Harawira.

"They reveal his absurd sense of entitlement -- in his world, a Maori is entitled to flaunt conventions of behaviour and pick and choose what rules to follow or disregard," Mr Peters said.

"When an MP can vilify other New Zealanders on an overtly racial basis -- and not be instantly dismissed from his party -- we are in deeply dangerous territory."

In the past, Mr Peters -- whose party is no longer represented in Parliament -- has been accused of promoting anti-Asian policies to get elected.

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