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Sharples: Hone Process Ongoing, But Disagreements Managed Before

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Pita Sharples
Pita Sharples

Wellington, Nov 20 NZPA - Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says his party caucus has coped with disagreements before.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is midway through the fortnight the party gave him to consider his future after his "white motherf....rs" comment in an email, a reaction to criticism of his unauthorised trip to Paris while on a parliamentary trip to Europe.

The email prompted more than 400 complaints to the Race Relations Commissioner and the party leaders have received even more.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has said the controversy had damaged the party but there were wider problems than that.

Dr Sharples told Radio New Zealand this morning that Mr Harawira was continuing to work in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

"All I can say is it's got to go through a process and it will go through that process."

He said the party was new to politics and new to being a government support partner.

Mr Harawira has been frank about his discomfort with the party's support of the National Government.

"...there's only five of us to share the load and obviously we are going to disagree on a whole lot of stuff," Dr Sharples said.

"But we've managed right up until now to get along fine on things."

He agreed with Mrs Turia the problem with Mr Harawira was not just about the unauthorised trip or offensive email.

"...it is in fact how we work together that is the main thing and how we handle stuff like this."

The party co-leaders are being sent messages from Mr Harawira's supporters and Treaty lawyer and Auckland University Law School professor David Williams was among those, The New Zealand Herald reported.

He said Mr Harawira was the person the party chose in 2005 and 2008 and he had done extremely well on a range of issues important to Maori and Pakeha.

"Give Hone Harawira his voice back as a Maori Party MP and let him speak what needs to be spoken."

The Tamaki Makaurau branch of the party is also supporting Mr Harawira, who has the support of his own electorate branch. Tamaki Makaurau chairman Eru Thompson told the Herald the electorate committee and party members met Dr Sharples on Wednesday to express support.

The party's national council will decide what to do with Mr Harawira at the end of the fortnight if he refuses to resign.

Mr Thompson said he was writing to party president Whatarangi Winiata to ask for a delay while Mr Harawira continues to talk to his iwi and elders.

NZPA

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