“30 pieces” Harawira faces up to life without a taxpayer trough

Voters in Te Tai Tokerau are starting to reflect on Hone’s future

Hine Te Waipuna Popata, a kaiako at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Pukemiro in Kaitaia, was saddened to see Mr Harawira lose but believed he could still be effective outside of Parliament.

She said Mr Harawira had helped to establish a kai programme at the school, which has a roll of 120 pupils.

Ritihia Kereopa, who was at the alcohol-free, child-friendly party for Mr Harawira on election night, said his loss “still hasn’t sunk in yet”.

“If anything it’s a dull feeling because we would always see Papa Hone on TV and always expected him to stay there. But we know Papa Hone, he’s brave and he fights those issues that are hard issues, that’s why I admire him.”

There is no doubt that he has been a staunch advocate for far north constituents. ?Where it’s come unstuck is that Te Tai Tokerau is a little more than Kaitaia and environs. ?

Te Rarawa leader Haami Piripi suspected Mr Harawira had been outshone by Kim Dotcom and people were becoming increasingly concerned for outcomes.

“In nine years there really wasn’t much to show. What pieces of legislation has he been responsible for? It’s hard to promulgate legislation or achieve a policy breakthrough when you’re a one-man band.”

Mr Piripi said there wasn’t so much a backlash against Mr Harawira as a lack of surety and understanding about the things he was advocating.

“You’d listen to Laila Harre and you could tell she knew nothing about us. Our old people went and fought world wars and here we are about to put this German fella into Parliament and he is already suspect – a lot of people saw that straight away.”

Mr Harawira earlier posted a statement on the Mana Party’s Facebook page saying had the left won, the Mana Party’s Feed the Kids Bill would have been passed at the first sitting of the new Parliament.

He said Mana’s aims to end child poverty, create a living wage, promote jobs and build more state houses “are all still desperately needed”.

Apart from having a private members bill drawn, Harawira’s chances for meaningful change through parliament were always going to be close to zero. ? He can continue to be a strong advocate for his people without the benefits of a parliamentary “party leader” salary, support staff and unlimited free travel.

He’s been well compensated by Kim Dotcom for taking the risk. ?There’s enough money there to last 3 years when he can test the electorate against Davis to see if he’s been forgiven.

Maori outside of Te Tai Tokerau don’t give him much respect. ?Hawke’s Bay Kaumatua have dubbed him “30 pieces”, as he sold his people out for mere money. ? Of course, Hone expected to do both – take the stupid German’s cash as well as serve his people.

If he is genuine about feeding children, finding homes and addressing the economic challenges in the far north, he’s never been in a better position to truly give of himself.


– James Ihaka, NZ Herald