Acts of extinguishment
Hone Harawira's first speech as an independent:"This racist piece of legislation" - sticking it right to his former caucus colleagues in the Maori Party. The party's response has been lock-step with the leadership and they are trying to cut off any dissent by ramming it through the House. "Hurry up" the unlikely headline from the compliant Tamaki Makaurau electorate where Pita must have a strong grip:It is the National Party wanting to shut the door as fast as they can before the Maori Party sheep bolt, but here is an electorate chair falling in with the spin lines from National about needing to ram it through. The same is not true of Waiariki electorate however:Laughable isn't it. The main point is we need more time - not less. The process is worse for rushing, we all know this.
Please note that this isn't from the electorate chair it is from Te Ururoa himself. Why? Because the electorate isn't behind him is the short answer and so he's had to put out a personal plea. Even though he claims the meetings were "consistent" he knows this is not the case and he conceded as much when he mentions the meeting I attended (that's his comments trying to dismiss my concerns because they were already given to the select committee) where the mood was very anti and very vocal in questioning many aspects of the bill. He gave an uninspired sales pitch and we received no satisfactory answers from him. He wasn't there to listen he was there to tell - tell us he was backing the Nats and their bill. Note that unlike Tamaki Makaurau there is no mention of resolutions of support - indeed at the meeting I attended it was quite clear any resolution of support would have failed and so none was put.
The sad thing in all this is that I and others are trying to be constructive, making offers of assistance on reworking the bill - even within the strictures of the bill the way it is - but we are being disuaded, rebuffed and criticised in favour of an all-in move by the Maori Party caucus to back National's version of which it is obvious they have had no credible input on the crucial issues. The changes from the 2004 Act might not exactly amount to nothing, but it is most certainly next to nothing.
What they are doing is shameful really - a betrayal of trust and throwing away a lot of hard-earned good will at the flax roots of the movement. Te Ururoa - for example - would rather reneg on a commitment to his own constituents than he would reneg on National. How will that bizarre choice of loyalty be rewarded come the general election?
The only one looking any good out of all of this is Hone. Yes, even if he misses votes.