- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hone Harawira - swearing in out [UPDATE +video]

@2:06pm. Just tuned into parliament. The Speaker is saying Hone Harawira didn't take the oath/affirmation in the right way and so he has to come back next sitting day to do it. Wha..? Missed it! What happened?

Hone may have tried to insert a Treaty clause or something...? Dunne mentioned that the public gallery interrupted the House.

Russel Norman seeks leave for Hone to take the oath again. Objections (from National benches I think).

Speaker said he regrets interrupting a waiata. Says "abuse of law" not tolerated. Mallard went on about rule of law too, so what was the problem?
UPDATE @2:20pm. From the twitfeed:So, Hone was doing something before the swearing in that irked the Speaker. Looking forward to seeing the tape. It will be all over the TV news tonight. No doubt the TV reports will equate this with Hone missing the Foreshore and Seabed vote to paint a picture of incompetence - that angle would not surprise me from them as they focus on the antics rather than substance and the actual debate.

I'm making these comments without the benefit of having seen what happened, so I'm not sure whether the pre-oath stuff was either in or out of order or to what extent it may have been appropriate or inappropriate, but what I can say is that by the Speaker putting it off "to the next sitting day" means all his supporters who had made the trip to Wellington will now have to wait for 2 August (according to my parliamentary sitting days calendar) to do it again - a huge wrench given the distance from the Far North. Also this means another three weeks without a vote, staff or resourcing for the Mana Party.

This is a serious problem. With the Nats not prepared to let Hone take the oath and with the Speaker not prepared to change his ruling then Hone and Mana are frozen out of parliament.


Can this be sorted by the end of business today? Depriving an electorate of their representative because of some etiquette or protocol dispute or mishap seems both anti-democratic and petty. The Speaker will face a backlash for this. But - as I say - I haven't seen the incident yet and don't know what offence Hone committed that was so outrageous and contrary to the spirit of the House and representative democracy that the Speaker had to do what he did.
UPDATE @2:55pm: From Stuff:

LATEST: There were dramatic scenes in Parliament today as Speaker Lockwood Smith refused to swear in new Mana Party leader Hone Harawira after he would not deliver his affirmation as dictated by law.

The former Maori Party MP was to be sworn in as MP for Te Tai Tokerau.

As Harawira left the debating chamber, supporters sung from the public galleries in defiance of Smith's ruling for them to cease.

Harawira had earlier sought to speak in Maori after approaching the Speaker to take the oath.

Smith interrupted him and informed him he must leave the Chamber and "return on a sitting day when he is determined to make the affirmation according to the law of this land".

There were calls of "shame" and "no respect" as Harawira left.

The Speaker informed MPs that he had advised Harawira prior to his affirmation that the law of New Zealand required the affirmation "to be [delivered] in a certain way".

An attempt was made by Labour MP Trevor Mallard to get leave from Parliament for Harawira to return and read the affirmation but other MPs objected.

UPDATE @3pm: Just seen the tape - Hone was in the middle of swearing in (in Te Reo) when the Speaker stopped him and ejected him. Lockwood said that he wasn't making the oath according to the format - he interrupted him and in just a very few words ordered him out saying he can return next sitting day. Almost like he had expected it. Like Lockwood had anticipated what would happen and what he was going to do.

Problem is Lockwood never offered him another chance or asked whether he would fast-forward to the prescribed text - there was no exchange as such. Like a set up where he would chuck him out if there was any deviation at all - that's my sense from what I've just seen on the 3pm TVNZ7 news update.

Here's the video:
UPDATE @5:50pm: So Bill English chimes in his own waiata of Hone-hating after he leaves saying it is a "privilege" to be sworn in. How odd, I thought these things were rights, like voting. It seems not to the Tories - it's still their club and they do things their way - not any other way and especially not Hone's way.

So Lockwood admits he set it up too - any deviation and he was going to order him to leave. Even a little flexibility was never going to be forthcoming. No conditions, qualifications or preface or any preamble whatsoever was going to be allowed - that's clear. Hone did what he could in the format. Swearing to the Treaty and his constituents was the start, but that's when the Speaker cut him off.

I'm not sure how to get around these parliamentary rules or to what extent confronting them and being sent out is in fact the point and the best form of protest to challenge the conventional allegiances, but one way of getting what he wants may be to ask the Speaker in the chamber before the oath if he can take the affirmation upon the Treaty. Answer: presumably yes - it doesn't matter what's in your hand at the time does it? So that would be a form of acknowledgment of the Treaty in the ceremony. A few short words before making the prescribed affirmation is a bit tricky. If it is not longer than the text of the oath itself and as long as its content doesn't nullify the prescribed oath, then you can argue it.

What Hone was doing was treated as constitutional affrontery by the Speaker and the National Party and yet it is probably along the lines of what MPs in the future parliamentary body will do.
UPDATE @6:11pm: TV One news on now: Hone a "troublemaker", he "refused to stick to the script". Te Ururoa i/v: he's unsupportive, reckons Hone made a choice to (very unsupportive from someone who tried on the same thing Hone did when he was being sworn in last time). It's a big cold shoulder from the Maori Party. The report says he will be paid though according to the election commission. That's TV One's take.

The Speaker said at the time that he could return "on a sitting day" - not next sitting day, a sitting day - which is today. Not sure this is helpful, unless they resume tonight and the Tories aren't arseholes. Maybe on the first, highly unlikely on the second.


At 14/7/11 3:41 pm, Blogger Phoebe Fletcher said...

Just dreadful really, so petty.

At 14/7/11 4:34 pm, Blogger Wiseacre said...

Excellent write-up about this at No Right Turn.


At 14/7/11 4:39 pm, Blogger CrownRetro said...

The oath to Queen & Flag does not abide Te Reo Maori.

Our Parliament is like a nest of emperial skeksis, and Hone is the heroic gelfling, lol. Dunno why I'm joking about this, strip the layers there's something hideous about NZ rule.

At 14/7/11 4:40 pm, Blogger Joseph said...


At 14/7/11 5:00 pm, Blogger cynicboy said...

Good on Lockwood Smith, the guy is a waste of space!


Post a Comment

<< Home