A word on Hone

Hone Harawira, the firebrand MP who abandoned the Maori Party because of its cooperation with the National Party, is seeking to lead his own party through its second general election. Secure in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate he is turning his popular appeal as a fringe down-in-the-dirt activist on the wider country. 

Of his chief strengths, Hone’s affability is among the more impressive. He encompasses all that is right – and indeed all that is wrong – about the old political dictum that “he’s someone you can have a beer with.”  This may in fact be his greatest asset, and one not every parliamentarian can claim. Steven Joyce is perhaps the highest ranking Nat who could come close, and the Prime Minister would no doubt embarrass you straight away by bringing out the most expensive craft brew. Looking at politics through this lens is perhaps too reductive, but it goes some way to explaining the diminutive nature of media coverage.

Harawira has gone to great lengths to show that he is a man of principle, splitting from the Maori Party is proof of that. But in highlighting his overall goal – removing the Key-led government – and making it plain that he will do almost anything to achieve this end, the double edged sword of his principle may return to smite him. His statements regarding Kim Dotcom and the possibility of an alliance paint him as something of a Faustian figure. And he would do well to remain cautious over Dotcom, as this particular devil has proved much more than the government bargained for when they approved raids on his Coatsville mansion. 

I am also concerned by the negative and shallow emergence of the anti-John Key political opposition. I am concerned because this alliance of parties may be successful, but they have no substantial plan for what comes next. If a conglomeration of parties tacks themselves together to deny Key the numbers to govern, I am not convinced that such a rabble could produce good government. The reason for standing in an election should be to build something, to construct a stable future for New Zealand. It should not be to get rid of someone. 

Hone so far has been a divider, someone who deconstructs the political system, and attracts notice for his tenacity. I hope he turns his talents to building a better Aotearoa/New Zealand.


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