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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, April 11, 2011

Harawira scrupulous about agreement

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says he has been scrupulous about sticking to his agreement not to stand candidates against the sitting Maori Party MPs.

Mr Harawira says as he has traveled the country gauging support for a new political party, lots of people have put up their hands to stand in Maori Party-held electorates.

He's made it clear that would breach the non-compete deal he made when he left the Maori Party ... but it hasn't stopped attempts to find someone to stand against him.

“Nobody wants to put their hand up so that’s disappointing for the party but it’s also embarrassing for the party that they’re trying to say Hone’s doing this and Hone’s doing that and clearly the Maori Party is chasing candidate to stand against me in Tai Tokerau,” Mr Harawira says.

TUPA WAKA SAGA EARNS CALLS OF “WHY NOT?”

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has slammed critics of the $2 million tupawaka for failing to appreciate its strategic value of the investment beyond the Rugby World Cup.

Labour MP Shane Jones has slammed the grant to Ngati Whatua o Orakei to build a canoe-shaped pavilion as an election year gift for constituents in Pita Sharples Tamaki Makaurau electorate.

But Mrs Turia says it's not a Maori Party venture.

“The really tragic thing is that Shane Jones, a highly intelligent man, has taken the opportunity to have a swipe at this waka, calling it a tapawaka or plastic waka, he’s really clever at all these one liners, but the fact is it does create an opportunity for us to showcase our businesses, our culture the world who will be coming to the Rugby World Cup and why not,” she says.

Mrs Turia says the tupa waka can be used for other events round New Zealand or around the world after the World Cup carnival.

TAME ITI PULLS OUT OF US LEG OF TEMPESTUOUS TOUR

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has used the NATO intervention in Libya to excuse himself from testing whether United States authorities would let him into their country.

Mr Iti, who is one of 18 people standing trial on arms charges stemming from police surveillance of activities in Te Urewera four years ago, has a role in choreographer Lemi Ponifasio's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

But he says he's withdrawn from the production's latest season, including a show at the Ivy league Dartmouth College, to protest United States backing for the bombing of Libyan strongman Muammar Gadafi's forces.

He has been replaced on the US leg of the tour by Charles Koroneho, a former member of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

SAMUELS RIPS PARTY FACTIONS OVER SHONKY LIST

Former Labour MP Dover Samuels says Labour's list moderating committee has handed National the election on a plate by packing the list with poorly-performing unionists and back room hacks.

The former Tai Tokerau MP says hard working Maori MPs like Shane Jones and Kelvin Davis and outstanding candidates like Northland's Lynette Stewart had been shunted down the list by people with no public appeal or vote-winning ability.

He says it's not the same party he and his whanau have a long association with.

“The focus and ethos of the Labour Party has shifted to something different to what our people believed in and were part of, working class people up to the middle New Zealander, just ordinary New Zealanders. I think what’s happening now is that the party has become so factionalised they have lost focus on who they really represent,” Mr Samuels says.

He says the factions than make up the modern Labour Party need to set aside their egos and work for the good of the whole party.

TAI TOKERAU CHOICE UP TO ELECTORATE

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has indicated she wouldn't be unhappy to see a Maori Party candidate take on Hone Harawira in Tai Tokerau.

She says people in the north have approached her to say they believe the now-independent MP is plotting to break his agreement not to stand candidates against his former colleagues if he forms a new party.

Mrs Turia says the electorate has the final say.

“Hone told us, the party and our caucus, that the whole of Tai Tokerau supported him and was behind him when he put the suggestion to us that we don’t stand against him so as far as we’re concerned it is up to Tai Tokerau,” she says.

Hone Harawira denies he plans to break the no-compete deal.

GREENPACE SWAYED BY COASTAL CULTURE

Greenpeace climate change campaigner Steve Abel says the living culture of Maori on the East Coast is something worth fighting for.

Brazilian oil company Petrobras was yesterday forced to suspend its seabed survey of the Raukumara basin off east Cape when Greenpeace protesters swam in front of its ship.

Mr Abel says his team is fired up after being invited to the area by Te Whanau a Apanui and seeing how the east Coast iwi lives the kind of environmental awareness his organisation promotes.

Greenpeace has a long history of opposing deep sea oil drilling around the world.

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