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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, May 02, 2011

Samuels slams MP’s by-election ploy

Former Te Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels says Hone Harawira has failed as an MP and failed the people of his electorate.

Mr Samuels says in his five and a half years in parliament, conditions have gone backwards for Maori in the north.

He says an unnecessary by-election and the formation of a new leftist party won't improve things for a single constituent.

“There may be some people that will follow you, the blind leading the blind, but it is total hypocrisy to say you care for the poor and you are going to do something about it by taking one or two radicals in to the parliament. It just doesn’t make sense and it’s not being truthful about the capacity of Hone and his party to be able to deliver. If he had, he would have done it with the Maori Party,” Mr Samuels says.

He says Hone Harawira hasn't displayed the skills of negotiation and consensus-building that allow politicians to change things, even from outside government.


A Nga Puhi tourism venture has won an international tourism award for something its managing director says is part of the lifestyle of people in the north.

Taiamai Tours won National Geographic's 2011 Tour of a Lifetime award for a Maori Celebration Tour which involved about 30 overseas visitors in hapu activities in the days leading up to Waitangi Day.

The tourists then joined them on the waka in the Waitangi regatta.

Hone Mihaka says the tour was entered for the award by an American tourism wholesaler, where it was rates one of the 50 top tours of a lifetime.

Taiamai Tours also offers opportunities for rangatahi to crew the eight waka used for some of the tours.


Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the contribution of educator and broadcaster Jim Perry cannot be under-rated.

The Malaya campaign veteran from Ngati Porou was buried in the soldiers' section of the Manukau memorial cemetery today.

Dr Sharples says Mr Perry was a familiar figure through his work in the Auckland Maori community, as a teacher and principal, and through his talkback on Aotearoa Radio and Waatea.

“He was very open about his views. When he didn’t agree with me he told me in no uncertain terms. His contribution can’t be underrated,” Dr Sharples says.


The Labour caucus will decide tomorrow whether to stand a candidate in Te Tai Tokerau if Hone Harawira resigns and forces a by-election.

List MP Kelvin Davis, who took only one booth in losing to the then-Maori Party MP last election by 6308 votes last election, is the likely candidate.

But fellow list MP Shane Jones says party leader Phil Goff will have the final say.

“It's an expensive process to go through. We’ve got two elections in the north it would appear, virtually running one to another. Is it a publicity stunt? Well politics is all publicity. Unless you can maintain profile and relevance then the voters drift away from you. Primarily I think what Hone is up to is to use it as a chance to brand his party,” Mr Jones says.

The Maori Party is also still considering whether to stand, although it has committed itself to rebuilding its branches in the electorate.


Meanwhile, Te Roopu Mana leader Hone Harawira says he will make nothing financially by forcing a by-election in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

The cost of the contest is estimated at between $500,000 and $1 million, even if no one else stands against him.

Mr Harawira says it will actually cost him money, as he becomes unemployed as soon as he resigns.

He says nobody objected when Labour MP Winnie Laban forced a by-election by abandoning the Mana electorate to pursue a new career, but a different standard seems to be applied to democracy in Maori electorates.


The director of the Rotorua Museum says it's fitting a new extension which will house taonga Maori is named after a Pakeha.

Visitors to the museum yesterday were given a tour of the $22 million Don Stafford Wing, which opens in August with a major show of Te Arawa artifacts on loan from Te Papa, Auckland Museum and the Royal family's collection in London.

Greg McManus says the late historian earned a position of respect for his tireless work documenting the region's stories, and as a Pakeha he was brought up surrounded by Te Arawa whose story he eventually told.

Now the main construction is complete the interior fit-out can start.


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