25 Jan 2011

Party defends handling of Harawira dispute

9:21 am on 25 January 2011

The president of the Maori Party is rejecting criticism from its Te Tai Tokerau MP about the way it has handled a complaint about him.

Hone Harawira says the complaint process has been inconsistent with kaupapa Maori and natural justice.

A special disciplinary hui is being held on Thursday to resolve the complaint over an article written by Mr Harawira criticising the Maori Party's support for the Government, and its backing of the Marine and Coastal Area Bill.

Maori Party's president Pem Bird told Morning Report the complaint has been dealt with fairly and has followed Maori protocol.

"It's been with Hone Harawira's Tai Tokerau electorate since last Wednesday," he said.

"The first step in the process of endeavouring to resolve the difference, the dispute, is at that level - and if that's not Maori, what is?"

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has said Mr Harawira's membership is up to the party to decide and there is a process it must go through.