26 Jun 2011

Hone Harawira 'will set aside anger at Maori Party'

12:08 pm on 26 June 2011

Hone Harawira says he is still angry with the Maori Party after his victory in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election but will seek to work with the party's leaders.

Preliminary results put Mr Harawira on 5611 votes, a reduced majority of 867 over Labour Party candidate Kelvin Davis, while Solomon Tipene of the Maori Party was a distant third on 1026 votes.


Mr Harawira forced the by-election after resigning from the Maori Party, and launched his new Mana Party in May.

The MP says his former Maori Party colleagues tried to stop him campaigning, but his victory shows they were wrong.

"It says that the people of Te Tai Tokerau didn't like the way that the Maori Party treated me and also that they probably didn't like the way they treated Solomon.

"I am the beneficiary of that, but given that he took 10%, I could have lost because of the Maori Party."

Hone Harawira says he is still very angry at the party, but he will set aside those feelings and try to work with the co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia. When they retire he plans to make a Mana Maori Party, he says.

Maori Party co vice-president Ken Mair says he is disappointed by the result, but proud of the way Mr Tipene conducted himself against some formidable opponents.

He says the challenge for the party now is to rebuild and strengthen in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate ahead of November's general election, when he says "the real fight" will happen.

Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene says he feels he has his party's full support, but there are processes to go through before a candidate is finalised for the general election in November.

Strategy meeting

The Mana Party is holding a strategy meeting in Whangarei on Sunday to plan the next few weeks.

Mana Party chairman Matt McCartern says the meeting will discuss how the party will go about candidate selection and whether to stand candidates in the Maori electorates held by the Maori Party.

He says Mr Harawira will go to Parliament as the leader of a movement and will have a say on legislation.

Mr McCarten says Hone Harawira was seen as dangerous, and the other parties wanted to stop him at any cost - but says the seat is now impregnable.

Mr Harawira says he never feared he would lose, despite the size of the Labour Party machine and the "firepower" the Maori Party brought to bear.

Labour 'on the way back'

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says the by-election result in Te Tai Tokerau shows Labour is on its way back to winning the Maori seats.

The party's candidate Kelvin Davis was gained 4744 votes - 867 behind Mr Harawira whose majority was reduced from 6308 in the last election.

Mr Goff told supporters on Saturday that Mr Davis can win the seat at the general election in November, and the result has sent a message that Labour is on the way back in the Maori electorates.

Mr Harawira told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday that Labour won't be able to campaign as strongly against him in November's general election because it will have to focus on the rest of the country as well.

But Labour says the close result means the seat is now marginal, and it can win it.