14 Jul 2011

Speaker refuses to swear in Harawira

7:25 pm on 14 July 2011

The Speaker of the House has refused to swear Hone Harawira in as a Member of Parliament because he did not follow the rules.

The leader of the Mana Party began pledging his allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori while taking his oath at Parliament on Thursday afternoon.


Lockwood Smith ordered him to leave the Debating Chamber, telling Mr Harawira it was not the affirmation required by law and he could return on a day when he would follow Parliament's rules.

About 50 supporters of Mr Harawira in the public gallery then began singing a waiata, which was quickly shut down by Dr Smith.

Dr Smith told the House the decision was not taken lightly.

"There has been a tendency in recent times to abuse our law; it's not just a custom in this House, it is the law of this country. Hone Harawira was advised of the need to comply with the law. He chose not to."

Attempts by other MPs to get Mr Harawira an opportunity to be sworn in on Thursday were rejected by National Party MPs.

Outside Parliament, Mr Harawira said there was scope for the affirmation to proceed and that Dr Smith has allowed others to bend the rules.

"He chose not to allow it to happen, so that's something that perhaps he needs to think about. Particularly given that he has allowed numerous others to affirm in different ways in the past. So (there are) rules for some and rules for others."

The former Maori Party MP quit Parliament to force a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau which he won in June.

Mr Harawira says he will conform to the rules when Parliament next sits on 2 August.