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Ae Marika: Serving His Own

Ae Marika!
Serving His Own

It seems some people are upset about my not being available to help people who aren’t from my electorate, based on an article they read in the New Zealand Herald. That’s unfortunate really because I set out my position quite clearly in the Age on 18 July and the Advocate on 21 July.

In simple terms, the argument is this. Apparently there are 10 general seats either totally or partially in my electorate which is the third biggest in the country (one of those general seats is less than one per cent the size of my electorate). And yet I get exactly the same Parliamentary support to do my job as the MPs in those other electorates do.

I chose to stand in the Tai Tokerau Maori Seat, and I was elected to serve the needs of my electorate, just as others were elected to serve the interests of their electorates. I regret that I cannot help everybody who wants a hand, but I am not so foolish as to think I can.

So I write back to people to explain my situation, and to ensure that they are referred to the MP elected to serve their needs. This is how the letter looks –

Kia ora ra,

Thank you for writing to ask for my assistance with your case.

As you may be aware, I am the Member of Parliament for the Tai Tokerau. It is the third biggest electorate in the country [some 4.4 million hectares] and covers totally or partially 10 general seats.

I receive requests for assistance from many, many people. Most are Maori, but some are non-Maori; some are from within my electorate and others from throughout the country.

Unfortunately however, although I have such a large area to cover (from Te Hapua in the north to Kelston in West Auckland), I get no more Parliamentary assistance than an MP with less than one per cent of the area my electorate covers.

That means that I have to be very selective about which cases I can give time to, and which ones I can't.

I have made a conscious decision to dedicate most of my time to my constituents for a number of reasons, but primarily because I choose not to try to be all things to all people all of the time.

In your situation, I have checked the Tai Tokerau Maori electoral roll, and I see that your name is not on it. Unfortunately therefore I am unable to help you. I have however, included the details of your MP for your assistance, and I have forwarded a copy of your letter on to them.

I wish you well with your request.

Hone P Harawira
MP for Te Tai Tokerau


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