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Hone Harawira Statement On Leaving Maori Party

Hone Harawira, MP Tai Tokerau

Firstly let me say that the devastation caused to the people and the communities of Christchurch is rightly in the hearts and minds of all New Zealand citizens at this time, and I express my genuine grief and condolences for the pain that they face in Otautahi.

Secondly, I acknowledge that the scale of the destruction in Christchurch reminds us all of the value of life and the importance of whanau in all that we do, and it is from that standpoint that I make the following comments.

I am extremely disappointed at the decision of the Maori Party President, to release the recommendations of the Disputes Committee to the media before putting them before the National Council. His actions have undermined the credibility of the process, and the genuine attempts to reach a positive resolution to the current impasse, but in spite of all that, the framework for a positive future has been reached.

Following discussions yesterday with close advisors as well as with the leadership of the Maori Party, I can announce that it is my intention to continue to serve the Tai Tokerau as an independent MP, and that I will contest the 2011 elections as either an independent or as a member of a new political movement in Aotearoa.

It is also my intention to go back to my electorate and to supporters around the country over the next month to inform them of my intentions and to seek their support, because it is their energy and support that has sustained me in the past, and particularly during the difficulties of the past few weeks.

But I did not lead the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed March from Te Rerenga Wairua to Parliament that gave birth to the Maori Party, to see it destroyed by infighting 5 years later, and I understand the vital importance of putting the problems of the past few weeks behind us so that we can all move on.

I am also comfortable with the view that we have come to a point where we can all agree that it is best for me and the party to go our separate ways, and to focus on the issues that are crippling Maori people, and indeed Pasifika and Pakeha people living in poverty throughout this country.

I also agree that in the best interests of advancing our people’s future, we focus on the issues rather than the personalities, and that we not speak disparagingly of one another.

In terms of the election itself, I have advised the leadership of the party that it is not my intention to contest any of the other Maori seats in 2011, and I understand that the Maori Party has agreed not to stand a candidate against me in 2011 either.

I intend setting out a very clear policy programme around issues I intend to prioritise, but I have also advised the party leadership that I will make myself available to meet with the caucus to discuss issues of common concern.

In my absence I will pass my votes to the Maori Party to present in the house.

Details regarding office accommodation, resourcing and seating in the house will be worked out over the next few weeks, but it is my hope that they can be settled in a way that enables us all to move forward to the election in a positive manner.

My life before entering politics was one of constantly challenging myself and those around me to achieve positive change for Maori, and I am confident that there is a lot more that I have to contribute to the political makeup in this country.

I look forward to the next few months with optimism and renewed vigour, and with a focus on building a movement that acknowledges that what is good for Maori will also be good for Aotearoa.

I will not be answering any further questions on this matter at this time. The country’s focus and energy should rightly be on the needs of the families and communities of Christchurch.

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