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Hone Harawira Interviewed by Rachel Smalley

Q + A Episode 3: Hone Harawira Interviewed by Rachel Smalley

RACHEL Hone Harawira is with us in the studio. Good morning Mr Harawira, thank you for joining us. Do you have an affinity with Mr Dotcom?

HONE HARAWIRA – Mana Party Leader

I certainly have an affinity with some of the things he talks about the internet, you know greater access, lower cost, about putting a stop to the Five
Eyes Network, and stopping mass surveillance. He's got a good sense
of humour, I like that in him.

RACHEL He says you're both anti-establishment. Is that where it stops? You know that’s the common ground.

HONEThat’s partly it, but when he talks about you know greater access to the
internet, I've talked to some of the kids up home, young Maori kids, and they all said that they're into that sort of thing, and I thought to myself you know I've gotta talk to this guy, can't just ignore him because the mainstream media's saying don’t talk to him, he's a crook, he's been in trouble with the law. Well I mean who am I to criticise someone who's been in trouble with the law?

RACHEL When you spoke with him did you get the feeling he was genuine?

HONEAgain our time together wasn't long enough to determine whether he thought
I was genuine or whether I thought he was genuine, but enough commonality to think that it's worth taking these discussions further.

RACHEL Cos have you considered the fact that you could be a bit of a pawn here, that he might be playing you. There's a lot for him to gain, if you can help him get into a left leaning coalition government then he could potentially you know change the laws, he could avoid extradition. Is he playing you?

HONEAt the moment there are three parties that want to change the government.
That’s Mana, the Greens and Labour, and when I challenged Dotcom on it, he added his party to that. So as a result of the discussions we've had, he's been added to the list of those wanting to change the government. The question is who's playing who. I'm comfortable about where Mana sit, I'm comfortable with the focus that Mana has on feeding kids, on getting housing for people who don’t have housing, and jobs for everybody who's able to work. If he can add value to that by bringing in ideas about a high tech economy and greater access to the internet for lower cost and reducing mass surveillance on New Zealand citizens, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be working with him.

RACHEL How closely then do you want to work with him? How would you see that?

HONEI leave that up to the brainier types who've been involved in setting up the alliance, but we'd have to be very careful about ensuring that Mana's policies are not compromised at all. And up until now it's been really clear, we've said you’ve gotta move away from National. He's been clear on that. Some of the things you asked him about there today about a whole range of other things, are things that Mana also believes in, and so the question is what is he saying that would be a problem for RACHEL There are those who will say you're selling out, because although you talk about the affinity you have in terms of the internet, in the Far North, you know the people you champion, they need a lot more than a fast internet connection.

HONE So these people who say I'm selling out, what am I selling out?

Rachel The ideology maybe

HONE What's the ideology? Seriously.

RACHEL Well that’s it, we don’t know Dotcom do we. Is he left? Is he right?

RACHEL He wants to deregulate, you don’t want to do that.

HONE We do know with Mana and what Mana wants is not being compromised by
what he's proposing. When you ask a man a one line question and he gives you a short yes or no answer, that doesn’t give you any depth.

RACHEL Decriminalise marijuana you would oppose that.

HONEThat’s a personal position I've taken, it's not a position that Mana's taken, but it's a personal position I've taken. And I take it because I'm not one of those like liberals for whom that sort of thing is cool. I see how marijuana leads to dead eyes in some of the kids that we have to teach. I see how it leads to dead eyes in the families that I've gotta go and talk to because my wife who's a Principal makes me go and see some of these families. I see the problems, and so when people talk about decriminalisation at that level, I think to myself it's not actually one of the major priorities in my life. Feeding the children is more important than decriminalisation of marijuana.

RACHEL Do you trust Kim Dotcom?

HONE Do I trust David Cunliffe, do I trust Russel Norman, do I trust many other
people in politics? You’ve always gotta hedge your bets on those sorts of things.

RACHEL But you'd be working closely with Kim Dotcom, he's the man you need to trust.

HONE This is all about – politics is all about what's possible.

RACHEL And it's about trust.

HONE Up to a point, up to a point. It's the reason why we laid out our conditions. 1) Move away from National. 2) Lay out your policies, if there's similarity then we might get into further discussions. 3) Clarify your membership base, and that’s yet to be done. 4) Name your candidates. Now those
sorts of things have to be cleared up before there's going to be any form of commitment.

RACHEL Well he says he's signed up a sitting MP do you know who it is?

HONE No of course I don’t know who it is.

RACHEL Really?

HONEAbsolutely I don’t.

RACHEL Is it you?

HONE No it's not me. No, I mean my discussions with Dotcom are out there and
open, there's nothing secret.

RACHEL Have you asked him who that sitting member is?

RACHEL You need to know who it is don’t you if you're gonna work with him?

HONE Honestly, there are going to be conditions on any further discussions between Mana and Dotcom party. One of them is going to be no surprises on who your candidates are going to be, we want to know. We want to know early. We're not waiting till June.

RACHEL We're not waiting, so what are we talking here? So you need to come clean pretty quickly.

HONE Well a few things. He's clarified the issue about National. We need to know what his policies are going to be. We need to know who his candidates are going to be, and we want to know who the sitting MP is gonna be. We're not gonna be surprised. We don’t want to be surprised after June by saying actually it's Peter Dunne in which case – pull the plug.

RACHEL Might be David Shearer.

HONEMight be David Shearer, I mean he's got a seat. He's clearly opposed to National, he'd like to see a change of government. I quite like David Shearer myself, that wouldn’t be an issue.

RACHEL What's your gut feeling, do you think this is going to go ahead. Do you
think something's gonna happen with even Dotcom? Is that alliance going to work?

HONEI think the opportunity is there for us to have an alliance. What exactly that alliance might look like is gonna be very much dependent on what the Mana membership say when we have our AGM on the 12th of April down in Rotorua, and of course it's been very public. Not everybody in Mana is on the same wavelength as me, and that’s cool.

RACHEL Sue Bradford, Annette Sykes, you know say this could deunify your party.

HONE It could do if we don’t manage it well, and if we're not clear that these are our policies and we ain't gonna compromise them. If we start compromising on the principles of our policies then I would accept Mana is going to explode tomorrow. But if you're gonna compromise your strategy to achieve a greater principle which is more people in parliament, then I think we're gonna win.

RACHEL Mr Hone Harawira, appreciate your time.


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