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Patrick Gower interviews Hone Harawira and Laila Harre

Patrick Gower interviews Mana leader Hone Harawira and Internet Party leader Laila Harre

Patrick Gower: Welcome back. Internet Mana was formed with one goal in mind — that's to change the government. The polls suggest that's a tough road right now, and the alliance itself has been having some tough times with some internal divisions. So, good morning to you both, Hone Harawira and Laila Harre. I'll start with you, Hone Harawira. Where've you been?

Hone Harawira: I've been up north and really enjoying getting around to see as many people as possible. Been to Dargaville, been to Whangarei, been to Wellsford, to Te Hana, to Ruawai, to Te Kao, I've been to Ahipara, I've been to Kaitaia. It's the John Hore song.

And you've been on leave as well. That's right, isn't it?

Harawira: I took a bit of a break because of the accident. Just going hard out, hard out, hard out. Decided to take a couple of days, but still all in the north.

So you had a holiday up north?

Harawira: You don't get a holiday, even in the north, so I stayed home rather than go away to anywhere else.

But you must be the only leader who has taken leave during the election campaign.

Harawira: Oh, I think I needed a bit of a break. I'm really comfortable with the fact that I have a co-leader like Laila. She's really good at what she does. Annette Sykes, John Minto — you know, they're incredibly talented people. I'm not the sort of leader that needs to be out in the face of the public all of the time when I've got people like Laila alongside.

Laila Harre: And let's remember that Hone and the rest of our crew have travelled from the north of the North Island to the south of the South Island and back again well before other parties even began their election campaign. We've filled halls. In the north — unbelievable support for the notion of a new kind of politics and a new relationship.

Sure. Now, there's been talk of a rift. Is there a rift between you guys?

Harre: Absolutely not.

Harawira: No. Actually—

Harre: Do we look like we're rifting?

Harawira: Actually, I'm sitting over here because the cameraman made me sit over here. But there are no issues here.

Well, let's look at the policies, then, and let's start with decriminalising cannabis. Laila Harre, you want to decriminalise cannabis. Internet wants to decriminalise cannabis.

Harre: Internet Mana have to— The Internet Party and the Mana party have both had—

Yes, but—

Harre: Just let me explain this. Have both developed policies around drug law reform. We have enormous areas of common ground. Firstly, we are both committed to the legalisation of medical marijuana.

Yeah, sure. I know that. But if we come back to decriminalising, Internet wants to—

Harre: I'm getting there.

Internet wants to decriminalise cannabis, yes or no?

Harre: Yes, and—

Hone Harawira, do you want to decriminalise cannabis for personal use?

Harawira: Hang on, Paddy. Just getting back to what Laila was saying, Mana Movement has its own policy— way of doing things; so does the Internet Party.

Yeah, so just for the viewers and the voters, do you wanna decriminalise cannabis?

Harawira: I'm really comfortable with the way in which the Internet Party has developed their policies. I'm also comfortable with the way in which Mana has developed its policies, and I'm proud to represent Internet Mana's policy, which is very simple, which is to support the use of marijuana for medical purposes and also to call for a comprehensive review of all drug laws, in particular with respect to cannabis, to alcohol and to cigarettes.

OK, so you've got something you agree on, and— You've got something you agree on. That's great.

Harawira: And there are no issues there.

Harre: We also—

But what about decri—? Can I ask you, Hone Harawira, do you want to decriminalise personal use of cannabis, yes or no? It's really simple.

Harawira: Well, I'll give you a real simple answer, shall I?

Yes or no? You wanna decriminalise, yes or no?

Harawira: Taihoa. Taihoa, Paddy. You're asking me as the leader of the Internet Mana Movement, and I can tell you quite openly that our position is a simple one. We support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and we're calling for a complete review of all of the drug laws in respect of cannabis, tobacco and alcohol, because they are entirely irrational and inconsistent. We have one, tobacco, which is killing more than 5000 New Zealanders every single year. You can walk out of here and buy it in a shop. You have another one, which we don't know—

You haven't answered the question, Hone.

Harawira: ...which we don't know the harm that is being caused, and we're spending more than $100 million every single year trying to police it. We could be feeding all of the kids in decile 1 to decile 4 schools for that money.

So, can you just answer the question? Do you support decriminalising cannabis for personal use or not?

Harawira: I don't, personally, but—

And what about Mana? As leader of Mana, does Mana—?

Harawira: Mana is still working through all of those issues. At this stage, our position is—

Because here's the—

Harawira: Taihoa. You've just asked a question. Our position as Mana is to support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Cos here's the Internet Party's policy. They want to immediately decriminalise personalised use. They wanna develop a model for regulating the legal production and distribution of cannabis for personal use. They wanna enable the taxation. This is right, isn't it, Laila?

Harre: Yes.

They are talking about selling dak on the main street of Kaitaia, Hone Harawira. Do you want to support that?

Harre: Well, no, we're not, and that's a complete misrepresentation of the Internet Party's policy.

Regulating the legal production and distribution of cannabis.

Harre: Just let me explain our policy. So, the common— Can I? I mean, this is an issue that people are really interested in. The point of departure for both the Internet Party and the Mana Movement, in terms of personal use, is that we all want to see a shifting of the policing of marijuana and cannabis use from the criminal justice system to the health system. We have defined that as requiring the decriminalisation of personal use as a first step. In terms of development of a model for the future regulation of cannabis sale or production, to take it right out of the black market, away from the criminal element, we have said we need to develop a model that is not like the model that was developed for synthetic cannabis and legal highs, where you did see queues outside dairies in local communities like Kaikohe to purchase synthetic cannabis. Now, that's the legacy of the National Party, of Peter Dunne, on drug law reform. We reject that as a model.

But you would still allow retail as a reform?

Harre: What the Internet Party wants to do is to develop a model for the proper regulation of cannabis production and distribution which would enable its taxation. That will need a lot of community engagement and including engagement with our partners in Mana.

OK, we've run out of time. Hone Harawira and Laila Harre, thank you for your time today.

Thank you.


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