A column published in the Northland Age
By Hone Harawira
MP for Tai Tokerau
09 August 2011
On Saturday MANA held its inaugural AGM in Auckland. People came from all round the country, we had a great day and now we’re rolling on to the General Election in November as the free and independent voice for Maori, for workers and for the poor.
If the poor voted for MANA we would win half the seats in parliament. We aim to give them the voice they deserve.
MANA will represent a newer, more honest, and more principled way of doing politics.
We will promote policies that highlight the Treaty as the foundation of our nation, and the basis by which we can provide immediate relief to those in need and long term change that will return the power to ordinary working families.
We will not compromise on principle, and neither will we sit politely by while government's sell our nations assets, and price our people into poverty.
And we will promote candidates chosen for their unremitting fight for justice, their track record in advocating for Maori issues, and their leadership in the struggle for human rights.
MANA will contest all 7 Maori seats because Maori want us to. They have deserted the Maori Party for selling out to the parties of the rich, and they are flocking to the strong and independent leadership that MANA represents.
MANA will contest the General Seats, especially those in communities savaged by cuts in health, education and benefits, because even the poor deserve to have a champion in parliament. We have already fielded calls from our Pacific cousins, beneficiary advocates and people known and respected in their communities, and we intend investing serious time and energy into pushing our policies into poor areas.
MANA will also target the party vote through policies aimed at reducing prices, creating jobs, sharing the tax burden, and keeping our nations assets in the people’s hands. I have been genuinely humbled by the number of bright and talented people who have offered their support to MANA, but we have accepted the request from our electorates that they be given more time to complete the process by which they choose their candidates, to ensure that MANA goes into the election with the best possible team.
MANA’s list will reflect the people we represent. Some will be high-profile, but as a collective they will give MANA a real chance of attracting a good percentage of the party vote.
And MANA’s message will be simple: party vote MANA for real change; party vote MANA for an independent voice for Maori, for workers and for the poor.
We ratified our constitution, we’ve posted our draft policies on mana.net.nz, and we've reaffirmed our national leadership - myself as party leader, Matt McCarten as national president, and John Minto and Annette Sykes as co-vice presidents.
The energy at our AGM was awesome, and people have gone home pumped and ready to roll …