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September 15, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Hone Harawira talks about the Maori Party

This is an extract from the interview conducted by Tahu Wilson for the Te Ao Marama issue of Salient. We will be printing previously unpublished extracts of the interview over the next few weeks.

Tahu: About the Foreshore and Seabed Act… I just finished MAOR 124 which is Putaiao Maori – Maori Science Matauranga Maori. One of the things that came up in there about the foreshore and seabed was that since it was signed, the government has leased or sold or signed away 30+ beaches? Is that an accurate number?

Hone: I wouldn’t have a clue, you probably know more than me! Like, I have to say that, I’m not good at research. I’ve not read one Act since I’ve been in Parliament. I just don’t get into that side of things. I can tell just by a lot of the media commentary what a Bill’s about, so I don’t need to read it. [Rodney Hide once told me] “Here’s a tip. When an issue comes up, you follow it in the media. The papers and the TV and the radio, they hire people to read that stuff, and explain it. Right? All you gotta do is understand the line that that paper, or that reporter is taking, to understand most of the legislation.” And I found that to be a great help, to a point where with the Climate Change Bill, I don’t find it that hard to understand.” […] so I try to understand things at their most basic level, I try not to get too caught up in the details. Although, we’ve got a good researcher here, who provides us with as much information as we need, if we ask.

Tahu: Is that the whole Maori Party Research Unit?

Hone: Of one?

Tahu: Yeah. Is that dependent on how large the party representation is?

Hone: Yeah how large the party is; one person writes all of our speeches, or our drafts – I rewrite all of mine. We’ve got a person who does all our prep for our electorates. We’ve got a Researcher who does all the research, and we’ve got a Chief of Staff who’s responsible for keeping our relationship with other parties ticking over without going crash bang in the night and that kind of stuff.

T: How do you relate to the other MPs here? And they you?

Hone: I talk well to all of them. It’s not a personal thing. I get on well with pakehas in the Nats… and Labour, well, I try to get on well with all of the Maori MPs… in fact I do I think… except probably Winston, just don’t have anything to do with him. He always seems to be doing his own thing. So I don’t bother getting involved. He’s from up North too of course.

Tahu: Oh is he?

Hone: Mm.

Tahu: I never knew that, where he was from.

Hone: He’s from Ngati Wai, up north from Whangarei (Whananaki).


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