Hone Harawira wins his by-election:
Mr Harawira was defiant in victory tonight, attacking the Maori Party and telling his supporters that his Mana Party and the Maori Party he left would be reunited one day, once co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples retired.
Harawira said he would be ringing Dr Sharples but he was “hugely pissed off” with his former colleagues.
Originally I predicted a Kelvin Davis win but I changed my mind last weekend after watching the Marae debate. Every time I’d seen Harawira on TV in the past he’d was in adversarial mode – he’d said something offensive or done something dumb and was on TV to defend himself – but the debate showed a different side: charming, very quick-witted, disingenuous. Labour’s Kelvin Davis was completely outclassed.
It was a pretty narrow margin off a low turnout, but Labour won’t be able to throw the same resources at it in the General Election. The big question is whether Mana will try and take the rest of the Maori seats or whether they’ll reach a non-aggression pact with the Maori Party. This latter option doesn’t sound too likely:
Hone Harawira told supporters yesterday that Mana would eventually take over the Maori Party, following yesterday’s Te Tai Tokerau by-election.
Harawira thanked his supporters and said he would call Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples as promised, but was “hugely pissed off” with them.
“They shit all over [the people of the North] when they got rid of me and then they got someone else [Solomon Tipene] and they shit all over him,” he said.
The Maori Party would have to pay the price further down the track, he said. “We, the people, deserve better.”
Sharples and Turia would have to retire soon, he said, and Mana would be there to take over.
“We will take over that party, we will bring it back together as Mana Maori and if ever I dare to step upon the people the way the Maori Party has stepped upon the Tai Tokerau, just slap me,” he said.