He can deliver the worst of lines, and the best of lines. After delivering a stonkingly good speech decrying Jim Neanderton's nonsensical legislation banning party pills (and it's well worth reading the speech in full), Hone Harawira then "warned other parties to tone down their rhetoric on abolishing the Maori seats, in case they compromised any potential post-election arrangements." In other words, any coalition deal stitched together between Hone and John Boy come December will involve the retention of parliamentary seats based on race, and another policy flip-flop from the by now double-jointed Flip Flop Boy.
So much for One Law For All -- and just one more reason that National is not the answer.
Hone's 'reasoning' justifying retaining the seats he intends will be his party's sinecure is itself as venal as it is historically inaccurate. "It took us 150 years for our voice to be heard in the halls of power," says Hone, "and our people won't stand for anyone trying to take it away again."
150 years!? Really? Has he never heard of Apirana Ngata, deputy prime minister in the twenties, or his colleagues James Carroll, Peter Buck or Maui Pomare -- some of the finest men of any race to grace NZ's parliament? His is knowledge of history really that bad? Or perhaps when he says "our people" has he for once forgone talking about race, and instead perhaps referring to that group of people who like to make their fortunes by mooching off the honest industry of others. In that respect, those voices have been in parliament for almost all of 150 years, and counting.
But perhaps it's neither ignorance nor another cry for paternalism, since the representatives of the Maori Party have never been backward in rewriting history, have they.