Hone aggressive toward Mana-Maori non-aggression pact
Talks between the Maori and Mana parties about not standing in each other's seats at the general election haven't happened yet, but already appear dead in the water.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples this morning repeated his view that any deal not to stand in newly re-elected MP Hone Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau seat in November's general election was unlikely.
Mr Harawira reclaimed the seat in a by-election on Saturday.
When Mr Harawira left the Maori Party this year both sides agreed not to stand in each other's seats, but that deal fell over -- each blaming the other.
They went head-to-head in the by-election, with Mr Harawira winning with 5611 votes, on provisional results, to Labour's Kelvin Davis, 4744. Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene was a distant third on 1026.
Mr Harawira this morning told Radio New Zealand he wanted to meet Maori Party co-leaders to try hammer out a deal, but if it failed Mana would stand in other Maori electorates.
"If we have to go down that track let it be because they refused to play ball, they already have by standing against me in my electorate, and now Pita Sharples saying again yesterday saying they intend to stand against me again in the general election, so it's kind of difficult to be nice when the other guys keep kicking you in the nuts."
He would prefer not to stand in Maori Party-held seats, but warned high profile individuals were interested in standing in them for Mana.
Dr Sharples said Mr Harawira's ongoing attacks on the Maori Party and criticism for standing in Te Tai Tokerau were unhelpful.
"This kind of fencing he does for us doesn't make for good relations and if he's going to carry on in that vein we won't be having a bar of him," he told Radio New Zealand.
Personally, he could see no point in reinstating a deal on the seats, but said that wasn't a formal Maori Party position as of yet.
"We've got to meet and decide what to do," he said.
Yesterday he was more emphatic, saying the party was determined to win Te Tai Tokerau back.
When Mr Harawira won it for the Maori Party in 2008 he had a more than 6000 vote majority over Mr Davis.
Labour has taken heart from the relatively close result saying it places them well for other Maori seats in November's election.
Mr Harawira said given the amount of money and resources Labour put into Te Tai Tokerau without winning, he doubted they were right.
"I think this election said to the Labour Party 'hell if we can't win with all of the money we threw at that one we are in dire straits for the Maori seats in any future election'."
Mr Davis told the broadcaster Mr Harawira was overstating how much Labour put into the by-election and claims it spent up to $100,000 were "rubbish".
The Mana leader had campaigned saying constituents would get two MPs if they voted for him, as Mr Davis was already in Parliament. In a way that was true, Mr Davis said, as Mr Harawira would be focused on developing his new party, not helping the electorate.
"I will be doing his job up in the north while he's off gallivanting around New Zealand pumping himself up," he said.
"I will be the one attending the meetings and coming up with the solutions and ideas to improve employment in the north, doing all that stuff, while he's off skylarking around New Zealand."
Labour holds two of the seven seats, Hauraki-Waikato and Ikaroa-Rawhiti. The Maori Party has Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauauru, Te Tai Tonga and Waiariki.