Hone: I don't blame Kim
Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira told TV One’s Q+A programme that he does not blame Kim Dotcom for costing him his job.
On September 20, Mr Harawira lost Te Tai Tokerau, the seat he had held since 2005, first for the Maori Party then Mana. And despite Kim Dotcom seeing a 7.8% party vote in a dream, the actual final list vote for Internet Mana was 1.42%.
When asked if he will stand again in 2017, Mr Harawira said "absolutely".
Hone Harawira says the Internet Party alliance ‘was a risk worth taking’.
"I think that if we'd been successful in what we were aiming for and bringing myself, Laila [Harre], Annette [Sykes] and John [Minto]. I think we could have done wonderful things in Parliament for those who don’t have a voice, you know for the families that are struggling, you know to try to highlight some of the issues that just get ignored in the drive for the pursuit of wealth for the few, rather than improving the lot of the great majority of New Zealanders at the moment who are really struggling."
Mr Harawira says Internet Mana has a six-week review clause, "and at that time we'll get together and have a talk about where we go to from here."
He says in hindsight Kim Dotcom’s presence during the campaign could have been managed better.
"There's a whole lot of things that could have been done better, but I'm comfortable with the risk we took was a risk worth taking to try to grow the audience, to try to grow our numbers. We weren't successful but would I do it again? In large part, absolutely," he says.
RAW DATA: TVNZ/Q+A transcript: Michael Parkin inteviews Hone Harawira
SUSAN WOOD So the special votes have now been counted and in a fiercely contested Maori seat of Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis confirmed as MP with a majority of 1,119 over his rival Hone Harawira, Leader of the Mana Movement. Hone Harawira is with Michael.
MICHAEL PARKIN: Welcome Hone.
HONE HARAWIRA – Mana Movement Leader: Kia ora Michael.
MICHAEL Do you regret doing this deal with Kim Dotcom?
HONE No I don’t think I do.
MICHAEL You don’t think you do?
HONE No no, you know we have 260,000 kids living in poverty in this country. We've got more than 30,000 families that are homeless, more than 25% of Maori youth are on the dole. There needed to be something to help Mana to broaden our kaupapa and to try to get more MPs into the House.
MICHAEL But you're not there now to …
HONE Sure, but I mean was it a risk worth taking? Absolutely it was because even now that I'm out of Parliament I've received hundreds, probably more than a thousand emails, text, phone calls, really regretting the fact that I'm not in there, including from National Party supporters. I think genuinely there needs to be a voice for the poor and the dispossessed in the House and I think that was Mana's role and will be Mana's role in the future.
MICHAEL Would you have won your seat, Te Tai Tokerau, if you hadn’t have done that deal with Kim?
HONE One of the strange things about that is I didn’t really want to just go back in by myself again. The aim was to try to broaden the kaupapa and to increase the number of MPs. In fact I'd made a statement to the Mana membership as far back as our AGM. If I went back in and it was just me, then I probably would have resigned because it's a tough enough job doing it just by yourself.
MICHAEL So you would have quite this term anyway if you were by yourself?
HONE Oh no, I think I would have seen the term out and tried to build it in other ways over the next term.
MICHAEL So you were trying to build a legacy here, you wanted to get Annette in presumably to take over the party.
HONE I think that if we'd been successful in what we were aiming for and bringing myself, Laila, Annette and John, I think we could have done wonderful things in Parliament for those who don’t have a voice, you know for the families that are struggling, you know to try to highlight some of the issues that just get ignored in the drive for the pursuit of wealth for the few, rather than improving the lot of the great majority of New Zealanders at the moment who are really struggling.
MICHAEL Have you talked Kim Dotcom since election night?
MICHAEL And what have you had to say? What's he had to say to you? Because he used that ‘poison’ comment on election night.
HONE Yeah yeah, we've had a really good discussion, a really open discussion about where we think things could have been managed better. I also had lunch with Laila that same day. So we've really just opened the doors for where things might be going to from here. There's no point in just wallowing in blame.
MICHAEL And so where are they going? Is Internet Mana done?
HONE Look I really really appreciated working with Laila, she's an impressive person and a wonderful leader in her own right. Now I've had a good korero with her since the election. Her and the Internet Party are working through a number of things, and I'll leave them to do that. We have a six week review clause, and at that time we'll get together and have a talk about where we go to from here.
MICHAEL There's no point in you carrying on in that alliance though is there, because the people have overwhelmingly rejected it haven't they?
HONE Well I think there was the issue of Kim's involvement in the campaign on an ongoing nature, which I don’t think helped.
MICHAEL Did you know he was going to be involved like that? Is that something you wanted because we saw that weed versus feed email, you were obviously angry about this, you know did you try and keep him sidelined?
HONE No actually Kim didn’t have anything to do with the weed versus feed. That was an issue which was raised more by the Internet Party staff than it was by Kim Dotcom. I just think that in hindsight his presence during the campaign could have been managed better but I certainly don’t blame him for the loss, and I think that the mainstream media went out of their way to persecute him, and we were persecuted by association. I also think…
MICHAEL But you must have known when you joined up with Kim Dotcom that it was going to be an instant point of attack for National, for its supporters, because he pitted himself against John Key. He made it a personal battle, so of course you were going to get caught up on that. You knew that going into it.
HONE And that’s why I say if we could have managed the relationship there in terms of when the 'moment of truth' was going to be raised it probably would have been better to have it raised a lot earlier, or perhaps after the campaign so that we could focus on the campaign. It would have been better if we had more strategic focus on the election itself, rather than on events. There's a whole lot of things that could have been done better, but I'm comfortable that the risk we took was a risk worth taking to try to grow the audience, to try to grow our numbers. We weren't successful but would I do it again? In large part, absolutely.
MICHAEL Do you blame Kim Dotcom costing you your job?
HONE No I don’t, no I don’t, not at all. In fact during our discussions we also talked about something that my wife and I, and some other teachers have talked about, about the possibility of hosting Internet camps for like senior Maori students in communities all around the north for a start, and then around the country if possible, and inviting Kim to come and speak to them and to their families, about using the internet to try to improve their own future and their community relationships going forward. So you know there's no point in crying over spilt milk, we've been there we've done that, we now need to focus on where we go to from here.
MICHAEL And so where do you go to from here? As Hone Harawira, do you carry on as Leader of Mana, does Mana continue? How do you raise money to do that if you decide to?
HONE We've actually had more than 20 meetings in the last two weeks, more than 1,000 maybe 1,500 people.
MICHAEL So it keeps going?
HONE Absolutely. One of things is you know people expected it to be a tearful and sombre farewell for Hone Harawira, it's turned into almost like a religious revival, people are really passionately saying, right we've got our leader back, we've got Annette back, and we've got Jordan back. Let's get on with the game of promoting the things that are important to our people.
MICHAEL So will you stand again in 2017?
HONE Unless this government is going to be good enough to take giant steps towards eliminating poverty and housing the homeless, I think there's going to be a need for a voice stridently pushing for those kinds of issues.
MICHAEL But will it be you?
HONE And yes it will be me.
MICHAEL So you will stand again in 2017?
HONE Absolutely Michael.
MICHAEL In terms of what Maori do, obviously we saw that the Mana Party and the Maori Party captured so much of the vote that it let Labour come through the middle. Don’t you need to look at some sort of merger now and mend those bridges?
HONE There are many kinds of political relationships that are there to be considered. In fact I've left the door open ever since I got in, for those relationships to be nurtured. Members of the Maori Party have come back and said look Hone we need to do this. It's definitely on the cards.
MICHAEL When could you do it?
HONE Well it's not about an immediate merger, it's about an understanding of what those options might be and when best to implement them, because if we'd stood together in a number of those seats we probably could have got about 4 or 5 of them if not 6.
MICHAEL Te Ururoa Flavell's obviously going to become Minister today,that could have been you couldn’t it?
HONE Oh look I don’t do this to be a Minister, I do this because the issues are important, because the people are important, and because somebody needs to drive the change. You can do that as a Minister and you can do that even if you're not a Minister. I think the Greens' ability to get houses insulated through a Labour Party government, or National Party government, is a clear example of what can be achieved without needing to be a Minister.
MICHAEL Oh well, hopefully we will see you again soon. Hone Harawira thank you very much.