5 Feb 2015

Harawira tips 'homeboy' Peters for Northland

5:14 pm on 5 February 2015

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is refusing to rule out standing in the Northland by-election - and former Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is backing him.

Winston Peters speaks to media after voting in Auckland.

Winston Peters - pictured here after voting in the general election in 2014. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The by-election, to be held on 28 March, was prompted by the sudden resignation of National MP Mike Sabin.

Mr Peters, who is at Waitangi, said Northland had been marginalised for 50 years and it was time the region had a voice.

He said running himself was a possibility.

"And I know more about this area than a whole lot of other pretenders, who would come out of left field and say they represent the north," he said.

"In my heart is to say these people desperately need a voice and someone's got to give a message to Wellington."

Mr Peters ruled out doing a deal with Labour so that party would not contest the seat.

Harawira: It's all yours, Winston

Also speaking at Waitangi today, former Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira said while he would not be standing, he did not rule out the Mana Party fielding a candidate.

Hone Harawira.

Hone Harawira Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

He said he had someone in mind but had not yet talked with that person.

Mr Harawira said if Mr Peters stood, he would have a very good chance in Northland.

"He's from here, he's a homeboy - why couldn't he take it.

"He makes his choices as to where he stands and why he stands but he's a Northland boy."

After a long history as a Maori activist, Mr Harawira came to Parliament as a Maori Party MP in 2005.

Rankled by his party's close association with the National Party, he eventually split from the Maori Party in 2011 to form his own political party, Mana.

In a surprise move, Mr Harawira and Mana teamed up with internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his fledgling political movement, the Internet Party, to contest the 2014 election.

The idea was for Mr Harawira to retain his Te Tai Tokerau seat, and for the Internet Party, which had no show of getting over the 5 percent threshold, to piggy back its way in Parliament.

That backfired, with Mr Harawira losing the seat by 743 votes to Labour's Kelvin Davis, resulting in both him and his party losing their place in Parliament.

Today he was coy on whether he would stand for Parliament again.

"The whole thing about whether I stand again...is there a Hone Harawira in Parliament right now? Is there a champion for the poor and the dispossessed?

"If that person surfaces within the next couple of years then there won't be a need for me to stand."

However, he could not see such a person appearing, he said.

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