21 Jul 2016

Hone will 'tear them apart' - Labour

7:11 am on 21 July 2016

Potential co-operation between Mana and the Māori Party is being welcomed by Labour's Kelvin Davis, who believes Hone Harawira will tear Māori Party apart.

The Māori Party and the Mana Movement have signalled they are considering a partnership of sorts at next year's general election as they look to win the Māori seats from Labour.

New Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira this morning met face to face to talk about a potential political alliance.

New Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira meet to talk about their potential political alliance. Photo: Supplied

Mana leader Hone Harawira yesterday met with the new president of the Māori Party, Tukoroirangi Morgan, in Whangarei as they began putting a five-year rift behind them.

Mr Harawira said he was open to working more strategically with the Māori Party - whether it be electoral deals or on policy.

"My mind was always open to some kind of an arrangement, whether it's a formal merger, an alliance, or some kind of memorandum of understanding that's yet to be decided," Mr Harawira said.

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell was a little more circumspect.

"No-one's talking alliances at the moment," Mr Flavell said.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell

Five years ago Hone Harawira walked away from the Māori Party after a spat with co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell (pictured). Photo: Leigh Marama McLachlan

"No-one's talking anything else other-than just simply seeing whether we can work together in terms of some policy platforms into the future, and maybe into the election, because the goal of course is to secure those Māori seats."

Five years ago, Mr Harawira walked away from the Māori Party after a spat between him and Mr Flavell - but Mr Flavell said politics was a strange game.

"It changes from year to year... we have to be able to respond to changes in the political arena.

"From at least our president's point of view, I think, there's been an opportunity for a new line to open the doors of discussion, nothing more nothing less, whether anything comes of it into the future will still have to be seen."

Labour Party MP Kelvin Davis said he was delighted at the prospect of a merger or alliance between Mana and the Māori Party.

He said it would be the last move the Māori Party made.

"I think the sooner Hone joins up with the Māori Party the sooner he'll tear them apart, and it can only be a good thing for us.

"He's got a history of going in and just causing havoc and I can't see it being any different."

Mr Davis predicted a political train crash will play out in public.

Caucus run 21/07/15

Kelvin Davis said a potential merger between Mana and the Māori Party would 'tear them apart'. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

But Maria Bargh, head of Māori Studies at Victoria University, said greater co-operation between the two was a wise move.

"The Labour Party and the Greens have already indicated that they are going to be co-operating in certain kinds of ways, and those are the main competition in the Māori electorates which are vital for the Māori Party to win to continue on in Parliament."

She suspects the Māori Party and Mana will look to deals in key Māori electorates.

"And here we can think of Te Tai Tokerau obviously, and Waiariki and possibly even Ikaroa-Rāwhiti as the areas most likely for a compromise between the Māori Party and the Mana Party."

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