11 Nov 2009

Harawira 'sideshow' hasn't damaged relationship - Key

3:24 pm on 11 November 2009

The actions of Hone Harawira have not hurt the relationship between National and the Maori Party, says Prime Minister John Key.

The Maori Party MP has apologised for his "poor choice of words" in an expletive-littered email but did not back away from the sentiment expressed.

Hone Harawira said the email had been misunderstood as an attack on all Pakeha.

Mr Key says he is pleased an apology has been made, and he will leave it up to New Zealanders to judge the merits of that.

He says National's relationship is not with Mr Harawira, but with the co-leaders of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples.

Mr Key says it's time to move on from what he calls the "Hone Harawira sideshow".

Parliament's speaker, Lockwood Smith, is writing to Mr Harawira asking if he took leave from official duties, and if that is confirmed will be asking for repayment of some costs of the trip.

Backing in electorate

The chairman of the Mr Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau electorate committee, Rahuia Kapa, is still backing him.

Ms Kapa says people are happy with Mr Harawira as they know he did not lie about his Paris trip. She says he got the job done, even if it was done to a different time frame.

Ms Kapa says everyone will have a different interpretation of the material in the email.

A hui in Northland will be held on Thursday to discuss Mr Harawira's future.

Radio New Zealand's political staff say there is no sign the Maori Party will remove him from its ranks.

'Failed expectations'

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says there's no place in Parliament for an MP who has behaved as Hone Harawira has done.

As he was making his apology, Mr Harawira called for the Labour Party and its leader to be lined up and shot for passing the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Goff calls that a silly comment and says regardless of that remark, Mr Harawira has failed to live up to the expectations New Zealanders have of their parliamentarians.

Ngapuhi leader David Rankin says he's embarrassed by the Maori Party MP Hone Harawira's apology for a controversial email.

Despite the disgrace that's been caused, Mr Rankin says, he doesn't think the Maori Party will deal with Mr Harawira too harshly because of the appeal he has to people in Northland.