27 Oct 2010

Harawira off select committee considering coastal bill

9:22 am on 27 October 2010

The Maori Party co-leader says he had no option but to take Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira off the Maori Affairs select committee while it considers the Marine and Coastal Area Takutai Moana Bill.

Mr Harawira has been replaced by Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

The bill would replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Mr Harawira says he cannot support it, arguing if a foreigner bought up part of the coastline they would have more rights than iwi.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples told Waatea News Mr Harawira has made no secret that he is campaigning against the bill, which the party fought for.

Dr Sharples says Mr Harawira will continue to sit on the committee while other subjects are being considered, such as its inquiry into the tobacco industry.

Former MP and political commentator Willie Jackson told Morning Report the decision flies in the face of democracy. He says everyone has a bias, including Mr Harawira's replacement.

Mr Jackson says it is clear the committee is just going to rubber-stamp the legislation, which is a bad signal for Maori.

However Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the select committee process is very important, and the party does not want anyone at the table who has already reached a decision.