23 Feb 2011

Harawira leaves Maori Party

6:17 pm on 23 February 2011

Hone Harawira has left the Maori Party and will act as an independent MP.

The party's national council met on Wednesday morning to consider a complaint made against the MP for Te Tai Tokerau by the whip Te Ururoa Flavell.

It follows weeks of dispute about a newspaper article Mr Harawira wrote criticising the Maori Party's relationship with the National Government and a recommendation from the the party's disputes and disciplinary committee on Tuesday that he be expelled from the party.

A spokesperson says the party and Mr Harawira have agreed to part ways and focus on the issues confronting Maori.

Mr Harawira says he will not contest any other Maori seat in the election in November and that the Maori Party will not stand a candidate against him in Te Tai Tokerau either.

Mr Harawira and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples declined to comment on Wednesday.

MP 'may be in for surprise'

A Far North Maori leader says Mr Harawira could be in for a surprise when he seeks re-election as an independent MP.

Ngati Hine chairman Waihoroi Shortland says people who have been turned off by the "debacle" of recent weeks may well use their electorate vote to register their displeasure with Mr Harawira.

Mr Shortland says Mr Harawira has a strong and vocal personal following in the north - but warns it is those who have been silent that he will have to worry about.

In the 2008 elections, Mr Harawira attracted twice the vote of nearest rival, Labour MP Kelvin Davis, who is standing again in November. Mr Harawira had a 6000-vote majority.