2 May 2011

War of words over party's agreement with Harawira

12:24 pm on 2 May 2011

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has released a copy of the agreement he made with the Maori Party when he left to become an independent.

Each is blaming the other for the potential demise of the agreement since Mr Harawira launched the new Mana Party at the weekend and plans to force a by-election.

The agreement says Mr Harawira will continue to serve the electorate as an independent MP and contest his election as either an independent, or as a member of another party.

It goes on to state that he will not contest any of the other Maori seats, and the Maori Party won't stand in Te Tai Tokerau in this year's election.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says Mr Harawira has broken the agreement, because in resigning he has breached that part which says he will continue to represent the electorate as an independent candidate.

The Maori Party is considering standing a candidate against Mr Harawira in the by-election.

Mr Harawira says if that happens, it'll be the Maori Party that's called off the deal.

"The deal we have is that we won't stand against each other in elections in 2011 and in fact I had that confirmed from the (Maori Party) president the night before the party launch.

"I'm not expecting them to stand somebody unless they intend to break the agreement."

Dr Sharples said that assurance was given before Maori Party president Pem Bird knew about the by-election.

The Maori Party will decide next week whether to stand a candidate.

Decision on candidate 'guided by people'

The Maori Party will be guided by the people of Tai Tokerau on whether to put up a by-election candidate against Mr Harawira, the party's president says.

The Maori Party held an hour-long teleconference with representatives from all electorates on Sunday.

Party president Pem Bird says a hui is planned this weekend in the electorate and the party will be guided by the people's wishes.

New party won't erode our support, say Greens

The Green Party says the launch of the new Mana Party will not erode its support and there is no reason to consider an alliance.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says it's good to have another left-wing party, which she says may appeal to a sector of the population that has not so far been represented in Parliament.

However former Green MP, Nandor Tanzcos, believes the party could could take away some potential new supporters from the Greens.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford, who was at the Mana Party launch, is yet to decide whether she will become a candidate for the it in the general election, though she says there's space in the political spectrum for a different voice.