Te Ururoa Flavell versus Clayton Cosgrove

Maori Party fights back…

I want to come to the House to specifically address some of the rubbish that came out of the mouth of the first speaker in this debate, Clayton Cosgrove, who was speculating that the Māori Party would be boycotting the national hui on Thursday. For Mr Cosgrove I want to set the record straight.

Firstly, where was he when all this discussion was going on?

Secondly, the Māori Party has actually been playing an integral role in trying to keep the doors of discussion open, even as I speak—even as I speak. We played a unique role in creating the opportunity for debate around the mixed-ownership model.

Contrary to Mr Cosgrove’s rantings, the Māori Party will be at the hui on Thursday, represented by our leader Dr Pita Sharples. This is something that he should know about, and failed to explain, because it has been well reported in the media for over the last week.

URGENT DEBATES : State Owned Energy Companies – Sales – Tuesday 11 Sept: Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party

Harawira has avoided responsibility

Hone Harawira has ducked and dived and denied after his ‘house nigger’ comment, and hasn’t had the guts to take responsibility for making them. His original comments were:

Time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house niggers what to do, but (2) the rest of us don’t give a shit for him or his opinions!

It was widely assumed he was referring to Maori Party MPs because at about the same time he made comments directly linking them…

Notice how John Key says none of his Maori MPs are allowed to go to the National Maori Hui on Water … and two minutes later Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples say that they’re not going. Not hard to see who’s the REAL leader of the Maori Party!


What’s the bet that Tari and Pete cop so much flak from Maori for saying that they’re not going to the hui on water – that they find some reason to change their mind and say they’re gonna go now (or send Te Ururoa). Knowing how the Maori Party works, they’ll have to clear it with John Key first though

He was very clear – in his own typed words – about linking Maori Party MPs to his attack. And since then he has denied this. He has said he was referring to. He claimed he meant he was referring to National’s Maori MPs. From Stuff:

“What’s that got to do with Tari and Pete?”

He said he was referring to National’s own Maori MPs; such as Paula Bennett, Tau Henare, Simon Bridges, Hekia Parata.

“You’ve got to be careful about trying to draw dots here… I made a very clear statement about John Key and the way that he treats his MPs.”

Felix Marwick’s interview with Harawira:

Marwick: Why did you choose the language that you did, I mean, I guess if you called them lapdogs which you’ve done in the past, I guess people would have understood.

Harawira: Be very careful here, I haven’t called anybody, who have I called anybody anything?

Marwick: You’ve called people house niggers on your Facebook page.

Harawira: Would you like to come to the quote there Felix, read it out, read it out.

Marwick: I’ll just bring it up…

Harawira: Sure, absolutely, I think the media needs to be really bloody clear here…

Marwick: Ok, I’ll read it back to you, and you can tell me the contect that it was in…

Harawira: Go on then, go on then…

Marwick: Where are we, has it been deleted?

Harawira: I didn’t delete it…

Marwick: Ah, it was there this morning, I’ll take it from the copy that we took this morning, where you said “Mr Key can tell his little house niggers what to do, but the rest of us don’t give a shit for his opinion”. Who were you referring to when you used the phrase ‘little house niggers”?

Harawira: Hang on, hang on, hang on, no, no, no, no, no, hang on, hang on hang on. You can’t make the assumption, name people that you think I’m talking about, I’m not about to play that game, this is a challenge to John Key, it’s time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house niggers what to do, but (2) the rest of us don’t give a shit for him or his opinions, now anybody’s getting up in a big fuss and turning this into Hone’s accused so and so, and so and so, and so and so of being a house nigger.

Well the fact is I haven’t. I’ve accused John Key of treating people that way, and I don’t think, I don’t think that he should.

Marwick: How did you expect that comment to be interpreted then?

Harawira: Well I hope he gets pissed off about it, I hope that his Maori MPs don’t listen to him, and I hope they come to the hui, it’s a national hui for Maori on water, and they should come.

But Harawira kept linking the whole thing to Maori Party MPs, for example from 3 News:

“I’m glad that this has actually forced Pita to say he’s going to come, I’ll enjoy him being there. I’ll just say to Turi I never accused her of being that, and I don’t think she should read into it anymore then what was actually in the email.”

Harawira’s “little house niggers” comment was clearly associated with “Not hard to see who’s the REAL leader of the Maori Party!” and “Knowing how the Maori Party works, they’ll have to clear it with John Key first though”.

He knew it wouldn’t change John Key’s mind on anything – in fact this was timed when John Key was out of the country and out of the discussion.

Knowing how Harawira works this was a clear provocation directed at Sharples and Turia with the aim of shaming them into attending the water hui, because he thought they should attend.

Sharples has now said he will attend the hui, but the credibility of the hui has taken a battering.

And Harawira has been blatantly dishonest about his implications and intent.

Key did eventually get a chance to comment from Vladivostock:

“I know it’s Hone Harawira being Hone Harawira, but frankly I think he owes them an apology,” he says.

If Harawira was honourable he would apologise, but don’t expect it. He doesn’t have the guts to be up front about what he does,

And he’s likely to avoid responsibility for his abuse. Again. That’s Hone Harawira being Hone Harawira.

Simon Bardwell at TVNZ sums it up:

Harawira says he’s trying to make the point that Key acts towards his Maori MPs like a Southern plantation owner in the 1950s.

But the crucial word in that sentence is “like”. When you leave that word out, as Harawira did in his first post, you leave yourself wide open to the accusation that you used the term yourself.

Of course, just drawing such comparisons is odious enough to many people.

How strange to see the normally unrepentant MP looking for a get-out-clause to try and explain himself away.

That’s the sort of behaviour Harawira normally despises in other politicians.

It’s odd that Harawira would try and have us believe his explanation rather than either apologise, or even stand by his original comments – obnoxious as many people see them.

Race Relations Conciliator Joris de Bres called the post “dumb”. Many would agree.

But it’s his explanation afterwards that many will see as an insult – an insult to the intelligence.


The Mana plantation owner

There’s quite a bit more to what Hone Harawira has said than a bit of abuse. From a Newstalk ZB interview: Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Marwick: Now the attendance or non-attendance of both National Party Maori MPs and the Maori Party MPs at the hui organised by King Tuheitia seems to have ruffled your feathers somewhat. What is your objection to them not attending?

Harawira: No, actually I’m not objecting to them not attending, I’m objecting to the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t.

The fact of the matter is, people are jumping up and down about a phrase I used, right, but if people want me to stop using terms from Alabama in the 1950s then they should tell the Prime Minister to stop acting like a plantation owner from Alabama in the 1950s.

There’s a number of Maori MPs in his party, two of whom are high ranking ministers, they have their own mana, and they have their own standing in Maori society, and he should show them the respect that they deserve and allow them to make their own decision as to whether or not they’ll attend the national hui on water.

Marwick:: Do you think it was right to use such a pejorative term thought, because I know if I used it people would probably thump me and they’d be right to do so.

Harawira: Ah look Felix, you have to live with the things you say and I’m comfortable with the things I say.

My comment was about how the way in which the Prime Minister showed an appalling lack of understanding of the mana that his Maori MPs have. It’s an insult to them, (they should) make up their own mind.

What’s the point of having ministers that you want to rank highly in your cabinet, if you’re going to do all their thinking for them, particularly Maori ones.

And understand this, they’re not being invited as National Party MPs, they’re not being invited as Cabinet Ministers. It’s a national hui on water for Maori. It’s not an Iwi Leaders hui, it’s not a claimants hui, it’s not a Maori Council hui. It’s an open hui for Maori. They are Maori. They should come.

Marwick: Why should they?

Harawira: Because the issues that are going to be discussed there will probably lead to some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime, and your lifetime for that matter. That’s why. It is that important.

Water, and the status of water to Maori and to the nation are at stake here, and it’s important that everybody’s point of view is heard. They bring a different point of view to the table, like everybody else. They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

Marwick: What impact then do you think this hui could have on government policy, given the position that the Government’s already put out there?

Harawira: I’m really not sure. All I want to see is that Maori see water as an important issue, to make a decision on, that they set a timeframe on which that decision can be made with as wide a participation as possible from Maori people, and that they not be locked into a timeframe gerrymandered by the Prime Minister to facilitate the sale of assets that most New Zealanders are opposed to.

Aside from important issues like:

  • what 1950’s Alabama has got to do with slavery or New Zealand?
  • why “some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime” will come from a hui organised at very short notice
  • if water is such an important issue for the country why is the hui so maori dominated
  • on what basis Harawira speaks for the hui
  • how representative of Maori as a whole the hui will be
  • how representative of the whole country the hui will be

…there’s a key point to take from this.

Harawira’s main objection regarding the National Party Maori MPs seems to be that “the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t“.

So he says “They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

As Harawira says, “they have their own mana“. Maybe they can decide for themselves what they do and who they listen to. Why should National Party MPs take their orders from the Mana plantation owner?