Turia concedes bill not perfect as Harawira's future considered

Last updated 15:33 21/02/2011

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Maverick Maori Party MP Hone Harawira should know his future in the party by Wednesday.

A Maori Party disciplinary committee considering a complaint against Mr Harawira finished its meeting at Papakura Marae, on the southern outskirts of metropolitan Auckland, about 3.30pm today.

Committee chairwoman Te Orohi Paul said "a range of options" would be put to the party council on Wednesday, which would then decide whether Harawira should be expelled.

It is believed a recommendation will be put to the council by the committee.

Harawira did not turn up to the meeting today, instead attending a Waitangi Tribunal hearing into the Treaty of Waitangi claim from his home iwi, Ngapuhi.

Flavell said this afternoon he was disappointed Harawira didn't turn up to the committee hearing into his future.

The complaint stems from a Sunday Star-Times column Harawira wrote but is symbolic of deeper ructions within the party with Harawira believing the party sold out over the new Takutai Moana Bill.

"Hone was provided one week with another week's extension to today to present his case. I came to listen to what he had to say and respect the fact that he came and listened to what I had to say ... but he's not here," Mr Flavell said after his meeting with the committee.

"I'm pretty disappointed about that, but I'm happy just to arrive, answer any questions that the committee had, and to provide any other statements and I've left it in their hands."

Flavell said he thought Harawira was not respecting the process.

"It was his opportunity because he'd specifically asked for his opportunity to meet with the committee. I've waited for two weeks, but I'm here and for my part it's important that I present myself and maintain the integrity of the process which I think has been fair to all of us."

Harawira has been a thorn in the side of the Maori Party's leadership for some time, especially after his newspaper column and his decision to give a "state of the Maori nation" speech at Waitangi Day celebrations shortly before party co-leader Pita Sharples gave an official one of his own.

The committee's recommendations are due to be put before the party's council on Wednesday. The party council will make the final decision on what sanctions Harawira will face, and Flavell said he hoped it would be dealt with shortly.

"I'd be pretty angry and pretty disappointed personally if it's not dealt with before the end of this week. I think we've had it too long. I think all of us want an end to it and we just want to get on and do the work."

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- with Alastair Bull of NZPA

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