All-in hunt for Hone's head

JOHN TAMIHERE COLUMN
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2011

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As you read this article, you will know the result of the Te Tai Tokerau byelection. I did not comment other than by noting the rise of the Act Party, led by Don Brash, confronted by its total opposite, the Hone Harawira-led Mana Party.

At no time in our political history have I seen the level of not dislike, but hatred, levelled at a politician. At no time in our political history has the leader of the National Party ever endorsed a member of the Labour Party in any electorate.

John Key endorsed Kelvin Davis on our radio show in preference to Hone Harawira or the Maori Party candidate, Solomon Tipene. Winston Peters endorsed Kelvin Davis in preference to Hone Harawira.

Obviously the Maori Party want him gone and if you think about it, the Green Party would also benefit from his going.

So a message was sent to National Party and New Zealand First voters to vote for the Labour candidate, since both these parties were not contesting the election.

When Harawira resigned to fight the byelection, he lost all parliamentary funding and access to travel. His opponents not only had huge party support but also relied on taxpayers to fund large numbers of MP visits to the electorate.

In three years of tough opposition, this byelection is the only bright light on the horizon for a tired Labour Party. If they come a close second, they will claim it as a victory of sorts.

They will claim that Maori voters who toyed with New Zealand First returned to Labour and that Maori voters, having voted for the Maori Party, are now starting to return to their true Labour home.

None of the other parties wants the Mana Party to contest the general election on November 26.

The party has the ability to take votes from Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party. It will not work with National, hence, for the first time in our political history, all powers are converging to knock Harawira off. We call him "Mr Hone No Mates".

Not only did Harawira have to fight this convergence of authority and power across the political landscape, he also had to fight against the powers of the fourth estate, more commonly known as the press.

News desks, both in radio and print, wrote as many negative stories as I can recall about Harawira. If he has won, you have to wonder how the hell that happened.

Harawira is no saint and has the ability to polarise public opinion like no other politician except, maybe, Winston Peters. He will advance Maori interests above all others and at all costs – including losing this byelection.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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