I’ve decided to place the speech Hone would have made integrally had he been sworn in. I hope more people will.
Harawira refuses to speak oath in English, asked to leave the House (full speech)
Hone Harawira MP newly elected MP for Te Tai Tokerau and Leader of the Mana Movement, has been asked to leave the house for his refusal to speak the oath he is required to make in English, instead he presented Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As a result, he was not sworn in and was asked to come back on the House’s next sitting day, which is Tuesday 2nd August.
As Mr Harawira left the chamber, his supporters who were in the Gallery sung a waiata tautoko, which the Speaker of the House asked passively to cease.
Green Party MP, Marion Street, made a point of order asking that Mr Harawira be allowed to repeat the oath in English as she was allowed during her swearing in. The Speaker of the House denied this request, saying what Hone had done was against the law and rules of the House.
While National Party MP Bill English suggested that he not be allowed to repeat the oath and made the point that those in the gallery be possibly punished for singing their waiata, and thereby “not respecting” the rules of the house. Russell Norman of the Greens supported his colleges’ point of order and again asked that Mr Harawira be allowed to repeat his oath.
The speaker, then asked if there were any objections, there were, so the request to repeat the oath was not denied.
Had Mr Harawira been allowed to speak, this is what he would have said:
MOVING FORWARD WITH MANA
Hone Harawira – Tai Tokerau MP and Leader of MANA – Thursday 14 July 2011
EMBARGOED TILL 2.30PM THURSDAY 14 JULY 2011
It’s been just over 2 months since we launched MANA to be a movement away from the politics of fear and compromise, a movement based on the authority of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the mana of both parties to that contract, a movement that values the rights of families over corporate endeavour and the needs of children over an education system geared to ensure Maori failure, a movement focused on improving the status of those who work, those denied work, and those in genuine need, and a movement that honours the efforts of those who have fought to give us all a place to be proud of, a genuine movement of the People.
And it’s been just a few weeks since the people of the Tai Tokerau achieved a truly great victory; a victory against the country’s biggest political machine, a victory against the old school politics of denying change, a victory against money, a victory against prejudice, a victory against a racist media, and a victory that I dedicate today to the memory of Hone Heke Ngapua, Tai Tokerau’s greatest ever MP, and Matiu Rata the leader of Mana Motuhake, and Muriwhenua’s favourite son.
And it is because of the determination of the people of the Tai Tokerau and those who came to support us in our campaign for freedom, that today I returned to the New Zealand House of Representatives as the leader of the MANA Movement, not to the dark corners where I had been dispatched by those who would wage war on their own while sleeping with the enemy, but to the front benches of parliament, in recognition of MANA’s status as the newest and most energetic political movement in Aotearoa.
Today as I returned to the House, I carried in my hands a copy of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as a mark of respect for the efforts of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, and activists of every generation since 1840, to see the Treaty honoured, and today I pledge to continue their work until the day that the Treaty takes it rightful place as the cornerstone of this nation’s constitution.
So today, although we may be just a little late in celebrating Matariki, today we say farewell to the bad old days and today we celebrate a new dawn, a new beginning, and an exciting new future.
Because I think that for the first time in a long, long time, ordinary people are sensing that they may finally have a voice in Parliament that represents a growing sector of New Zealand society – those who are poor, those who are marginalised, and those who have to struggle every week just to scrape together enough money to feed the family and pay the bills.
And right now in this country there are a growing number of people living in poverty. It’s not that they want to be there – it’s just that there isn’t the political will to stand against the tide of international takeovers and ruthless free-market economics that are crushing our people.
And that’s what MANA’s here for …
MANA will address issues that the people want answers to – issues around poverty, the skyrocketing cost of living, stagnant wages, and the impossibility of the ‘quarter acre dream’. These are the real issues that affect Rangi and Joe in communities throughout Aotearoa.
These of course are issues that Maori are all too familiar with, having placed our faith in Labour for more than 70 years. And yet today we find ourselves in the same dismal state of affairs as when the first Labour Maori MP was elected in 1932. For all their promises, Labour has made no real difference in the status of Maori as second-class citizens in our own land, and their choice to be a centrist party confirms their rejection of their own working class roots.
The other major political force in this country has of course been National, who have only ever had one interest – looking after the rich. They believe blindly in the theory that the market will provide (even when we see how the market crashes and governments have to bail it out), and they continue to blame beneficiaries for being a burden on the taxpayer, when most beneficiaries are there by virtue of the free-market economics that the Nats support.
In 2005 the Maori Party burst onto the political scene, as the first independent political voice for Maori and most of us, me included, were proud to be part of that change.
Unfortunately however, before we’d even gotten wet behind the ears we’d signed up to a coalition deal with National and ACT, and it quickly became clear to me and to thousands of other members of the Maori Party that our once proud claim to ‘independence’ was no longer.
And although I raised many critical issues with my colleagues at Council meetings and in caucus, it also became clear that the Maori Party would sacrifice one of their own MPs rather than jeopardise their ministerial perks and their deals with John Key, Rodney Hide and Don Brash.
Yet despite our differences, and even after winning the by-election, I was still moved to extend an olive branch to see if we could minimise any conflict and maximise the number of Maori seats in parliament. The answer from the Maori Party was clear and unequivocal – NO.
Since then of course, Maori Party supporters from all over the country have been ringing MANA leaders to say they can’t believe that a party with so much to lose would not seek a peace deal with MANA.
But that’s a decision that their leaders have taken (even though I now hear that they want to change their minds … again). But you know how the saying goes – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice … no thanks. The people deserve better than that.
And so tomorrow we turn ourselves to the challenges that lie ahead of MANA – of building branches dedicated to the needs of the members rather than the demands of party politics, with electorates actively demonstrating their capabilities so that MANA MPs can see where the real power lies, building a national movement based on honesty and integrity, and selecting MPs chosen for their demonstrated commitment to kaupapa and their willingness to put the needs of their people before the expectations of parliamentary procedure.
Already we are seeing people in their hundreds joining MANA from Te Rerenga Wairua to the Bluff. Branches have been formed, committees are being elected, and ideas for a better tomorrow are flowing in along with the flood of goodwill and support that bodes well for the upcoming election in November.
And as we turn to the future, political commentators are already saying that the worst we can do is to increase our party vote and bring in one or two more MPs. At best, we will add one or two of the Maori seats to that.
With ACT struggling to make any headway under the leadership of the race-baiting idiot from the deep south, and the Maori Party taking a real pounding in the polls, National’s coalition is in real strife, opening the door for a MANA, Green, Labour coalition to win the treasury benches.
And despite Phil Goff saying that he won’t work with me, everyone knows that if he needs MANA’s numbers, he’ll either give me a ring or be consigned to the political dustbin of history.
So today is a great day for us all.
We already have some of the best Maori and left-leaning minds in the country working on policies and solutions that ordinary people can understand.
From kaumatua and kuia in Kaitaia, to millworkers in Kawerau, the homeless in Auckland, students in Palmerston North, public servants in Wellington, farmers in Canterbury and oyster-shuckers down the Bluff – everybody will know what we stand for.
There’s not a lot of time from now to the election, so we aim to keep our messages simple, we want our messengers to be people you know and trust, we plan to use every form of media we can, but most importantly, we want to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Maori and non-Maori in this country, and we want you to add a spice of MANA to the korero you have with your whanau, your friends and your neighbours, as you debate the upcoming elections and the fastest growing political movement in the country – your movement – MANA.
And just who might some of those messengers be?
Well, at our founding hui in Whangarei, one of our leaders spoke of people having a “fat kaupapa belt”, people with belts that have got a few notches in it, people with history in fighting for human rights, people who have made a difference in other people’s lives, people with experience, people that other people respect, people with their own MANA, people like Annette Sykes and John Minto.
Both of them have accepted roles as interim co-vice presidents of the MANA Movement and both of them are people I would be proud to have stand by my side, because they are exactly the kinds of leaders that MANA will need if we are to make a difference, at the polls, and in the lives of those marginalised in today’s society.
We have momentum, we have righteousness, but we need more, and so as I close today let me just ask this of us all …
- Let us commit ourselves to policies that bring a sea change to the way in which we do politics in this country
- Let us commit ourselves to a programme of hard work and honest endeavour so that our people believe what it is we say.
- Let us commit ourselves to a future where the treaty lives, where rangatiratanga sits comfortably alongside kawanatanga, where Maori are lifted to a place of genuine equality in all spheres of life, and where every other citizen can thrive in this most blessed of countries
- Let us commit ourselves to developing a set of principles that will guide us in all we do, not as a political party but as a movement of the people
- Let us commit ourselves to changing our own lives so that we become the leaders that our people want to follow, and
- Let us commit ourselves to one another, to our families, to our children, and to those generations yet unborn
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa