We all know Hone Harawira is a Maori nationalist. However, as I have said on numerous occasions, this does not preclude the possibility that Hone will form a broad left wing party. Although tino rangatiratanga is not entirely compatible with the notions and values of social democracy, it is not impossible to reconcile the two. For a more in depth discussion on why I think Hone will form a broad left wing party, as opposed to an alternative Maori party, see this post.
In this post I want to draw your attention to comments made by Annette Sykes:
Rotorua Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says Pakeha should have a major part to play in any new political party set up dissident MP Home Harawira.
She says the Maori and Pakeha heros that have emerged during the Christchurch quake are indicative of a new New Zealand that any new Maori political movement must incorporate.
This indicates, to me at least, that Annette, and surely by extension Hone, realise that an alternative Maori party is impractical. Annette knows that the numbers do not exist to support the Maori Party, an alternative Maori party, the Greens and of course Labour. Any new party will need to broaden its appeal. Matt McCarten, one of Hone’s advisors, also knows that an alternative Maori party will not work and any new party will require some amount of working class appeal and a focus on beneficiaries, both Maori and Pakeha.
The only circumstance in which an alternative Maori party makes any political sense is if the end goal is to destroy the current Maori Party. I feel that this is unlikely. Having said that Annette has given a soft indication that she may run against Te Ururoa in Waiariki. If she does, and she has not ruled it out, then I think it is safe to assume the end goal is to destroy the Maori Party. This would be terribly unwise. For all of their sins the Maori Party occupies a brilliant strategic niche and, in likelihood, will be in an incredibly strong position post-election.
Hone must realise that destroying the Maori Party also opens the door for the Nat’s to launch a full frontal attack on all things Maori. At the moment the Maori Party is a moderating force on the Nats. The Nats know that they cannot attack things Maori without backlash from their most reliable long-term coalition partner. With Act on its last legs and Dunne looking shaky in Ohariu the Nats realise that the Maori Party is their best shot in terms of governing into the future, therefore the party must be kept on side.
Ultimately, I think Hone will form a new left party rather than an alternative Maori party. Consider what Matt McCarten has this to say:
If there was a contest I think Tariana Turia and Hone would be the only ones left standing. I think it would be a tragedy for Maori.
Matt knows and would have informed Hone that the only benefactors of an alternative Maori Party will be Labour. In Hone were to stand candidates in the other Maori electorates then Labour would storm home. It would be an epic strategic blunder.
The animosity between Hone and his former colleagues should not be underestimated. But ultimately both sides need to realise that politics is bigger than their egos.