There has been a lot of debate around whether or not Hone Harawira, and the other Maori politicians for that matter, should have attended Destiny’s annual conference. I have made my feelings pretty clear in this post, but I want to expand on those comments. (I banged this post out while on a break at work – forgive the lack of structure and any other mistakes).
Hone Harawira is the leader of a progressive party. A left wing party in a true sense. However, Hone Harawira is not, in my opinion, much of a social liberal. Sure, Hone supports prisoners rights, workers rights and so on. He does not, however, appear to have ever signalled that he supports the GLBT community and, indeed, feminist causes. You can support workers rights and indigenous rights without supporting gay rights and female rights. The “rights” movement if you will is not necessarily all inclusive. You can support one person’s rights without having to acknowledge another person’s rights. Yet you would think that Hone, as an indigenous activist, would sympathise with other causes fighting for equality. Not so apparently.
Hone’s appearance at the Destiny conference says one thing to GLBT and feminist supporters of the Mana Party – you are not important. I will placate your enemies (not sure if that is the correct word to use, but fuck it) so long as there are votes in it for me. Now I accept that Destiny Church helps turn the around the lives of many dysfunctional individuals and families. However, the term “turn around” is a matter of perspective. I do not think a “turn around” is a positive thing when you may no longer beat your wife but instead you practise a more subtle form of female subservience where your wife is regarded as secondary and, ultimately, less equal. But perhaps this is the lesser of two evils? It is arguable, but I still think it is unacceptable.
In New Zealand the Destiny Church is perhaps the most prominent manifestation of bigotry. No other group of people, no other organisation or no other person (besides maybe Don Brash) is as unashamedly bigoted than the Destiny Church. Although the Bishop is now attempting to play down the Destiny Church’s darker side, it still remains unless the Bishop is willing to move towards a doctrinal shift. Although I was fairly young, in Intermediate if I remember right, when the Enough is Enough hate march occurred I still remember the disgusting images where Destiny Church members spat, swore and generally acted like shitheads towards counter demonstrators. And I remember that the message they were giving was toxic. I personally think the Enough is Enough march was merely a show of power from Brian Tamaki, a sort of “this is what I can do” message “so listen to me” or suffer electoral consequences.
Hone Harawira has, as Marty Mars points out, lost a lot of support in the blogosphere. He will also lose a lot of support among activists. If you check the Mana Party’s facebook page or pages of regional branches and proiminent supporters you will find debate is raging. Many activists are fucked off with Hone’s decision to attend. He will pay for it too. This is a death blow for many GLBT and feminists within the Mana Party. For me, this decision represents strike one against Hone. Two more similar strikes and I’ll begin to question why I am supporting him and the Mana Party. I know Hone’s people read this blog – I hope you are taking into account what I am saying, what your activists are saying and what other blogs are saying. Our support is not a given. Do not play with it. Hone cannot claim to be a progressive politician while at the same time placating bigots. He cannot have it both ways.
While I'm at it another thing I do not like about Destiny Church is the infusion of Maori culture with the fundamentalist rubbish Bishop Tamaki preaches. Tikanga Maori is woefully incompatible with Christian fundamentalism and any attempt to infuse the two does Maori a disservice and misrepresents Te Ao Maori.
And lastly, what the fuck is Hone doing with Jevan Goulter by his side? What the fuck is wrong with you? This guy is a professional tag along and a shit magnet. No good will come of having him so close to the action. He did the same thing with Labour politicians and then, when he fell out of favour, attempted to fuck them over with Ian Wishart. It’s just sloppy. Sure, give him a second chance, but don’t let him close enough that he gets a chance to compromise things. Or maybe he has changed? Either way It’s Hone’s decision. I just think he is making the wrong one.