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.
For sensible comments on this issue see Mars 2 Earth, Public Address, No Right Turn and Maori Law and Politics.
Wow Morgan - so Hone wears the brunt of attending the Destiny Gathering and the other MP's get off scot free? Destiny have plenty of Maori members and other churches have less than desirable policies and pasts (Anglicans, Catholics, etc...)ReplyDelete
The difference is I do not support the others, in fact I dislike them. I thought Hone was more sensible and liberal than the others, but apparently not.ReplyDelete
ouch...that's gotta hurt :)ReplyDelete
re : Hone's liberality ?ReplyDelete
This is the guy who would feel uncomfortable if his daughter brought home a non Maori.
Hate to think how he'd feel if his son brought home Darren Hughes :)
lol, that was good.ReplyDelete
I abhor the anti-gay stance that Destiny takes.ReplyDelete
But my aunty a couple of friends are in the church I haven't seen any evidence of an anti-woman agenda in their families, nor any evidence of subservience (actually that one makes me laugh - they boss their husbands around far more then I could, and their husbands actually listen!)
Do you think that the politicians should have challenged Destiny about these issues? And, if so, should they do the same thing with other churchs (eg the poli scramble at ratana every year).
On reflection, I think bigotry should be challenged (at least the anti-gay sentiments) but i dont think the role of women in the church is as clear cut. Especially when there are PLENTY of Maori organisations that have worse track records when it comes to the treatment of Maori women.
I have watched Brian Tamaki (please don't dignify him with the self awarded title of Bishop) since he started his Lake City Church in Lake Rd Rotorua 20 odd years ago. While there are undoubedly positive spin offs from the Church, they are secondary to Brian's obsession - power and money for himself.The bucket going round for the money was the most important part of any of Tamaki's services, especially when they bought their new premises in the Rotorua CBD. And it didn't matter what the financial circumstances of the church goers were (incuding those who had lost their jobs) - the pressure to donate was enormous. All the while, Tamaki got richer and more grandiose in his plans.ReplyDelete
I witnessed the Enough is Enough march in Wellington too. If anyone ever had any doubt of the power of mob rule and that the evils of brain washing, propagandist movements like national socialism (nazism) could happen here, that frightening march should have dispelled them.
I thought the fawning over Tamaki and Destiny by the various Maori politicians was pathetic. But then I think the fawning over Ratana by all politicians is pathetic, outdoing themselves each year to trump the others in who thinks they got the best treatment at Ratana Pa.
Still, I suppose they think that any amount of making fools of themselves to court votes is justified. And then they expect the rest of us to take them seriously.
Wasn't Metiria Turei impressive though?ReplyDelete
The Green Party is the most inclusive party in New Zealand. I am proud to work with Green colleagues who have various leading roles within the party because they are good people and can do the job well (full stop).ReplyDelete
A very good piece Morgan. The cynic in me thinks there is a lesson in this and that is you should never put too much faith in a politician because they will inevitably disappoint you. Saying that, I just think Hone got bad advice on this one rather than it being symptomatic of something more fundamentally wrong with his campaign.ReplyDelete
Interestingly too, word is that Annette Sykes is not happy with his appearance at the Destiny Conference and subsequent comments on Campbell live - she is good friends with many Gay and Lesbian Maori. It appears that the Maori 'activists' won't tolerate too much more of this before the withdraw their support.
Personally for me the Bin Laden thing was strike one... this is strike two. At this rate Hone is accumulating strikes bloody quick.ReplyDelete
I'm starting to think that, while Hone was good at identifying the problems with the Maori Party's policies, he's not so good at proposing an alternative - or rather, he is good at proposing an alternative, he's just not good at actually building a political body capable of seeing that alternative become a policy option (let alone getting into government).
I enjoy your use of the word fuck. well placed.ReplyDelete
You know, I got to thinking the other day about how Mana's popularity would fear if Hone announced that a policy of theirs was to legalise gay marriage-and I think the result would be that it would increase the party vote, yet at the same time loosen his grip on Te Tai Tokerau.ReplyDelete
Why? While Maori may align with the left economically, socially Maori collectively are quite conservative. It's acceptable for Maori to say "that guy's a fag ow", if a Pakeha said that in the middle of Willis Street they would draw the deathly stares of everyone in their peripheral.
The vote Hone is going for is the lower socio-economic vote of Maori and Pacific Islanders. However, those groups are also conservative, and it's reflected in the low vote for the Greens in the Maori electorates, and the Pacific Island-heavy South Auckland electorates. Though they may identify with the Greens on the economic left-perhaps even moreso than they do with Labour, when it comes to the social left, Maori and Pacific Islanders in general are a world apart from the Greens.
Politically, I think social ambiguity is probably the best path for Hone to take. That may be a pessimistic view, but I think it's reality.
Civil Unions are already part of the Law it will be interesting to see if Mana's polices end up recognising things like Civil Unions and other human rights legislation that recognises the rights of our Takataapui whanau. If Hone was standing as an independent then ka pai keep to the spurious notion that being anti the rights of our gay whanau is the way to win the Maori vote. Morgan is right as the leader of the Mana Party "Hone cannot claim to be a progressive politician while at the same time placating bigots. He cannot have it both ways. Its not only Hone who is at fault here, all across the spectrum of Maori politics the message is clear that the votes (and by implication the rights of ) of maori feminists & glbt don't matter.ReplyDelete