Hone Harawira takes on the Maori Party...
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has threatened electoral war against the Maori Party after claiming it broke a deal struck with him when he resigned from its ranks in February.
Maori Party president Pem Bird last night confirmed the party had resolved to stand a candidate against Hone Harawira should he call a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau.
Mr Harawira today said that went against an agreement brokered between him and the Maori Party before his resignation from the party, where he said he would not field candidates in Maori electorates in return for the party not standing against him in Te Tai Tokerau.
The deal was now off and Mana was considering standing candidates in every Maori electorate, Mr Harawira said.
"Despite massive pressure by many people to put candidates up against the Maori Party MPs, I have resisted the temptation because I believe it is important to stand behind a promise you make.
"Mana accepts that the agreement is effectively redundant because of the Maori Party's actions. Whether Mana will now offer a strong candidate in every Maori electorate at the general election will be a matter we will determine after the by-election."
He said he would strongly contest the Te Tai Tokerau seat against any challengers and painted the Maori Party as a potential ally of new Act leader Don Brash.
"The voters of Te Tai Tokerau have two clear choices; an un-named candidate whose party is happy to join Don Brash, or a candidate who has already stood up to Brash and has always shown a commitment to Maori rights.
"I look forward to seeing what choice the voters of Te Tai Tokerau make."
A Maori Party spokeswoman said Mr Harawira was the one who broke his deal with the party when he announced he may force a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau.
The deal included an agreement Mr Harawira would remain an independent MP up until the November general election, she said.
Mr Bird said it was up to the Mana Party whether it wanted to contest the other Maori electorates. "We are prepared for any eventuality."
Maori Party leader Tariana Turia said she believed the abusive behaviour directed at her by Mr Harawira's mother and sister Titewhai and Hinewhare Harawira in a hui at Waitangi's Te Tii Marae showed they were nervous about Hone's chances.
"Otherwise why would you come to a hui that wasn't your hui, threaten people who were attending by writing their names down and being rude and abusive?"
The Labour Party, if it decides to stand a candidate, could gain from the controversy - they could come through the middle and take back the seat they lost a few years ago. Labour always takes a majority of party votes anyway.
Acknowledgements: NZ Herald staff