The smears continue, this time Tariana Turia demonises the Harawira family. From the NZ Herald:
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was sickened by what she called "psychological abuse" meted out to her and others by MP Hone Harawira's mother and sister at a hui yesterday."It was just terrible. It was the whole hui. It wasn't just two minutes. It was shouting, abusing, swearing, singing loud over the top of people."
She said Mr Harawira's mother, Titewhai, "kept shouting at me that I was a liar ... bloody liar ... snakes".
"Nobody could shut them up. They just shouted and denigrated people the whole way through the hui."
Mrs Harawira and daughter Hinewhare also tried to intimidate people by saying they had written down the names of those present.
"It was nothing short of being psychologically abusive and violent," said Mrs Turia. "I've never seen anything like it, to be honest. I felt sick."
"I kept thinking as it was going on [that] here we are, trying to bring about a transformation in our families, amongst our people to do with violence and abuse, and here we were sitting with ... the worst form of psychological abuse during a marae hui."
She said Mrs Harawira was a kuia, "and where I come from we hold our kuia in the highest regard".
"We had kuia who travelled with us to be there and I felt really sad for them that another kuia would behave like that - even if it was on her marae.
"The mana of your marae resides in those of you who belong and I wouldn't have thought that was mana-enhancing behaviour at all."
To be frank, I think this is sensationalised bullshit. Turia is indulging in very, very gratuitous hyperbole. The Harawira family is an easy target and, admittedly, they invite controversy and encourage easy smears. But this over the top.
Having said that, the Harawira family needs to wake up. The best way to lose support is to attack the Maori Party on a personal level. All is well and good if the Mana Party, but especially the Harawira’s, keep to the line that the Maori Party has passed a 21st century raupatu (MCA act), presided over a violent increase in living costs (GST etc), and favoured the symbolic over the substantive. Many Maori are uncomfortable with the idea of, for want of a better term, civil war. The battle needs to be clean.
Ultimately, there is no place for the Harawira family in the public battle between the Mana Party and the Maori Party. The Harawira’s need to continue as if the Maori Party is irrelevant because increasingly they are.
Congratulations must be extended to Turia though. She has smeared Hone, albeit indirectly, very effectively. Evil, but genius. Titewhai Harawira is one of Hone’s biggest weaknesses. She is an unreformed version of Hone, but without the common touch and political experience. She possesses loose lips and a toxic tongue and will say what she means, when she wants and in no uncertain terms. If the media want to run an easy smear campaign all they need to do is call Titewhai. If the Maori Party wants an easy smear all they need to do is offer themselves as bait. Titewhai is a mother after all and she wants revenge for the disgraceful way the Maori Party treated her son.
If we rewind back to the foreshore and seabed controversy, this could have easily been Turia sticking it to Maori who supported the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Funny how things change.
(Oh, I’ll blog about the byelection later today btw – I have to head off to class now)