By Duncan Garner
Hone Harawira seems set to be returned to Parliament again. But to do what?
He's likely to be the most impotent bloke in the place. National won't talk to him or look at him - let alone work with him.
Labour's current leadership has a similar 'follow me' approach.
So Harawira can promise the world to his voters - but they should be cautious - he can't deliver.
He can't deliver a higher minimum wage, he can't deliver his 'Hone Heke' financial transaction tax - he can really only deliver himself to Parliament.
It's a shame. He's a likeable character at times. He can be effective and constructive. I've seen it.
Who would argue with wanting tobacco banned so Maori youth don't get addicted? Who would argue with wanting young Maori to get jobs? No one.
But he's a lost case - he no longer carries any influence compared to the others.
The Greens are positioned nicely to get policy wins no matter who governs. Peter Dunne, if he wins, will be a minister again probably, although with just one seat, he doesn't deserve it. The Maori Party will get policy wins and be ministers again. If National wins, even Labour will have some influence in Parliament.
But Hone, if he returns, comes back as a lone wolf, and I can't help think what could have been.
With Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples retiring at the 2014 election, the leadership of the Maori Party could have easily gone to Harawira, if he sat tight, stayed in the tent, managed his activism and been a bit more patient. That he hasn't is tragic.
In my view he would have been odds-on to take the reins of the Maori Party, a brand now seriously damaged, but it didn't have to be like this.
It was clear Turia wanted Hone out. She was fed up with his indiscipline and undermining of her, Sharples and the party's relationship with National. But Hone's departure now seriously means that when Turia and Sharples go off to care for their mokopuna, the Maori Party may collapse.
Ideally it should be a vehicle that holds all the Maori seats and is the balance of power at each election. The Maori Party, in their ideal political world, should be in the position where it chooses who governs every three years. It has clearly failed to get to that point.
There appears to be no succession plan to replace Turia and Sharples. If there is, it's not yet evident. But it could and should have been Hone, if he was willing to pull on his big boy pants and be a true leader - rather than a sniper on the sidelines.
Hone must surely have the odd sleepless night - thinking about this scenario. He loved being a Maori Party MP before it turned sour. He loved the brand. The Maori Party could have been his, had he waited a bit longer. But he asked to be pushed so he jumped out the window at the same time.
The end result: the Mana Party and the Maori Party are now killing each other slowly.
Maori need a strong independent voice, not a bunch of weakened one or two man bands that hold little or no sway.
The Maori Party and Mana will be back. But for what? With whom? And just what can they achieve?
source: newshub archive