Harawira still pushing for party merger
Thursday 24 Jan 2013 8:23 a.m.
Hone Harawira is still pushing his case for a unified Maori political movement despite the Maori Party rejecting a proposed merger with his Mana Party.
He says the Maori Party is "dying" and he's been approached by some of its members who want him to take over as its leader or merge it with Mana.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says that isn't going to happen and she's described Mr Harawira as a comedian.
"Somebody who purports to represent our people and says he's got to be the leader -- no, no, that's not the way it works in our party," she said.
Mr Harawira quit the Maori Party in 2009 because of the way it works with the Government and says if there is a merger he still won't have anything to do with National.
"Mana has a clear position - we won't enter into any relationship with National, our constituency is specifically the poor and the dispossessed and there would have to be major changes in (Government) policy," he said on Radio New Zealand this morning.
Mr Harawira says the Maori Party's membership was 24,000 in 2009 and dropped to 600 in 2011.
"The leadership of the Maori Party is comfortable working with National but I don't think their members are," he said.
Prime Minister John Key has shrugged off the possibility of a merger and says nothing is likely to happen during the current parliamentary term.