Harawira's Pakeha comments 'racist' - MPs

  • Breaking
  • 03/08/2010

By Janika ter Ellen

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has found himself at the centre of another controversy, after telling a newspaper he would not be comfortable with his children dating a Pakeha.

He has been accused of racism, but the Maori Party and Race Relations Commissioner are playing down his comments.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable… like all Pakehas would be happy with their daughter coming home with a Maori boy? The answer is they wouldn’t,” Harawira is quoted as saying.

Are Hone Harawira's comments racist?

There has been a strong response, with some MPs labelling Harawira’s comments racist.

"I have a daughter, she's not date-able age," says Act MP David Garrett.

"But if I made a comment like that... how long do you think my career would last?"

“I don’t care who my daughters come home with – as long as they’ve got money,” National MP Tau Henare laughed.

Inter-racial relationships have long been an uncomfortable topic in New Zealand.

It was also the subject of early 1950s film Broken Barrier.

The Race Relations Commissioner Joris De Bres was last year tasked with investigating Harawria’s language in an email which was labelled racist. He found that, while unwise, the choice of words were a freedom of speech issue.

Mr De Bres has a similar view this time; while Harawira’s comments were unwise, the fuss will soon blow over.

“I think Hone Harawira is in touch with his own feelings, but he doesn’t seem to be in touch with the rest of New Zealand,” says Mr De Bres.

Harawira is not in trouble with his party either.

“He’s entitled to his own views about who should marry who,” says Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

Harawira was in Parliament today, but would not comment.

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source: newshub archive