Hone Harawira thrown out of Parliament over oath

  • Breaking
  • 14/07/2011

By Lloyd Burr

Hone Harawira was thrown out of the debating chamber in dramatic fashion today when he failed to read the proper, prescribed inauguration oath.

Parliament’s speaker Lockwood Smith called a point of order when Mr Harawira was mid-oath after realising Mr Harawira, who was speaking in Te Reo Maori, was swearing allegiance to Te Tiriti o Waitangi rather than Queen Elizabeth II.

Dr Smith said “that is not the affirmation required by law. Hone Harwira will now leave the chamber and return to this chamber on a sitting day when he is prepared to make his affirmation according to the law of this land. Hone Harawira will now leave the chamber”.

MPs are allowed to take the oath in Te Reo, but Mr Harawira had attempted to swear allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi ahead of Parliament. This is not part of the oath.

Mr Harawira refused to leave, instead starting to make a speech in Te Reo. Dr Smith spoke over him, saying “Hone Harawira will now leave the chamber” and Mr Harawira followed the order but continued his speech.

As he left the chamber, his supporters in the public gallery were heard saying “this is rubbish” and broke into song.

An MP was also heard shouting “no respect” at Mr Harawira.

Dr Smith called for order but to no avail, with the waiata continuing over top of Dr Smith’s plea “I ask visitors to please respect this house”.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman attempted to get leave from Parliament for Mr Harawira to return and read the affirmation, but other MPs objected.

Dr Smith said “I regretted very much interrupting a waiata. A waiata is such a fundamental part of the culture of this country but under the circumstances, abuse under the law of this country cannot be celebrated either.We must all remember we as members are not above the law”.

Dr Smith told MPs after Mr Harawira was made to leave the pair had spoken earlier and Dr Smith told Mr Harawira New Zealand law required the affirmation be made in a specific manner.

Minister of Revenue Peter Dunne criticised the singing of the Waiata.

“These very same people would want respect of their culture and traditions, yet they lack the dignity required to show respect for others.

“They clearly demonstrate that they respect no one’s tikanga but their own, and yet they would be the first to complain if someone disrespected their traditions.

“If I or anyone else went on to a marae and conducted ourselves as we wished, we would know about it in short order, and rightly so.

“This group should have extended the same respect to what can be regarded as our national marae,” Mr Dunne said.

Speaking on the steps of Parliament shortly after being thrown out, Mr Harawira said “[the speaker] chose not to let it happen and that’s something that, perhaps, he needs to think about…particularly because he’s allowed lots of others to make affirmations in lots of different ways”

Mr Harawira says he will return in a couple of weeks and take the correct oath.

Prime Minister John Key, speaking from Christchurch, says Mr Harawira is “the master of his stunts [and only] Hone Harawira could pull that sort of stunt.

“It’s not really that hard to read out the words on a card is it, it’s beyond me”

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