Hone Harawira is whanau - Marama Fox

  • 08/04/2017

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox says her experience as a mum is going to be great for negotiating with Hone Harawira's Mana Party.

The two parties have pledged not to stand candidates against each other at this year's election, but Mr Harawira says he'll refuse to support any Māori Party candidate that backs the Ture Whenua Maori Bill, which aims to change Māori land governorship.

Mr Harawira's view is that it's a "poisonous and destructive cancer".

Ms Fox told The Nation on Saturday she's well-equipped to enter discussions with her angry counterpart.

"I try to be a foxy mama and I'm really bad at that, but I can be a mama fox. Those skills of being a mother and negotiating with nine children on a daily basis is going to help."

Mr Harawira has strongly criticised the Bill, calling it an "ugly and crude attempt to cut away the remaining protections over Māori  land".

"It will strip the mana of the Māori Land Court, transfer its powers to a Government agency, and deny Māori the right to appeal the agency's decisions," he said in March.

"Rules over who can make decisions over Māori land will change massively, and instead of strengthening Māori land ownership every one of those changes will make it easier for foreigners to get their hands on Māori land."

Ms Fox says Mr Harawira's criticism of the Bill appears to be based on an earlier draft, which has since had 130 changes.

"They're scared that this Bill will alienate land. They're scared that it will corporatise land. But anybody who has looked at it will know that it absolutely strengthens the place in the hold of Maori whenua," she told The Nation.

"I have read it line by line, clause by clause... I feel good about where it is."

Ms Fox says she and her co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will meet with Mr Harawira to discuss his concerns when their schedules allow it.

"I think we are actually friends and mates. The last time I was on The Hui last week with him, we went out and had lunch."