Alf has more in common with the stroppy Hone Harawira than he had imagined.
Hone – it transpires – wanted to become a minister when the Maori Party first went into coalition with National in 2008.
Alf wanted to be one too.
But whereas Alf has made plain his thwarted ambition from time to time in this blog, Hone hasn’t made much noise about his disappointment, although he makes a great deal of noise about all sorts of other things.
Now his ministerial aspirations have been flushed into the open by the leaking of a confidential statement by Hone’s caucus colleague, Te Ururoa Flavell.
The confidential statement obviously is confidential no longer, of course, because its contents have been regurgitated by the Herald to a large audience.
The report brings attention to matters to be discussed at the disciplinary hearing to deal with Hone.
In his submission to today’s disciplinary committee hearing against Mr Harawira, obtained by the Herald, Mr Flavell said both he and the Te Tai Tokerau MP were prepared to take up ministerial positions – belying Mr Harawira’s recent strong criticisms of his party for staying in the coalition.
“Put it this way: If he was to have received a ministerial position, would he still be writing to criticise the relationship? Answer: I doubt it.”
As most people with any interest in politics and Maori Party wrangling now know, Flavell laid a complaint against Hone a month ago over a column the MP wrote in a Sunday newspaper in which he criticised the coalition and questioned the Maori Party’s leadership and direction.
The point of airing Hone’s ministerial aspirations is to counter his claims that the party has gone off the rails and sold its people out by dealing with National.
But we are just warming up at that juncture, because…
Mr Flavell was also scathing about Mr Harawira’s criticism of National as “anti-worker” and “anti-environment,” saying the MP had had difficulties with his own staff and once told the caucus he did not believe in climate change and nobody would tell him to drive a smaller car.
“So he champions the cause and yet abuses the cause as he feels.”
Alf can see from this that he has even more in common with Hone than ministerial ambitions.
Not believing in climate change, for example.
And the refusal to be told to drive a smaller car.
Way to go, Hone.
So what else is there?
Let’s go back to 2008.
Mr Flavell said Mr Harawira had backed the relationship with National at the time. He described the newspaper column as “lies, mistruths, misleading statements about everything but himself and his part in things”.
Alf urges his readers to go to the Herald to read the rest for themselves.
It’s good shit-stirring stuff.
Hone is “talking himself up” and “big-noting” by constantly painting himself as the only true voice of Maoridom and “spits the dummy” if he doesn’t get his way.
The pity is that Hone missed out on a ministerial job, because Cabinet meetings with him at the table would have been fun.
But what portfolios did he want?
The confidential document does not say, but Alf can imagine him in the Police or Rugby World Cup portfolios.
This would have resulted in some interesting family chats around the Harawira family dinner table, because his mum is saying she will use the Rugby World Cup as an opportunity to air Maori grievances and make a political statement.
The tournament is just 200 days away and Maori Council executive member Titewhai Harawira said she was determined to expose the treatment of Maori to foreign media.
“I want to be telling international media that all those reports they get that say we are well looked after and our land is intact are rubbish,” she told the Sunday Star-Times.
She hoped to put together a whole chronology of what had “happened in this country”.
Maori Council executive member Ngaire Te Hira is quoted as saying Maori have a lot to be frustrated about this year including anger over historical mining on ancestral Tainui burial grounds, proposed mining in Northland, and the foreshore and seabed bill.
“We are a first-nation people who have been willing to share and be patient, but I’m afraid some of us are running out of patience,” she said.
Whenever it comes to being first, Alf likes to think he should qualify.
But Mrs Grumble checked it out for him at Wikipedia and says it seems that Te Hira is saying Maori are Canadians because:
First Nations is a term of ethnicity that refers to the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
Let’s try another source –
First Nation has gained wide acceptance in Canada since the early 1980s. Like Native American (which has little currency in Canada), First Nation provides a respectful alternative to Indian, a term that is more likely to be taken as directly offensive in Canada than it is in the United States.
Maybe Hone could be given the new portfolio of Home Affairs – or Emigration – to be charged with sending the malcontents back to Canada from whence some of them believe they came and/or belong.
Labour Party and Green Party supporters could similarly be shipped out.