Better Democracy NZ is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation.

Our mission is to foster the improvement of New Zealand's democratic system and encourage the use of direct democracy through the

Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

MP behaviour at Waikato University

My letter to Maori MPs and local newspapers. For those of you who do not know, I am studying Economics & Political Science at Waikato University.

Today Waikato University Political Science students were addressed by Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.

As one of those students I would like to voice my disgust about how Mr Harawira conducted himself during this address. Mr Harawira used obscene language in front of students. The F word was mentioned by him along with other misguided colloquial terms. This behaviour was totally inappropriate in such a place and is hardly a glowing example of what a role model for young people should be.

During the address I attempted to ask a question, but before I could even get the question out, Mr Harawira got very aggressive with me, even though I was not abusive or threatening in anyway what so ever. He shouted me down and even mimicked me, trying to belittle me. Why, I do not know, perhaps he felt threatened in some way by me? He instantly took offence, before I could even finish my question, when I started to say as part of my question, that Maori and Chinese in New Zealand, are a minority. Surely this is simply a mathematical fact and hardly suggesting anything derogatory about Maori or Chinese. I would expect far better behaviour and control from a prominent Member of Parliament.

How this Member of Parliament treated me will have no effect on me personally, given my age, political experience and background. I have had far more intelligent people than him attack me in the past, but if I were another student in the same position, I can see how they could possibly be quite upset or even traumatised by this. Other students showed concern toward me after Mr Harawira's outburst.

If Mr Harawira is going to represent Parliament, the Maori Party and Maoridom, I would suggest he show a little more maturity and control over his manner and his use of language. His comments, manner and attitude came across as that of a racist thug.

I will also be asking the Waikato University not to invite him back on to campus because of his use of language and his aggressive and rude nature.

Steve Baron
Mature Student of Waikato University and Founder of Better Democracy NZ


Rachel Davies said...

The author of this note indicates that he has political experience as a mature student and that Mr. Harawira was invited on to the campus so other students could familiarise themselves with politics and policy.

The behaviour of both you and the MP in question has given students all the insight they need as to how these processes work and how politicians and aspiring politicians tend to act when put on the spot.

Get over it for goodness sake.

Steve Baron said...

Being the author of this note, I would have to ask Rachel to explain why you infer why my behaviour is called into question here? I was simply trying to ask a reasonable question, only to receive a barrage of abuse from a very aggressive Member of Parliament that should be acting in a far more reasonable manner. I have argued and debated with far more intelligent people than Hone Harawira, but there is a time and a place for everything. This certainly was not the time and place for his behaviour in response to a simple question from a student. I have the greatest respect for Maori leaders such as Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples who are dignified and intelligent people. Mr Harawira is nothing more than a racist thug, and if Maori look up to this man they need to set their sights a little higher.

I am pleased to say, in all my dealing with many MPs, Mr Harawira is the exception and not the rule.

Mark said...

What was your question (ver batim)?

Steve Baron said...

Here is the question I was trying to ask, as requested.

"Given the injustices past governments have imposed on minorities like Maori, Chinese, homosexual (he became very agressive and cut me off here), would you and or the Maori party support the introduction of binding referendums as a check and balance on governments."

I attempted to rephrase the question so as not to refer to any of the three as a minority but got shouted down again. His opinion is that Maori are not a minority, but tangata whenua.

Here is a story in the Waikato times about it link textEvidently I am the racist and got my comeuppance although I fail to see that anything I said was racist or even aggressive. If Maori students clapped it was not because he put me down or because of what I said, it was because they supported the fact that they were tangata whenua. I even had Maori students comment to me afterwards that they didn't like the way he treated me and didn't think that was fair.

Mark said...

Fairly benign sort of question I would have thought ...

Bryan Spondre said...

A reasonable question. I tend to agree with Liberty Scott: some Maori view themselves as not just a different race but a special race.

Maxim said...

We are all of the one life flowing ever from and unto itself.

We are all of us unique and special. Each has the gift of presense; that may be resting in peace and love or it may be aligned with the God of War Tu and be very divisive and agressive.

There is a well known saying from within the self responsible healing movements and modalities. "That which you resist persists." To gently open dialogue and disarm the agressive debater is perhaps the great challenge here Steve. For only through honourable (and honouring)dialogue can we ever expect to move into a space of acceptable common sense consensus reality where all feel welcomed to and by a greater family.

Blessings from another dreamer.

Rusty Kane said...

No I didn't know Steve.. And you better get used to the like's of Hone Harawira obscene language and attitude.. It is the future of New Zealand politics. You may now be wondering why you are still bothering to study Economics & Political Science at Waikato University if that is the case.

Steve Baron said...

In the address Hone made the statement that if one person in the room sat there thinking "Yeah, Hone's the man!" and that motivated that person to make a difference then he has achieved his goal.(or words to that effect).

I would suggest that if anyone in that room thought that "Hone's the man", they need to set their sights a little higher.

I have the greatest respect for people like Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, both are dignified and intelligent people, people to aspire to.

I suggested to Maori TV when they interviewed me that the people of Te Tai Tokerau should consider a more appropriate representative.

There are many up there to consider. One that comes to mind is Barry Hauraki from Kaitaia, another in the mold of Sharples and Turia.

Rusty Kane said...

"I have the greatest respect for people like Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, both are dignified and intelligent people, people to aspire to".

Early days Steve.. I suggest you take those words with a pinch of salt..I stood against Tariana in Te Tai Hauauru By-Election and you could tell she personaly had very anti pakeha views and was very naive when it came to any policy. She always had to have a group of close advisers covering her back. Peter on the other hand I meet over a Latte at the Curry Leaf Restaurant in Titirangi and he's a very cultured smart cookie. He told me you first have to get the honkies own your side before you eat them.(no doubt a bit of tongue and cheek). I like the guy. But personally wouldn't trust any of them to be in a position of power to look after me or my family. Thanks.