Friday, November 18, 2005

Another (only fair) maiden

Update: Harawira maiden speech is at 3pm today. I'll check on delivery!

The first thing to remember is Hone Harawira is no intellectual. He has got where he is so far through bullying, an imposing physical presence and a limited range of treaty rhetoric.

Those who have followed him through numerous Waitangi Day protests will be amused by his maiden speech where he dressed down MPs for poor behaviour and childishness: "The point-scoring, the malicious statements made under protection of parliamentary privilege, the interruptions, the abuse, the chanting, and the sheer immaturity of parliamentary debate … (the Maori Party is) committed to raising the standard of debate within the house, and to trying to eliminate the poor behaviour that parliament has become notorious for."

Harawira also promised Maori Party MPs will use te reo Maori at every opportunity "to open our speeches, to preface our questions, and to make our points in the house."

I am reminded of a conversation with the late Matiu Rata when NZ First's "tight five" got into Parliament and started talking te reo Maori at every opportunity.

You don't go to Parliament to speak in a language none of the rest of them understand, said Rata.

Here's another option Hone. Learn how to speak their language, the language of rules and procedures, clauses and subclauses and schedules and regulations, of laws and lawmaking. That is your job, lawmaking. The recent intakes of Maori MPs have been pretty poor at the mechanics of the job. It's dry, it's boring, but it's extremely necessary.

1 Comments:

Blogger t selwyn said...

Your characterisation of Harawira is accurate from the people I've spoken to and from what I have seen. But it is also true that he has changed markedly in style and tone since being chosen as a candidate.

"You don't go to Parliament to speak in a language none of the rest of them understand, said Rata." - Well the first thing is to change that - to make them understand. It may take a generation or two but the Maori Party are right to use Te Reo at every opportunity and lead by example. What is the situation in Canada? I would be surprised if there wasn't a single MP there who did not have a working understanding of both French and English. So too for dual languages in Ireland, Belgium etc. Bi-lingualism is an obtainable goal and they are right to use Parliament to promote it.

"The recent intakes of Maori MPs have been pretty poor at the mechanics of the job. It's dry, it's boring, but it's extremely necessary." - All discernable from one week in Parliament! Jones, Sharples, Bennett, Harawira, Flavell etc. are written off as "poor at the mechanics" after five sitting days! Without a single meeting of a select committee! What a truly remarkable call. What magic ball are you using these days pray tell?!

3:27 PM  

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