Hmmmmmm ... Hone Harawiri. The name alone should be enough bring the corpuscles of all blue blooded White Anglo Saxon Protestants to the boil. Justified?
To understand Hone we need to understand just why he has Te Tai Tokerau sown up for as long as he wants to be in Parliament.
Labour had for decades treated that electorate as a dumping ground for failures. Back in the 60s and 70s it was Dr Bruce Gregory; still around and still bombarding the local rag with unintelligible comment. Then came Matt Rata who was the repository of endless jokes of the comic book variety by Bob Jones and who, single handily, funded the NZ Racing industry for decades leaving behind in his wake a trail of failed projects designed to alleviate Maori dependence on Social Welfare. Finally there was Dover Samuels who discovered a whole range of new uses for hotel corridors and thought so much of New Zealand that he is now resident in Australia.
So really Hone didn't have too much of a road to hoe when he took the seat for the Maori Party. In 2005 he won the seat off Samuels by 3413 and three years later increased his majority to 6308 (against one of Labour's bright new hopes, Kelvin Davies).
So why? Simply, Hone articulates the concerns of Ngapuhi and panders to their prejudices. They see Hone is 'their' man standing up for 'their' rights.
We might feel uncomfortable with that but then Hone doesn't have to answer to us.
But there is another side of Hone. When I hit him up for a donation to the Vietnam Veterans Children's & Grandchildren's Trust which I am privileged to Chair he pulled out his personal cheque book and said "how much do you want?". I named a generous figure and he didn't blink an eyelid.
So, am I afraid of Hone? No I'm not because with him you get what you see. I know exactly where he is coming from and that makes it easy. I don't see him as a threat.
It's those straw politicians who really get me going.