The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer



A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANAone who found himself convicted and imprisoned after being hired to work for MANA; and one who was charged just before the last Election).

Understandably, there have been some very, very pronounced reactions to this news. We take a dim view of sex-crimes in our society – particularly when they involve minors or children – so I can well understand the baying for blood that is presently emanating in ululating fashion from some quarters and commentators.

I can also very vaguely see why (but disagree utterly with the sentiment) some pro-MANA people are doggedly insisting that this is a beat-up by an aggressive media playing “Gotcha” with breathless reporting. It isn’t, but given that allegations InternetMANA was being funded by meth-money thanks to some of DotCom’s connections seemed to pretty much be the order of the day for right-wing shadow campaigning a few weeks prior to the election, and especially considering what we’ve now had confirmed for us in #DirtyPolitics about right-wing commentators literally *making things up* to try and smear opponents, this misguided mindset on the part of some war-weary MANAites is not totally inexplicable. There’s also assumedly a whole helluvalot of cognitive dissonance for some of the good people who joined up and campaigned for MANA on the assumption that it was the party of child poverty … only to find out that child pederasty is what’s potentially been lurking on the payroll thereof.

That’s actually one of the things that renders this situation so tragic. Given that the offending (alleged or otherwise) of two of the staff involved was carried out against children (Mr Awaru is charged with raping a girl younger than twelve, while Mr Taylor was imprisoned for sexually grooming young boys), the fact that so very much of MANA’s appeal and key policy is child-based makes this situation all the graver. The duality between a party whose kaupapa is so driven toward caring for our younger and more vulnerable citizens yet whose Parliamentary Services crew-complement features individuals who either have preyed upon, or are alleged to be in the business of preying upon, exactly those same kids definitely makes this all the more wrenching.

My heart really does go out to the hundreds of MANA members around the country who’ve had to suffer a string of body-blows over the last month or so. First there was the election loss, then the recount added votes for Davis, and now allegations of the tacit non-condemnation of sex offenders are being added to the tally. It’s certainly getting more difficult to see how MANA will be able to recover from all of this and seek successful re-election in three years’ time considering all that has happened – and, importantly, the fact that we’re stilll yet to get the full picture about what’s occurred.

Through my years advancing in these political trenches ever closer to the Front Lines down in Wellington, I’ve become increasingly enamoured of the idea that political parties’ Parliamentary operations (i.e. their Bowen House offices and use of Parliamentary Services resources) should not always enjoy the rigorous protection from OIA that they presently do. I say this not only because I’ve occasionally found myself reduced to having to call up reception and ask to be put through to such-and-such in order to divine  whether a particular of my political enemies is still acting as a waste of taxpayer money by being employed by a political party … but also because with the way things are set up at the moment, it’s *very* possible for the leaders of parties to use their operational budgets to do some pretty *ahem* interesting things without a skerrick of scrutiny for how they’re spending *our* money. I won’t go into detail, but the difficulty concerned citizens are going to have working out what’s transpired here thanks to these protections ought to be evidence enough that perverse outcomes can ensue from this cone of silence.

Further, despite the legal protections afforded to MANA and other parties when it comes to revealing to us down here in the cheap seats how they’re using our coin, I would respectfully contend Harawira has something of a moral duty to front up and explain – not just to us taxpayers, but to his own long-suffering party members – exactly what’s been going on here with his staffing allocations.

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Until then, we’re left asking “what didn’t he know, and when didn’t he know it?” of Harawira, and I’d also be inclined to ask why Awarau was not stood down as soon as Harawira and MANA became aware of the charges laid against him.

As-is, and acutely conscious of the necessity of balancing both the needs and the deservedly protected status of the survivors with what appears to be the desire of about a third of the political spectrum to make this look as bad as possible for Harawira and MANA … Hone deserves the chance to explain what, exactly, has happened.

As his staffers’ paymasters and the people whom he helped to govern and represent for the best part of a decade … we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of that (non-)explanation.


  1. Your point about political parties parliamentary operations being more open to scrutiny is an excellent one. The solution to ‘dirty politics’ is surely to open political machinations to much greater public scrutiny.

  2. We live in a predatory society.It should not came as a surprise since human predators are attracted to communities that are stressed economically.That sexual predators tend to garner more opprobrium that those at the top, who use the state as a weapon of mass destruction,is understandably but tends to limit the conversation on causation.The problem with sexual predators in N Z has been around since the first colonist.

    • Are seriously trying to suggest that sexual molestation didn’t happen in pre-European times? That sexual abuse of children is some kind of Pakeha invention?

  3. But it applies to all – John Key has not answered any of the questions arising from Dirty (vile) Politics …. and was this latest revelation of the sex offenders more of Cameron Slater’s work. Nicky Hager is accused of using ‘stolen’ emails. What were the emails Cameron Slater used – it is still burglary regardless of if your door is locked or unlocked. It all should be on the table so we all, left and right, can insist in the cleaning up of our political system. Is this the way we want to be governed? Is this how we expect our politicians to behave?

    • On paper yes, but in the mind of the public, the difference is light years apart, as the above article acknowledges. Theft, lying, blackmail, corruption, that’s just thought of as undesirable skullduggery and the cut’n’thrust of modern politics. Child sex/abuse offences, even the suggestion of it – proved or not – sets people of all political leanings into a hysterical rage. Their ears close, their minds narrow, they no longer remain open to facts or reason or process. Everything ends. Game over. Measured on a scale of social prejudice, you’d be better off and more likely to win votes offering David Bain as a candidate.

      • In at least two cases there is no doubt at all – they were convicted! Sorry, very little sympathy for anyone who would harm a child here. Prejudiced against paedophiles? Damn straight!

        • What if giving them employment and social support helps them not re-offend? If that’s unpalatable, what should be done with them exactly?

          • You’re missing the word “suitable” before “employment and social support”, which doesn’t include positions of trust when you are an entity working with the community on child-centred policy.

            • so you are in favour of providing sex offenders with jobs and social support, providing it’s appropriate? Because I thought you just made a blanket statement about prejudice against them. Which is it?

              • I have very little interest in playing word games with defensive MANA supporters TBH. The sooner Hone fronts and the sooner his supporters accept that something has gone badly wrong somewhere, the sooner people will start respecting the party again.

                • I’m not supporting Mana in this instance (I also think they should front up). I’m just curious what you think should happen to sex offenders if they’re not to be given support to not reoffend. That’s entirely pertinent to this issue.

                  • Clearly they should be kept away from community organisations and political parties with child-centred policies.

  4. God what a mess, I can understand why Harawira has said nothing – what could he say? So that’s Mana dead then, as a party and brand. The way things have gone so spectacularly badly with the help of the “old hands”, maybe the good members of Mana could elect their own leaders, start another party and move on sans the heroes of the past. It’s a good lesson in why the cult of personality in politics is a liability.

  5. Who Hone employed is of little moment compared to the continued scumbaggery and irresponsibility of NAct, led so ably by some fuckwit who pretends not to be PM. But yeah, Winston First has always been best at Maori bashing, which began when Winnie pretended to be Italian all those years ago. Leave Hone alone. I’m sure he’ll make a statement soon enough, and when he does it will be because he wants to. Since he’s no longer paid by us, we can’t demand anything of him.

    • How is a piece that concludes with “Hone deserves the chance to explain what, exactly, has happened.” an instance of Maori-bashing.

      Also, what’s the relevance of that long-disproven “Luigi Peters” slander here? You trying to Winston-bash or something 😛

      [also, something something genetic fallacy]

  6. As a Mana voter I would like answers too. You can’t match dirty politics with dirty politics and claim the higher ground.

  7. Certainly don’t need any holier than though preaching from NZF tossers.
    Crawl back into your hole with all your mates like Prosser and Horan.

    • Sup man. I doubt this will influence your position or improve your opinion of me … but i) I’m the man who got Richard Prosser officially and formally censured by my Party for that idiotic article;

      ii) are you *really* trying to suggest that my analysis and/or commentary is wildly off *just* because of my party affiliation? Not even a quote? This is called a “genetic fallacy”, I believe.

      iii) “Holier than thou”, eh? Well, I guess I’m without sin (but not intentionally stone-casting) as applies having taxpayer-funded employees myself…

      But how’d you get “Holier than thou” out of a piece that ends with “Hone deserves the chance to explain what, exactly, has happened.”

      • I dont give a fuck if he is Mother Theresa. He belongs to most corrupt, bigoted, pack of arseholes on the planet who go by the name of NZF. Led by the king of the dog- whistlers. I despise them as much as I despise the ACT tossers. As soon as Winnie goes so does NZF. So to have some arsewipe come on here and lecture anyone about morality or ethics will draw this response every time. Why anyone who belongs to a socially conservative centre right party wants to blog here is beyond me. It is one of two things. He is in the wrong party or he is on the wrong site. If he wants to come on here and dog whistle like his master he can fuck off.

    • Unfair, Mark.

      I’ve dealt with Curwen on-line (social media, blogs, etc) and he has a social conscience as-good, if not better, than some in the Labour Party hierarchy.

      That he is in NZ First should be a bonus. Every political party should have members with a positive, progressive, social conscience. We might have a better country for it, and less harmful policies.

      • I don’t often disagree with you Frank but like his master he is just dog whistling. There is nothing about NZF i admire. No progressive with any sense of morality or ethics could go within a million miles of NZF. If this site is now to become home to socially conservative centre right bloggers, then its fucked.

  8. My impression is that Hone tends to take people for their words, and that he does not end working relationships or friendships simply because there have been some allegations made. It may be due to that, that he and Mana did not stand down the last accused when allegations were made, and charges were laid. Not guilty until proven guilty comes to mind, as the likely reasoning behind all this.

    It does certainly not look good, what we have got reported, and I also have the impression that Hone is portrayed as “guilty” by association. His refusal to respond to some recent calls to explain matters does not look good either. I am sure he was given the opportunity to make a statement, but the media may have themselves to blame to not get a response from Hone, given the one sided, biased reporting, and the mud slinging against Mana in the election campaign.

    Hone also worked with Dotcom on the basis of taking his words for being the truth, and he was not scared off by the charges laid against Dotcom in the US, he rather gave Kim Dotcom credit and saw the many accusations as probably being unjustified.

    Maybe it is Hone’s personal tendency to trust people, that is the explanation for three accused and in part convicted child abusers having been able to work for Mana? That is how I see it all, and it is more of “dirty politics” what the media and political opponents do towards Hone Harawira.

    After all, I am sure that Hone will continue his life journey of learning and becoming wiser, as he has done over recent years. I give him a chance to be back in Parliament. As for Mana, I think we need a new left leaning party, as Mana has (unfairly) been portrayed as the other “Maori” party, while it actually has a broader base. The past political miscalculations, the loss of the election and these new developments may convince some in Mana, that it maybe better to start off a clean slate by founding another, broader leftist party, left of “centrist” Labour.

    As for child abuse, it happens in some families, and gets passed on through generations, and sadly there have been a fair few incidents up north, which at the same time is the region where Hone has much of his political base. It is a coincidence that this happened to Mana.

  9. Only a week before Kelvin Davis made his disclosures , I filed an electoral petition ( with Kelvin as a respondent ) in the High Court , asking for a fresh election in Te Tai Tokerau . The case will be heard on November 13 & 14 in the Auckland High Court . Understandably , Kelvin doesn’t want to face a new election . Whether it is Hone Harawira or myself who is the real target of Kelvin’s smears , it will make no difference to the outcome of my case. ( Incidentally , this isn’t Hone’s case – he wasn’t advised or consulted before we filed it)
    There are more people imprisoned per head of population in Te Tai Tokerau than in any other electorate . Almost everyone knows someone who has been to prison and has lost their vote. Middleclass New Zealanders generally know no one like this . My early childhood was spent in the Hokianga – this is a population that really needs second chances if it is to better itself .

    • Harming children goes well beyond deserving second chances. This isn’t a matter of petty theft or going off the rails as a kid. If you’re more interested in looking after mates and family than protecting children, you are part of a culture that condones violence and rape of children.

  10. Here is me thinking innocent till proven guilty?

    So what Hone’s office got shot at, and we have answers?

    Was the car accident Hone had a accident or something else?

    Does Kelvin Davis have issues around sex-crimes, and if so, was it just a case of getting in first?

    So many questions and no answers – but please lets find some answers ah. Just one or two would be good – because if we tolerate this, then our children will be next.

  11. […] Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either acc…. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and supporters, this has been somewhat controversial (as demonstrated by the comments section). Some of this response, due to being blog-length and thus more easily disseminable, deserves engagement; although I’m rather disappointed that the general feeling I get from reading a number of pro-MANA perspectives on this issue which go something along the lines of “never mind the criminal charges or the victims …  this is *actually* about ethics in political-game journalism“. […]

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