March 19, 2019

Phil Goff rules out working with Harawira’s Mana Party

Despite what the opinion polls, the media and my colleagues think, I am meaningful...I think.

New Zealand Labour Party leader Phil Goff has ruled out working with anyone in Hone Harawira’s new Mana Party.

Mr Harawira a former Maori Party MP, left the Maori Party in February after being suspended from caucus for criticising its involvement in government policy.

Harawira launched the left-wing Mana Party on Saturday and announced he would force a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau, which he won for the Maori Party in 2008.

A by-election is a costly exercise for the taxpayers, but it would give Harawira some much needed media attention as he seeks to mould his new party into a political force.

Phil Goff had already ruled out forming any kind of coalition with Hone Harawira after the general election due in November.

Now Labour spokeswoman Vikki Carter says Mr Goff had now extended that decision to any MP who enlists with the Mana Party.

“He doesn’t prescribe to the values of Hone Harawira. You can’t work with that”.

“At this point he’s ruling the Mana Party out.”

Obviously Goff’s refusal to work with anyone involved with Harawira is designed to prevent anyone jumping ship and signing up to the Mana Party.

With high profile political figures, Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten already being lined up as possible candidates, the Mana Party is rapidly looking less like a one man band.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said he was “shocked and disappointed” Mr Harawira intends to force a by-election in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate, and says his party may stand a candidate.

The problem at the moment for Phil Goff is that it doesn’t matter who he says he will or will not work with after the November election.

With his party and personal ratings somewhere near the bottom of the barrel, Goff is a bit like the most umpopular guy in school announcing he is refusuing to have anything to do with the ‘cool’ crowd.

Phil does not really have the luxury of pulling the chain on potential allies, no matter how unlikely they seem.