Brian Edwards Media

Worthless Apologies from Harawira and Hide

rodney-small11

 

 

 

 

 Rodney Hide, leader of ACT,  the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, has apologised for bilking the very people his party purports to represent – taxpayers.

Photo: Mark Mitchell

Photo: Mark Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hone Harawira has reportedly sent an email to the Maori Party apologising ‘unreservedly’ for any harm he had done to it in his ‘choice of words’ to  former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere. The ‘choice of words’ included ‘white man bullshit’  and ‘white motherfuckers’.

I was reminded by these events of my Northern Irish Protestant mother’s uncharitable interpretation of confession in the Roman Catholic church - that you could sin on Monday, confess on Tuesday, commit the same sin on Wednesday and so ad infinitum.

Confession of that sort would be worthless since it would not be motivated by genuine remorse or real intention to change one’s ways, but would  simply be a device to get oneself off the hook.  

Hide and Harawira’s ‘apologies’ strike me as equally worthless.

Harawira may actually be less culpable than Hide, since his outburst was motivated by the rage against Pakeha which flows in the very veins of the Harawira family. There was passion in it. He may also feel genuine remorse for any harm his words may have done to the Maori Party, and it is solely to them that his ‘unreserved’ apology is directed. No one who has followed his career could possibly believe that ‘white man bullshit’ and ‘white motherfuckers’ were anything other than true expressions of his feelings towards the European colonists of Aotearoa.

Hide is a different cup of tea. His apology is worthless because it lacks credibility. He has apparently had an epiphany. He wants us to believe that for an entire week he believed he had done nothing wrong. Then the light suddenly came on and he realised that tripping around the world with his girlfriend at taxpayers’ expense ‘was wrong’. He wants us to believe that he had been blinded by ‘the challenge, the hard work and the excitement’ of his ministerial job’ and had ‘lost sight of’ the awareness that every dollar the Government spent came out of the pocket of a New Zealander.

This is the equivalent of a policeman saying that ‘because of the challenge, the hard work and the excitement of his job’ he momentarily ‘lost sight of’ the fact that it was illegal to shoplift. Not breaking the law would always be uppermost in a policeman’s mind. Not ripping off the taxpayer would always be uppermost in ‘perkbuster’ Rodney Hide’s mind, and it is inconceivable that he did not consider the wisdom or the morality of what he was doing when he decided to charge the taxpayer for his girl-friend-accompanied trips to Europe, the US and Hawaii. He did and he calculated the risk as low. He was wrong.

These apologies have nothing to do with remorse. They are self-serving and self-interested responses to public and media outrage designed to salvage Hide’s and Harawira’s reputations and make things right with the public, their parties and coalition partners. Harawira will no doubt be taken back into the Maori Party fold, but, if immediate public reaction to his declaration of ‘remorse’ is anything to go by,  it is extremely doubtful whether Hide will ever be able to salvage his reputation.  

 

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24 Comments:

  1. On one hand, you could say Rodney is a write-off; well and truly bloated, after gorging himself on his just desserts. But, he’s blessed with the
    ‘hide’ of a rhino, and the electorate often has the memory retention to rival a gnat’s. I’m inclined to think he’s headed towards political
    oblivion. But, then again, I won’t be too surprised — if, two years hence, he’s out campaigning in a loud eye-dazzling fluro-coloured yellow jacket. Such are the vagaries of politics and the ever-changing alchemy of public opinion, to forgive and forget. Give him a few more months to see if his career vectors are actually plunging down a death spiral; or, if he’s managed to re-set the controls and realign them, to head upwards. Who knows?

    With regard to Hone’s obscene-laced proselytizing,
    which would make a Black rapper, wince…… well, Hone’s just being Hone. No need for outrage
    Maybe, a wan, sickly smile. And the response from Dover Samuels, Pita Sharples et al, are entirely predictable. Any disciplinary tribunal to be convened, will come with the proviso that all
    members come armed with a wet bus ticket.
    In camera — jocular — remonstration, would be followed by much rib-crushing embracing and the flowing tears of redemption and forgiveness; all for the benefit of the news reporters.
    I never minded Hone hightailin’ it over to Paris. Kudos to him, knowing how to make the travel arrangements to get there, himself. Or, was he
    helped by the NZ Consular staff? No point in his attending those meetings anyway. Let’s be honest: Hone had nothing to add, and nothing to take away
    with him, from these parliamentary talkfests. Best
    he remain mute; rather, than attempt to engage in dialogue and be hopelessly bewildered. Having said that, he could have validated his attendance by availing himself of the opportunity and
    showcase some Maori culture — to delight the sophisticated, sage ‘white’ Euro pollies. You know: don a grass skirt, do an impromptu haka; twirl a couple of pois; strum a guitar, singing
    PO’kare kare ana. And the ultimate cultural ambassadorial gesture of goodwill: Moon them.

    • On one hand, you could say Rodney is a write-off; well and truly bloated, after gorging himself on his just desserts. But, he’s blessed with the ‘hide’ of a rhino, and the electorate often has the memory retention to rival a gnat’s. I’m inclined to think he’s headed towards political oblivion.

      I’m not so sure that Rodney will survive. Hypocrisy is the one unforgivable crime in public life. And as examples go, this is a beauty. It’s outrageous that he’s there at all. An electoral system that gives him 5 MPs on fewer votes than Peters, who has no seats at all, got for New Zealand First is desperately in need of overhaul. I’ve also had some personal experience of Hide which left me with the indelible opinion that he is a really nasty piece of work.

  2. Regardless of what the poor general electorate might think, I am constantly amazed by the capacity for the politically aligned to make allowances for their favourites. Rodney has already been feted for his “honesty” on some blogs, although I fail to see why one should be doing so. I’d rather that my staff (MPs) didn’t attempt this kind of rort in the first place, rather than apologising for it later and expecting a pat on the head.

    As for your mother’s views on Catholicism, perhaps I can quote Blind Raiftaire in riposte:

    Fág uaim do eaglais ghallda
    Is do chreideamh gan bonn gan bhrí
    Mar gurb é is cloch bonn dóibh
    Magairlí Anraí Rí.

    (Loosely translated: Pay no heed to the Protestant minister/and his creed without meaning or faith/for the foundation stones of his temple/are the bollocks of Henry the Eighth.)

    • As for your mother’s views on Catholicism, perhaps I can quote Blind Raiftaire in riposte:

      My position on sectarian hatred in Northern Ireland has always been “a plague on both your houses”.

  3. It’s outrageous that he’s there at all. An electoral system that gives him 5 MPs on fewer votes than Peters, who has no seats at all, got for New Zealand First is desperately in need of overhaul.

    How can it be outrageous that someone who wins an electorate race is in Parliament? Surely it would only be outrageous if he weren’t in Parliament?

    Is it outrageous that there are 5 Maori Party MPs despite the Maori Party getting only 55,000 votes (cf. ACT’s 85,000 votes, and NZF’s 95,000 votes)? Is it outrageous that Judith Tizard isn’t an MP even though she got more votes (13,180) than Pita Sharples (12,876)?

    I’d have said that the outrageous result is not that Rodney Hide is in Parliament, and that ACT’s 85,000 voters are proportionally represented in Parliament, but that Winston Peters isn’t there and NZF’s 95,000 voters are not represented.

    The solution to the disenfranchisement of 95,000 NZF voters is not to disenfranchise 85,000 ACT voters as well, but to enfranchise them all. At its most basic: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    • How can it be outrageous that someone who wins an electorate race is in Parliament? Surely it would only be outrageous if he weren’t in Parliament?

      A lot of disparate topics here. I clearly wasn’t suggesting that Hide be disenfranchised. I was pointing to the situation that is obvious to most people, that an electoral system that gives A five seats in parliament when B, who has significantly more votes, gets no seats, is clearly anomalous and unfair. Either the threshold has to be lowered or the “one electorate seat gets your party in” rule has to be abandoned.

      The Maori seats are an entirely different issue. They reflect the view that the tangata whenua have a special claim to guaranteed representation in the New Zealand parliament, a view which I support.

      As for Rodney, who defamed my wife in parliament, but didn’t have the guts to repeat his remarks outside the House, I have nothing but contempt for the man.

  4. “My position on sectarian hatred in Northern Ireland has always been “a plague on both your houses”.”

    Mine also. Shame we are in such a minority, even now.

    • “My position on sectarian hatred in Northern Ireland has always been “a plague on both your houses”.” Mine also. Shame we are in such a minority, even now.

      Fair enough. But I actually think that New Zealand is freer from this sort of prejudice than most countries I’m familiar with.

  5. mr edwards, i’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on mr harawira’s apology today on radio waatea – an improvement?

    • mr edwards, i’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on mr harawira’s apology today on radio waatea – an improvement?

      I’ll have to get back to you. Haven’t heard it yet.

  6. I am under-whelmed by Hone Harawira’ s apology.

    It wasn’t really an apology as such, Mr Harawira merely admitted that he didn’t use the clearest technical terms in his email. Aapparently, the term Mr Harawira should have used was “European colonisers”.

    Therefore Mr Harawira’s basic message is – because of colonialism he can pick and choose which rules he obeys as a Member of Parliament. He can also blatantly blow-off work if he feels like it at the taxpayers’ expense. If anyone has a different opinion, they are trapped in a colonial mind set which is an inappropriate framing to understand Mr Harawira’s activities.

    This is worse than the original profanities. I don’t actually care if an MP swears, I do care if they think their actions are accountable only to themselves, and not to the Parliament and Public of New Zealand. If Mr Harawira doesn’t like the rules, he can chose not to be an MP.

    As for Rodney Hide’s apology, I can only agree with your views, -no wonder Braunias rates this blog.

    • I am under-whelmed by Hone Harawira’ s apology.

      I agree. I haven’t watched tonight’s news, so don’t yet know what Harawira has done today. But Peta Sharples, whom I greatly admire, made a very good when asked in Harawira should be made to apologise. He saId that such an apology would clearly be meaningless. He wouldn’t tell Harawira to apologise, but he would say he would like him to.

  7. Harawira’s choice of expletives intrigues me. I mean the one that suggests the most heinous of universal taboos.
    I’ve always considered it to be associated with low-brow American culture, rather than our own. Personally, I cannot bring myself to adopt it, but so be it.

    I find it curious that Harawira – who is fairly outspoken about white colonisers having imposed their culture on Maoridom – seems prepared to adopt this particular culture which is being rammed down our collective throats. From where I sit it looks like he’s embracing US cultural imperialism …
    But maybe I’m being too snarky.

    • Harawira’s choice of expletives intrigues me. I mean the one that suggests the most heinous of universal taboos.

      I don’t think you’re being ‘too snarky at all. Your point is a very good one. The sad thing is not that the man is a hothead, but that he is a highly intelligent hothead.

  8. As a white MOFA I have to confess a sneaking admiration for Hone. His language is a bit ripe but he is doing what he is paid to do; representing his Maori electorate. And what he says is right; Maori have been systematically raped including by a recent Labour Government responsible for a piece of disgusting legislation which would have made the 19th century settlers proud of them.

    I can’t get too excited over his side trip to Paris. Beside the excesses of Hide, Douglas, the two Carters, Dunne, and others it was a minor act. The only thing I cannot forgive him for was saying the Louvre was made famous by the film theDa Vinci Code. God help me!

    I find the general tone of the responses predictable. You probably do not listen to talk back radio, but on any day of the week you are likely to hear some caller say he is not a rascist and then proceed to make some outrageous generalisation against Polynesian, Chinese and anyone else of a different skin colour.

    Apart from the language I see little difference between Hone and Michael Laws and many talk back hosts and callers and on balance I have more respect for HH.

    My final point is the astounding ignorance of those who somehow equate HH with MMP when he is an electorate MP. With that appalling level of ignorance what chance is there for a rational debate and decision over the future voting system?

    • As a white MOFA I have to confess a sneaking admiration for Hone. His language is a bit ripe but he is doing what he is paid to do; representing his Maori electorate. And what he says is right;

      Well, the history is right, but the term “motherfucking whites” does not just refer to historical wrongs, it refers to all Pakeha, past and present. I object to being called a “motherfucking white” and I very much doubt that if I were to use the term “motherfucking blacks” or “motherfucking Maori” on Jim Mora’s show, Mr De Bres would take such a blase approach to the issue. A serious and indefensible double standard here, Commissioner!

      My problem with Mr Harawira is the same problem that I have with all his family. They hate Pakeha. In that at least his recent outburst had the ring of truth.

  9. If Hone Harawira is the answer, what the hell was New Zealand’s question?

  10. Aye, indoctrinated at the knee of intolerance, and despite undenied capacity for intelligence the disconnection between considered thought and (aligned) action remains. The tongue beats the ‘brain’, impulse beats temperance, and these two men appear to be returning to ‘base type’ – how revealing!
    I look at it this way, around these parts parents give their sons money to take the rubbish to the dump, they dump the rubbish on the nearest riverbed and party on the money. The lust for a party over-rides the value of a clean environment. Money beats duty.
    I wonder if these politicians have ever questioned (never challenged!) the parental mold that formed their attitudes and rebellions and their continued relevance in the line of ‘contemporary public duty’?
    It seems clear that when Hide had his ‘make-over’ he only did a half-baked job. Harawera is just spewing an indoctinated mantra to amuse his sycophantic mates (not the white ones I presume.)

  11. Brian, re your comment “My problem with Mr Harawira is the same problem that I have with all his family. They hate Pakeha. In that at least his recent outburst had the ring of truth.”
    I saw a very respectful and considered interview with him during a programme documenting Sue Bradford’s life and career, on Maori TV
    They are both activists but it was interesting to see his warmth.

  12. baz: “They are both activists but it was interesting to see his warmth”.

    The problem is, is that: “His” so-called “warmth” comes straight from the fires of hell.

  13. “The problem is, is that: “His” so-called “warmth” comes straight from the fires of hell.”
    Oh dear. This sounds a little like a Southern Evangelist.

    • “The problem is, is that: “His” so-called “warmth” comes straight from the fires of hell.” Oh dear. This sounds a little like a Southern Evangelist.

      It does.

  14. BE: “It does.”

    Ok, Ok — “fires of Hell” changed to ‘Dante’s Inferno’, then. All happy, now?.