Friday, April 26, 2013

Not acceptable

The Otago Daily Times reports that Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is consistently failing to turn up to Parliament:

Mana leader Hone Harawira described himself as going "to battle for those without a voice in Parliament" at his party's conference this month, but he has been a rare sight in Parliament this year.

In the nine weeks that Parliament has been in session, the MP has given just two speeches and asked one spoken question to a minister.

Mr Harawira has spoken only on the Prime Minister's statement after the opening of Parliament in January and on a debate into financial reviews of Government departments. Major legislation on which the Mana Party has taken a strong stand but Mr Harawira did not speak included the final stage of the welfare reforms.

Mr Harawira was also away on the day in which Treaty settlement bills were debated and for the passing of the same-sex marriage law, although earlier in the day, he had hosted a "Big Breakfast" for schoolchildren in Otara to publicise his member's bill for a free meal for low-decile schools.

While there's more to being an MP than just speaking and asking questions in the House, Harawira's performance seems to fall well below that of other members. And while some of it is tactical - he's trading questions away now so he can get more later in the year when his bill comes before the House - not all of it can be explained this way. Speaking slots aren't that rare, and his level of absences is far higher than normal. Bluntly, he's not doing his job.

This is not acceptable. We pay Harawira $141,800 $155,700 a year, plus slush fund and expenses, to represent the people of Te Tai Tokerau (and, in a wider sense, New Zealand). The least he can do is turn up. And if he can't be arsed doing that, he should resign and make space for someone who will.