By Willie Jackson
“All Harawira wants to see is the disintegration of all Pakeha.”
That was the redneck response we got on RadioLIVE after Hone Harawira implied that the Maori Party MPs were "house niggers".
How anyone could deduce from Harawira's comments that he wanted to see Pakeha destroyed is beyond me.
But that observation should be a reminder to him that some Kiwis hate his guts and will pounce every time he makes a mistake.
And on this occasion he most certainly made a mistake which was validated by a major poll where 92 per cent of people said Harawira was out of line.
Harawira's criticism on Facebook came after the Maori Party decided not to attend a national hui on water that had been called by Tainui King Tuheitia.
Harawira felt that they were trying to appease John Key who didn't want a hui and so let rip.
Co-leader Pita Sharples subsequently changed his mind and attended the hui and of course Harawira took credit for his change of heart.
What Harawira didn't bank on though was the hysterical reaction to his use of the term.
Despite Harawira's denial, Sharples said to me in an interview that undoubtedly he was referring to them.
The shame about Harawira's comments is that he has undone much of his good work since being re-elected last November.
He is constantly fighting for the rights of the poor, both Maori and Pakeha, but his obsession with bringing the Maori Party down has got him embroiled in a controversy that he doesn't need.
Calling Sharples and Turia such names is just plain stupid.
Neither of them are that and both have made sacrifices through their lives for Maori.
Labelling someone a house nigger is a terrible insult, in fact many black American academics classify it as the worst terminology you could ever apply to a human being.
So why Harawira was so ill disciplined with his criticism of the Maori Party is anyone's guess.
If he had just called them sell-outs no-one would have raised an eyebrow but unfortunately he went too far.
His reluctance to make the transition from activist to Maori statesman is a worry.
He has distinguished himself alongside Winston Peters and Metiria Turei as the top Maori opposition politician.
And Maoridom looks to him every time when they need someone to take the fight to government on an important Maori issue, water being the latest example.
But if he continues with his tirade against the Maori Party he will not only lose working class Pakeha support but mainstream Maori support and forever be branded an activist which would be a real shame.
Auckland Now, 14th September 2012