By John Minto
While the leaders of NZ First, Labour and the Greens were doing a lot of talking at last week’s EPMU job crisis meeting, Hone Harawira was being arrested on the frontline of the housing crisis. They talk the talk, Hone walks the walk. As soon as he was released, Hone was flying up north to meet with hunger striking beneficiary, Sam Kahu, to break his fasting protest after Paula Bennett had agreed to meet with him and his concerns over her cruel welfare policies which hurt hungry kids.
This country is in deep recession through no fault of those on the bottom of the heap and MANA's focus on the most vulnerable and poorest in society demands a political leadership that goes beyond lip service to action, that's why when Hone appeared in court, he refused to acknowledge the state’s ability to arrest him for defending the homeless and pleaded not guilty to the trumped up charge by the Police.
Let's remember what is at stake. Glen Innes is in the grip of a social cleansing. State houses are being privatised and the pittance left over for the social housing that was promised makes the claim of community consultation a farce. Housing NZ have gone from 156 houses for the poor to only 78, and the National Party stacked interim board heading this pogrom against the poor see only the last chance for private developers to take the final strip of coastal Auckland left for mass private profit development.
The NZers who are fighting in the streets each night to protect their community from the roughest edges of John Key's privatisation agenda deserve a politician willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their fight. MANA believe Hone is that leader and that as the recession bites deeper and deeper, more NZers on the bottom will see their struggle is MANA's struggle.
In 2014 voters will have a clear choice for their opposition vote, they can either elect parties who like to talk or they can vote for a leader like Hone who shows the courage of his convictions with actions as well as words.
John Minto is MANA Vice President