Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has delayed his planned resignation from Parliament, saying he wants to take the decision back to the people of his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.
Mr Harawira said at the launch of his new Mana Party on Saturday that he would resign from Parliament yesterday to force a byelection.
But yesterday he said he would now probably not decide until after he had further consulted his supporters in Northland.
"The people back home make the decision on where and when. So I will be taking it back to them to get their views."
He continued to defend his decision to force the byelection, expected to cost taxpayers more than $500,000.
Meanwhile Newstalk ZB reports that Harawira had a meeting with Speaker Lockwood Smith yesterday. We can't help but feel that the two stories are related.
You see, once Hone Harawira resigns as the independant MP for Te Tai Tokerau, the money dries up. His salary stops, as does his access to the travel and accomodation perks enjoyed by MP's. And as we noted last week, Hone is the King of the Hill when it comes to expenses! Once the parliamentary tap gets turned off, Hone is all on his own.
That, combined with the widespread condemnation that Harawira has received for suggesting a by-election so close to the General Election may be causing the firebrand MP to have second thoughts. It may also be that the Mana Party is having problems getting to the magic figure of 500 members in order to register with the Electoral Commission as a political party.
We reckon that Hone has been hoist by his own petard. Announcing a by-election is one thing, and holding a party launch with a who's who of the radical hard left is a second thing. Actually doing the hard yards WITHOUT the assistance of the Parliamentary Services chequebook is another thing altogether, and we reckon that Harawira has suddenly realised that.
We would not be at all surprised if there is an announcement in the next few days that Hone has reconsidered, and that "his people" in Te Tai Tokerau have told him that he doesn't need a fresh mandate. That will, of course, be far from the truth; the truth will be that Harawira realises that he can't fund the by-election campaign himself, nor does the Mana Party have the resources. And that means that Harawira will continue to draw his salary and expenses until November, at which time the Mana Party will fade from view, and Harawira will lose his precious seat.
One can only hope! The clock is ticking for Hone; he must make his mind up (or have it made up for him) by 26 May, or it will be too late for him. But we reckon that Hone Harawira might be looking for a Mana-enhanced way out.