New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has joined a growing chorus calling for Hone Harawira to tone down his language, saying he is letting his people down.
The language of the newly-returned MP for Te Tai Tokerau is back in the spotlight after he told a marae following his by-election win on Saturday night that the Maori Party had "shit on him".
His choice of words has hindered his chances of repairing his relationship with the Maori Party after its co-leader Pita Sharples said Harawira would need to tone down his comments if he wanted to meet with his former party.
Peters said as the leader of the Mana Party, Harawira needed to stop swearing because his lack of decorum was reflecting negatively on him.
"There are no swear words in the Maori language," he told Waatea News.
"So really you're selling yourself out when you do that, as a Maori speaker, but particularly as an English speaker.
"If your only choice of a range of words, and there are nine alternatives, is to swear, you're letting yourself down and you're letting your people down."
Hone Harawira does indeed have a colourful turn of phrase; he certainly doesn't sound like a politician. Then again, his potty mouth appeals to some.
But Harawira is not just any politician now. He is a party leader with extra rewards; and extra responsibilities. He's been told that, and says that he accepts it - read on:
In February about 50 kaumatua in the Far North met Harawira and expressed their disappointment at his obscene language, particularly on the social networking site Facebook.
In an email in 2009 defending a sight-seeing trip to Paris, Harawira said "white motherf***ers" had been "raping" New Zealand for years. He later called Labour leader Phil Goff a "bastard".
While visiting Australian Aborigines in 2007, Harawira called then Australian prime minister John Howard a "racist bastard".
Harawira is taking a holiday with wife Hilda following the by-election and was unavailable for comment.
But yesterday he acknowledged he will have to change his tack.
"I'm going to have to cool my heels... but that's part of the leadership game I guess. I'm comfortable with the changes necessary to lead a movement as important as Mana," he told TV3's Firstline programme.
It remains to be seen whether or not we will see more mana from the Mana Party leader, but we applaud Winston Peters for calling him on his language; after all, the NZ First leader has managed to be controversial all these years with barely an expletive passing his lips!