Will the Mana "party" get increased taxpayer funding?It is quite clear that Hone Harawira has every intention of breaking his agreement with the Maori Party not to stand any candidates in Maori seats. Furthermore he wants to get as much money as possible to contest the general election.
That’s why he announced yesterday that he is having a by-election, after lying about it by denying it earlier that day, at a cost to the taxpayer of $500,000. It’s got nothing to do with getting a mandate. It’s to do with getting the $100,000+ leaders budget and other perks in parliament to set up his new party. Whether he succeeds is another matter. I think he is somewhat misguided.
If I was Act leader Don Brash, I'd contest the by-election for the publicity.
Having missed out on the deadline on election broadcasting funding, Harawira is trying to scrape together 500 people to quickly register his party so he can have “Mana” (instead of independent) on the ballot paper and have more money for the general election. An unregistered parliamentary party will not be able to get a leaders budget if it is not recognised as a parliamentary “party”. There is some information about that, here. All registered parties are recognised as parliamentary parties if they have an MP in the House - and the MP was elected on that party banner.
Election candidate Annette Sykes has been asking for 1000 people to support the party by today, so that it can quickly register – even though only 500 are needed. She is also calling on people to enrol on the Maori electoral roll. Once enrolled on the Maori roll, these voters can only vote for candidates on the Maori seats – the seats that Harawira earlier agreed he will not contest. She is talking up the numbers at the weekend’s hui that launched the Mana party, claiming that “more like 700 to 1000” people were there. The media reported 300.
So why are people like Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten behind the Mana Party, when they don’t particularly like Maori nationalism? I believe it is because they see this party as the only party that will threaten John Key’s leadership for the benefit of the Left as Labour is no threat, even with union backing. With the assistance of the unions, they consider this support can increase the party vote beyond five per cent after the election – and perhaps take a few MPs away from the National-supporting Maori Party.
Anyway back to the leader’s budget. If Harawira resigns on Monday he won’t be getting paid as an MP from the day he resigns until the day he is elected - which could be as late as July. And he`ll lose all his parliamentary responsibilities. I’m wondering if there will be much difference between the money Harawira loses between resignation and election in unpaid salary and perks compared to the money he gains as a parliamentary party leader between the by-election and the General election - and to what extent he and his party are aware of this.
Graeme Edgeler has an pretty good post on the numbers, detailing the perks, what Harawira loses when he resigns, as well as providing more information on how the various instruments outline the status of political parties.