The rumbles about Nanaia Mahuta’s impending defection appear to have taken on a more solid form over the last 24 hours. Richard Harman at Politik has the gossip
The Maori Party says it is ready for a by-election in Hauraki-Waikato if the current Labour MP, Nanaia Mahuta resigns from Parliament early.
There was speculation in Wellington last night that she may be ready to resign, possibly within the next few weeks.
Maori Party President, Tuku Morgan, says he can understand why.
“The rug has been pulled out from under her by the King (Tuheitia) regarding his withdrawal of support for the Labour party,” he said.
“That’s the game changer.”
Ms Mahuta has indicated she is considering resignation.
Over the weekend she told TV3’s “Marae” programme that the question “gets asked every three years” and any politician worth their salt should ask if they have done their time.
“I’ll make whatever decision I make based on the fact that I want to see a change of government.”
Morgan says Mahuta has been looking for a place at home, for some responsibilities at home “and that’s been on going for some time.”
“So I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes soon.”
Morgan says he has a strategy for any by-election ready to go, and there is an impressive line-up of would-be candidates waiting in the wings.
“If she was to go tomorrow or next week, we are ready to go,” he said.
Any by-election in Hauraki-Waikato would be a test of the recent electorate deal done by Morgan with Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira.
Based on the last election results, even if Mana stood aside and all their votes went to the Maori Party candidate, Labour would still be ahead by over 4000 votes.
The absence of a categorical denial is clear enough that Princess Mahuta is considering her options. Word from Fraser House is that they are a bit puckered up about it and are looking to put together a deal to make her stay. So far, they can’t find much to inspire her.
There is a wave of Maori nationalism developing in the vacuum of a rudderless and ineffective Labour party. A party that has always simply assumed that the Maori seats where theirs by right.
Nanaia was shown the has no standing inside Labour when she was (rightfully) demoted, but the white male dominated EPMU “strategists” have no appreciation of Maori politics. They are going to get a very expensive lesson.
As for Labour still leading with 4,000 votes even if the Mana don’t stand a candidate, that was with the backdrop of Mahuta being endorsed as a Labour candidate. Once she is endorsed as a Maori party candidate Labour currently have nothing to convince the electorate to remain faithful. Almost two decades of neglect and maltreatment will have its obvious outcome.
As for Labour, a by election is the last thing they need. Labour already can’t pay for Mt Roskill. Two by-elections will break them, and they will have no money for the general election. From Mahuta’s point of view, it would be perfect utu.
– Richard Harman, Politik