Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.
Less widely reported was Mr Key’s reference to the Maori Party. Like National voters in Epsom and Ohariu, the prime minister told those in the Maori electorates to back his support parties’ candidates.
This is a bit cheeky: National doesn’t run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although it’s extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, given his commitment to national reconciliation).
That’s why Mr Key’s nod to the Maori Party is so important. Under MMP, this election remains too close to call. For National to have a chance of a third term, Mr Key may well need Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell to retain Waiariki. Even more important is the result in Hone Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau electorate, which spans Cape Reinga to West Auckland.
Most commentators assume Mr Harawira is completely safe, especially now he has scored Kim Dotcom’s dosh. But that reveals they haven’t looked at the data very carefully.
Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labour’s Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. For his part, Mr Harawira’s majority was well less than National’s party vote and also NZ First’s (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the Maori Party’s candidate, while Green voters backed Mr Harawira.
This time, the Maori Party has Te Hira Paenga as its candidate. He would make an excellent MP. A father of five, he has post-graduate qualifications and is assistant principal at Hato Petera College. Whatever: he should fall on his taiaha. Read more »