Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.
Less widely reported was MrÂ Keyâ€™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 partiesâ€™ candidates.
This is aÂ bit cheeky: National doesnâ€™t run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although itâ€™s extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, givenÂ his commitment to national reconciliation).
Thatâ€™s why Mr Keyâ€™s nod to the Maori Party is so important. Under MMP, this election remains too close to call. For National to have a chanceÂ 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 Harawiraâ€™s Te Tai Tokerau electorate, which spans CapeÂ Reinga to West Auckland.
Most commentators assume Mr Harawira is completely safe, especially now he has scored Kim Dotcomâ€™s dosh. But that reveals they havenâ€™t looked at the data veryÂ carefully.
Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labourâ€™s Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. ForÂ his part, Mr Harawiraâ€™s majority was well less than Nationalâ€™s party vote and also NZ Firstâ€™s (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the MaoriÂ Partyâ€™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 hasÂ post-graduate qualifications and is assistant principal at Hato Petera College. Whatever: he should fall on his taiaha.Â Read more »