Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.
Less widely reported was Mr¬†Key‚Äôs 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‚Äô candidates.
This is a¬†bit cheeky: National doesn‚Äôt run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although it‚Äôs extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, given¬†his commitment to national reconciliation).
That‚Äôs why Mr Key‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs dosh. But that reveals they haven‚Äôt looked at the data very¬†carefully.
Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labour‚Äôs Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. For¬†his part, Mr Harawira‚Äôs majority was well less than National‚Äôs party vote and also NZ First‚Äôs (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the Maori¬†Party‚Äôs 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 »