Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.
Less widely reported was MrÂ Keyâs 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 doesnât run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although itâs extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, givenÂ his commitment to national reconciliation).
Thatâs why Mr Keyâs 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 Harawiraâs 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 Dotcomâs dosh. But that reveals they havenât looked at the data veryÂ carefully.
Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labourâs Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. ForÂ his part, Mr Harawiraâs majority was well less than Nationalâs party vote and also NZ Firstâs (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the MaoriÂ Partyâs 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 »