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Maori electorates take different shape, but will still be critical

Nov 28th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Article, News

Video by Rodney Brown and Mohammad Nazayer

By Nick Gray and Tennessee Mansford

The Maori electorates have taken on a different composition with the Maori Party only winning three seats.  

The loss of Hone Harawira earlier this year and subsequent creation of the Mana Party could arguably be credited with their demise through the splitting of the party vote for Maori voters.

However, Labour’s Rino Tirikatene, pictured right, added to the Maori Party pain when he knocked Rahui Katene out of her seat in Te Tai Tonga.

The Maori party only received 1.3% of the party vote compared to 2.4% last election – Mana Party received 1% of this year’s vote.

Harawira, as expected, won the Te Tai Tokerau seat where he has been incumbent since 2005.

Both Maori Party leaders, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, won their respective seats in Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauaura, with Te Ururoa Flavell retaining a third seat for the party in Waiariki.

Labour’s Parekura Horomia won Ikaroa-Rawhiti as was expected, despite previously stating that this would be his last term as a politician.

The third Labour occupied Maori seat, Hauraki-Waikato. was retained by Nanaia Mahuta.

Political commentator Jane Clifton was quoted on the Listener website as saying that the Maori Party would still have power.

“The Maori Party has taken quite a hit – but may yet be in the box seat. The three remaining MP’s could have National over a barrel. Ditch the asset sales, and wind back the welfare reforms, or else.”

“The re-elected trio has the chance of being the party that saves the country from asset sales. Not a bad consolation prize. Alternatively, it could gouge a deal to get iwi a fat share of the asset investment, or extract a huge increase in Whanau Ora funding,” she says.

Mr Tirikatene’s win in the Te Tai Tonga seat was unexpected as polls indicated Ms Katene would retain the seat.

Mr Tirikatene’s long-standing family history within the Labour Party and the Maori electorates would have played a part.

His mother Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan, who died this year, holds the record as the longest serving female MP. She held the Southern Maori seat for an extraordinary 60 years.

In 1996 Tirikatene’s father was to stand for the Labour party in the Maori Southern seat but passed away.
“As Labour’s Te Tai Tonga candidate I hope to finish what he started in 1996 and bring the seat back home to Labour,” he said during campaigning.

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  1. I think the result in Te Tai Tonga has been overlooked by most of the media, and I think this is another article that has missed the importance of the result.

    It is very likely that National will be reduced to 59 seats, once the special votes are counted, with the Greens gaining 1.

    If the Maori Party was to have won Te Tai Tonga, there would be 122 MPs in Parliament. National plus United Future and Act would only have 61 of those 122, and thus rely on the Maori Party to pass any legislation.

    That scenario, of course, won’t occur because Te Tai Tonga went Labour, meaning Parliament only has 121 MPs. But still, the importance of that seat rivals Epsom and Ohariu. I’ve heard stories of some National voters who went on the Maori roll purely to vote for the Labour candidate, Rino Tirikatene.

  2. Hone Harawira has been the incumbent Te Tai Tokerau MP since 2005, not 1995.

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