The Maori and Mana parties have announced a deal that will remain in place up until the election on 23 September.
Hone Harawira will stand in Te Tai Tokerai again (Labour’s Kelvin Davis one the electorate off Harawira in 2014), and the Maori Party won’t stand a candidate there.
And Mana won’t stand a candidate against the Maori party in any of the other 6 Maori electorates (one held by Te Ururoa Flavell, the rest held by Labour).
Both parties can still campaign for the party vote and criticise each other’s policies but won’t be allowed to attack each other’s candidates.
This looks like a good deal for the Maori Party, with Mana seemingly intent on putting much of their effort into taking Te Tai Tokerau back again and perhaps picking up a list seat or two through party vote.
This seems a fairly realistic and pragmatic approach.
Annoucing the deal in Whangārei this morning, Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan blamed Māori disunity for gifting the Māori seats to Labour in 2014.
He said it was time to bring all the seats home to kaupapa Māori parties, so they could hold the balance of power in Parliament and ensure a strong voice in government, regardless of which major party ruled.
Mr Morgan said a simple analysis of the Māori seat results from 2014 showed the combined votes for the Mana and Māori Party candidates would have given the parties three electorates.
But the Labour MP for one of those electorates, Te Tai Tokerau’s Kelvin Davis, said the dynamics had changed and people needed to know a vote for Mana was a vote for National.
No, it would be a vote for Mana. While it could help National retain power the aim is to get Mana back into Parliament.
If Labour diss off both the Maori and Mana parties they are reducing their own chances of ousting national from Government.