Maori Party versus Labour

A key contest this election is between the Maori Party and Labour, especially between Labour’s Maori MPs.

It is not certain that the Maori Party will survive the election, but if they do there are reports that Labour’s Maori MPs won’t allow a coalition with them.

Te Ururoa Flavell appears to have a tight battle with Tamati Coffey in the Waiariki seat. If Flavell loses that puts his party at risk.

The Maori party has another lifeline – Howie Tamati has polled ahead of Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe in Te Tai Hauāuru, and if he wins the Maori party will also survive.

If either or both Flavel and Tamati win then the Maori Party survive. There also seems to be a reasonable chance of them getting a second MP, either Tamati if he wins, or Marama Fox off the list again. There’s an outside chance of three MPs.

But If the Maori Party survive they have two problems having an influence in government. With National slipping repeating the arrangements of the last two terms looks slim.

The Maori Party are probably a better fit with Labour, but they seem to have a problem there too.

Jon Stokes: Labour’s Maori MPs will not allow a coalition with Maori Party

The dramatic change in the political landscape means even greater importance around the battle for the Māori seats. The rise of Labour has come by and large at the expense of its likely coalition partners, most notably the Greens and NZ First. Until recently Labour required both parties, and some, to form a government. Now a Labour, Greens and Māori Party arrangement could also be an option.

However, while this works in theory, in reality, it is nonsense and won’t happen.

The Labour Māori caucus would not allow any deal with the Māori Party. Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell would likely expect to keep the Minister of Māori Development and Whanau Ora portfolios. This won’t happen under a Labour Māori caucus led by Willie Jackson and Kelvin Davis.

It seems nonsensical to me that Labour’s Maori MPs would refuse a coalition with the Maori Party.

For one thing it could significantly reduce Labour’s coalition negotiating strength. On current polling they could feasibly form a government with Greens+Maori or alternately with NZ First, and theoretically with both NZ First and the Maori Party.

If there is no chance of the Maori Party being involved that means Labour may only have one option, NZ First, and that strengthens Winston’s hand significantly, and he wants an anti-Maori seat referendum.

While Jacinda Ardern has stepped up when she took over the Labour leadership Kelvin Davis seems to have taken to his new responsibilities far less smartly.

Will Ardern pull Davis and Jackson into line over dealing with the Maori Party? Or will Maori rivalries be one of the first threats to unity in the new government (presuming Labour leads it)?

Poll: Labour Maori MP trails

A Māori Television poll in the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate has the current Labour MP trailing significantly.

  • Howie Tamati (Maori Party) 52%
  • Adrian Rurawhe (Labour) 39%
  • Jack McDonald (Greens) 9.1%

2014 electorate results:

  • Adrian Ruawhe 8089 (41.34%)
  • Chris McKenzie 6,535 (33.40%)
  • Jack McDonald 3,004 (15.35%)
  • Jordan Winiata 1,940 (9.91%)

Tamati may be benefiting because Mana are not standing a candidate this year.

Māori without landline reason for low rating – Labour MP

Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe has blamed the lack of landline phones in Māori households for the reason why he’s trailing Māori Party’s Howie Tamati in Māori Television’s latest poll.

“The realities of polling in Maori electorates, 75 percent don’t have landlines. So they are never going to get polled,’ Rurawhe said. “I was behind in 2014 and picked up a whole 13 percentage points between the 2014 poll and election day.”

People without landlines could as easily affect other candidates.

If Tamati wins that makes current MP Marama Fox’s chances of returning to Parliament.

Fox is currently a list MP and is trailing in a poll in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti  electorate:

  • Meka Whatira (Labour) 55%
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party) 39%
  • Dr Elizabeth Kerekere (Greens) 6%

See Fox chasing tough odds

Poll on party support compared to 2015 results in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti:

  • Labour 50.4% (47.38)
  • Maori 21.1% (12.19%)
  • NZ First 12.0% (11.25%)
  • Green 7.5% (10.28%)
  • National 5.9% (5.37%)

Poll on party support (compared to 2015 results) in Te Tai Hauāuru:

  • Labour 41.8% (42.23)
  • Maori 24% (17.64%)
  • National 11.2% (7.11%)
  • NZ First 11% (11.79%)
  • Green 9% (11.93%)
  • TOP 1.3%
  • Mana 1.3% (Internet Mana 6.82%)

In both of those Labour and NZ First support is holding, Maori party support has risen, Greens have slipped.