Poll: Davis leads Harawira easily

According to a Newshub/Reid Research poll  Hone Harawira isn’t close to winning back his Te Tai Tokerau seat off Kelvin Davis.

  • Kelvin Davis (Labour) 67.4%
  • Hone Harawira (Mana) 30.3%
  • Godfrey Rudolf (Green) 2.3%

Davis got 43.90% in the 2014 election to Harawira’s 40.53, with the Maori Party candidate getting 11.65% and an independent getting 2.05%.

Party vote:

image_19905885-dynimg-full-q75

That looks good for Labour, and also for NZ First, with little change for the Maori Party.

There is a relatively high margin of error of 4.98% meaning a low sample size.

And the polling was carried out over two months from about 12 July to 12 September and a lot has happened in politics over that time.

Reassessing election prospects

Last week changed the political landscape significantly, with saturation coverage of one candidate, the political demise of one leader and the lame ducking of another.

Election prospects have changed, but at this stage it is difficult to predict by how much. I’l have a go at assessing how things look now.

National 38-48%

They were always going to struggle to maintain last elections 47% with John Key retiring last year and switching to a solid but uninspiring Bill English and a so far uninspiring campaign.

If Labour retains their resurgence the question shifts from where in the forties National will end up to whether they stay in the forties. They are still probably good for low to mid forties but if the stuff something up badly could easily slip.

Labour 29-40%

There is no doubt that Jacinda Ardern has made a big difference to Labour’s prospects. They looked like they were heading to 20 or less under Andrew Little, but now a return to the 30s looks likely.

Labour now look able to pull votes back from the Greens and NZ First, finally compete seriously with National for the floaters, and the effect of the lift in excitement on turning out younger voters shouldn’t be underestimated.

And don’t underestimate the Kelvin Davis effect – his elevation makes Labour more competitive against the Maori Party and NZ First.

I think the only question is how far into the thirties they can climb – as long as Ardern doesn’t trip up significantly. On the other hand, given the volatility of modern elections I wouldn’t rule out Labour sneaking into the forties.

Greens 8-12%

As dramatically as Labour’s fortunes have turned for the better, Green prospects have probably dived from record highs in the polls.

Metiria Turei’s beneficiary gamble looked like it was a winner but has turned to custard. James Shaw looks worn and weak. Turei and the Greens still have some staunch support, but the icing looks like it has disappeared of their cake.

Of course this could change if Turei bows to pressure and steps down as co-leader, but a lot would then depend on who replaced her. Marama Davidson would probably only appeal to the dedicated Greenies and lefties, but Julie Anne Genter would have wider appeal.

NZ First 6-16%

A week or two ago Winston Peters was confidently counting his electoral chickens. He disappeared last week, with the media preferring to pander to someone young enough to be his granddaughter.

Winston versus English and Little looked competitive, to media and to a growing number of voters.

Winston versus Ardern is a completely different look. The stuffing seems to be knocked out of the old codger. He’s a determined campaigner, but can he revitalise himself for another shot at glory?

Another factor is the Shane Jones card – he is now going to have to compete with Kelvin Davis for attention and may be exposed. The direct speaking Davis will give Jones some real competition up north.

Maori Party 1-3%

I think that Te Ururoa Flavell still has a good chance of retaining his electorate, Maori have been good tactical voters and returning Flavell and party voting Labour makes more sense than throwing the Maori Party out.

But winning more Maori seats, and getting enough party vote to retain Marama Fox, has probably got harder.

ACT Party 0.5-2%

David Seymour has been trying hard to attract attention and voters but doesn’t seem to be getting any traction. He should be good to retain his Epsom electorate, but ACT’s lack of known candidates other than Seymour doesn’t help their chances.

The media doesn’t usually care about new candidates, unless it’s plucking someone like Chlöe Swarbrick out of nowhere to try to inject some interest into a boring mayoral campaign. And the media seems to not fancy ACT unless it’s negative news. Seymour is likely to remain alone.

United Future 0.1-0.3%

It’s hard to see United Future attracting any more party votes. The media gave up on there being a party behind Peter Dunne terms ago, nothing there for headlines. The party has continued to wither.

Dunne already had a major challenge in trying to retain his Ohariu electorate. Labour have recruited a known candidate, Greg O’Connor. Greens are helping Labour by not standing a candidate.

National have made it clearer than ever that they want National voters to support Dunne.

But what looked like 50/50 prospects for Dunne may have turned against him with Labour’s resurgence. Ardern has not only revitalised Labour campaigners, she may encourage reluctant voters to turn out. This will work against Dunne.

Mana Party 0.1-0.5%

The Mana party is a one man band this election, without the money or distraction of Kim Dotcom. The party vote looks irrelevant.

Hone Harawira was always a chance of winning back Te Tai Tokerau, but with Davis’ elevation that probably got a lot harder.

There looks to be an outside chance only of Harawira getting back into Parliament, and even more of an outside chance that Harawira could make or break a Labour led coalition, but it shouldn’t be discounted entirely.

The Opportunities Party 1-4%

Gareth Morgan had a chance of picking up votes from those who wanted something different and not Winston, someone to ‘keep the big parties honest’. And picking up disheartened Labour voters. Until last week.

If Labour jumps back into contention then TOP will find it really difficult to attract enough media attention, and they will find it really difficult to get the polls up enough to encourage enough voters to get them over the 5% threshold.

The Rest

The nature of New Zealand politics and the reluctance of media to give any credibility to new parties and outsider candidates means that no other parties will have a chance of getting more than crumbs.

But…

There could be another shock wave.

It’s hard to see any other positive leadership change, unless Genter adds some solidity to the Greens.

Who knows what Winston will try to have probably his last shot at the big prize?

Ardern may keep Labour’s resurgence going, or she could trip up. Kelvin Davis could stuff things up, his agttack on English and other National ministers on Q+A yesterday looked ugly and counter productive to Ardern’s clain of positivity.

National still have the benefit of incumbency plus very good economic conditions, relatively low unemployment, and a record of steady management – but may have trouble attracting media attention.

National also have the advantage of being by far the biggest party, and they will probably only need one other party, or a repeat of the current handful of insignificant parties, to get over the line.

But housing. Auckland is shaping up as a big influence on the election.

And National has to find an effective way of countering ‘the Jacinda effect’ and the current media obsession with her.

The elephant in Labour’s room

Ardern has eliminated Labour’s biggest millstone, Andrew Little. Labour look to be on the rise.

But they have a major challenge too – Labour + Greens + NZ First

I think that many voters have real concerns about how this triumverate could possible work in a coalition.

Unless Labour can rise enough in polls to look like they might only need one of NZ First or the Greens then this remains an issue.

There could even be a voter resistance to Labour + Greens – many like a Green influence but have strong reservations about Greens calling the shots too much.

In any case for Labour to get close to 40% it’s hard to see Greens also keeping their current share.

The NZ First factor

Whether Winston finds a way to dig up something that gives him a last burst of hope or not, voters have to consider and compare National + NZ First versus Labour + NZ First as likely alternatives.

Both National and Labour can’t ignore this – the one of them that does best at convincing voters they can work with Winston but resist baubling him may succeed.

Here it is advantage to National.

National 45% + NZ First 6% looks quite different to Labour 35% + NZ First 15%.

But of course this balance of probabilities could change over the next few weeks.

The Nation – Maori and Mana parties

This morning on The Nation at 9:30 am (repeated Sunday morning 10:00 am):

When the Maori and Mana parties signed an agreement to work together in election year, it looked like their bad blood could be a thing of the past. But with their recent spat over the Ture Whenua or Maori Land Bill, cracks have already started to show… we’ll talk to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

Fox says the strength of the Mana/Maori Party alliance is they can talk about their differences

“The Ture Whenua is a good bill.”

Harawira called the Ture Whenua bill a poisonous cancer. Is that irrational?

Fox: Yes.

She is a refreshingly no-nonsense politician.

She says there is no impasse over the bill, they have arranged to meet and talk it over.

‘A vote for Maori Party is a vote for National’ is “ridiculous”.

“”I think we punch above our weight”.

On Little saying the Maori Party was not kaupapa – after the 4% poll Fox says that senior Labour MPs sidled up and asked if they could consider supporting Maori (but I presume that wasn’t Little).

Newshub report: Hone Harawira is whanau – Marama Fox

Video:  Interview: Marama Fox

Transcript: Lisa Owen interviews Marama Fox

Harawira slams Maori Party land bill

Hone Harawira has shown that the agreement between the Mana and Maori parties to co-operate over electorate campaigns to improve each party’s chances of election success doesn’t extend to agreement over policies.

RNZ: Mana attacks Māori Party over ‘poisonous’ land bill

The Māori Party has spearheaded a new bill proposing major changes to the governance and administration of the 27,000 titles of Māori land in New Zealand, which equate to 6 percent of the country’s total land mass.

But its new ally, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has called the Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill “a poisonous and destructive cancer”.

“I think it opens our lands up to be bought by foreigners. It is an extremely bad piece of legislation.”

Mr Harawira said some Mana supporters have made clear they would not back the Māori Party over this bill – and he did not blame them.

“It wasn’t written with Māori interests in mind but Māori land alienation.

“It’s ugly and its crude because it’s an attempt to open up the last remaining vestiges of Māori land that are held by Māori.

Iwi leader Kerensa Johnson also warned the Māori Party that unless changes were made, it would not have their support.

There will always be differences within Maori over policies.

Differences between Maori parties is one way of debating the merits of policies – but Labour wants to represent all Maori electorates and cut the other parties out of Parliament.

Five months ago, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell acknowledged the Māori Land Service was still being designed.

It is lack of details such as this that has Māori landowners concerned about making such sweeping changes.

Wakatū is asking Mr Flavell to rework the bill and slow down the process, but Mr Harawira wants it gone altogether. He said it was not a minor wound that could be fixed with cosmetic surgery.

Policy debate is healthy. Isn’t this one of the benefits of MMP giving multiple parties representing different constituencies a say?

Te Puni Kokiri: New Māori land law one step closer

Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill will give Māori land owners greater decision-making powers and better support for the management of Māori freehold land.

Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill passed its Second Reading in Parliament just before Christmas.

You can view the speeches in the House here.

Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill, which was introduced into Parliament in April 2016, will:

  • Give Māori land owners greater autonomy to make their own decisions
  • Provide a clearer more empowering decision-making framework
  • Strengthen protections against the alienation of Māori land
  • Lead to stronger-performing governance bodes
  • Improve the succession and dispute resolution processes and
  • Make better use of the Māori Land Court.

The new Bill also establishes a new Māori Land Service to support Māori land owners. A second nationwide round of Wānanga about the final design of this Service will be held in January 2017.

The Bill is expected to be enacted by 30 April 2017 and to come into effect by 1 October 2018.

Harawira isn’t in Parliament so won’t get to vote on it.

Labour MP Meka Whatiri seems to oppose the bill, saying it takes protections away from Maori:

I presume that means that the Labour Party also opposes the bill.

A Labour BLiP at The Standard

‘BLiP’ is well known at The Standard  for his list of alleged lies told by John Key. A lot of the items on that list were quite questionable, but that didn’t stop The Standard re-displaying the list from time to time.

BLiP was not required to provide evidence in support of his claims – anyone attacking Key and National in particular and also other parties at The Standard can say virtually what they like without being moderated.

Some of the moderators (BLiP is one) are much more touchy about any criticism of Labour in particular, and also criticism of their allies, the Greens.

In a recent exchange:

red-blooded 1.2.3

Peters has always said that he’d deal with the largest party first. This does suggest problems, as L/G are not one party (plus his antipathy towards the Greens is well-known and longstanding). I hope I’m wrong, but I do think we should be concerned about the idea of Winston choosing who forms the next government.

  • weka1.2.3.1

    So either that means he would first deal with National. Or, he’s going with the intent of MMP and he would deal with L/G first if they had higher numbers. But given Peters has monkeywrenched MMP I also don’t have much hope. More likely is he will imply something and then just do whatever afterwards.

    This stuff really needs to be clarified by the MSM during the election campaign.

Several claims about Winston Peters that were left unsubstantiated, as is normal.

I responded:

Pete George 1.2.3.1.2

But L/G ends on election day. It is a campaign arrangement with an end date before coalition wrangling begins.

Labour obviously want to keep their coalition options open. Particularly if NZ First gets more votes than Greens (a distinct possibility, if voters dump National they are more likely to vote NZF than Greens).

The MSM can’t clarify what Peters will do before the election. I doubt Labour will clarify what their strategy is either.

Remember that Labour has shat all over the Maori and Mana Parties and has ruled out dealing with them. That leaves either NZF or Greens.

Unless Labour+Greens can for a majority on their own the Greens are in a weak bargaining position.

[BLiP: Provide evidence of Labour having “ruled out dealing with [maori and Mana parties]” in your very next comment or do not post here again for one week. Up to you.]

Touchy, and a typical double standard.

I responded three times with different justifications for my claim. BLiP has not even acknowledged my replies, instead leaving the impression that I didn’t comply with his demand. I presume that is deliberate.

Andrew Little and Labour have made it clear they don’t want to deal with the Maori and Mana parties. They have made it clear they want to deal to them – to wipe them out of Parliament.

NZ Herald reported on Little at Ratana in January:

Labour leader Andrew Little has further distanced Labour from the Maori Party while also dismissing Hone Harawira’s Mana Movement as “irrelevant”.

Speaking at Ratana Pa near Wanganui this morning, Little all but ruled out forming a post-election coalition with the Maori Party or Mana Movement, which have agreed to work together to win back Maori seats.

Little said Labour would work with parties which had “a practical set of ideas of what can be done” for Maori.

The Maori Party had been “shackled” to the National Party for nine years, and National had failed Maori, he said.

“Why the Mana Party would want to now shackle itself to the Maori Party is entirely up to them, but they are totally irrelevant.”

Last month also from the Herald:

But it takes two to tango and Labour leader Andrew Little was putting on dancing shoes with sprigs.

He was not interested in the tango.

He was interested in the danse macabre; he wanted to kill off the Maori Party completely.

Little went into a lengthy, full-blown tirade against the Maori Party on RNZ.

He downgraded the Maori Party as a future support partner from “far from the first cab on the rank” to “simply not in my contemplation.”

He then declared the Maori Party was “not kaupapa Maori” [based on Maori values].

From Stuff in early March: Little signals Greens will be ‘first cab off the rank’ in post-election talks

“There are two other Opposition parties, apart from Labour, that we work closely together with and I contemplate both being candidates for partners or support partners to form a government.”

In an interview on The Nation earlier this month:

But do voters deserve to know that? You know, he’s a potential coalition partner. Would you countenance him as Deputy Prime Minister?Little: Voters want to know what are the parties that we have good relations with and who are likely to be part of a coalition arrange – a set of coalition arrangements. We have a good relationship with the Green Party. We have a good relationship with New Zealand First.

Okay, so you’re not ruling it out. You’re not ruling it out.

Little: If I have the privilege after the 23rd of September to form a Government, my first phone call will go to the Greens and New Zealand First will be not far behind.

Noticeably excluded are the Maori and Mana parties from Little’s contemplations and ruling in.

Why is BLiP so intent on suppressing an impression that Little has repeatedly made obvious?

I note that BLiP made no attempt to argue against Labour’s impression, he just banned and censored what he didn’t want posted.

Posted under Little’s name on the Labour Party website:

“If Māori want to see progress on the problems they face in housing, health and education, then they should back their Labour candidate.

“We have a plan to turn the position of Māori around and we’ll be running a campaign to show how Māori will be better served by a strong Labour Māori voice around the Cabinet table.”

He seems to think that Labour alone can properly serve Māori.

I’ll leave this post with this impression from Andrew Little: Maori King is ‘abusing his office’ by endorsing Rahui Papa for the Maori Party:

As to the plan to restore a relationship between Labour and Kingitanga, the Maori King movement?

“We’re going to campaign and win and we’ll beat the Maori Party,” he said.

“The problem with the King is that for whatever reason he’s allowed himself to become a mouthpiece for a single political party in a way that no previous head of Kingitanga has done.

That’s rather ironic given that Little is the mouthpiece for a single political party that  wants to be the sole representative of Maori voters.

Maori/Mana party deal

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.

RNZ: Māori and Mana parties sign deal to work together

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.

Labour versus Maori/Mana, et al

The annual political pilgrimage to Ratana is highlighting growing competitiveness between the Labour and Maori Parties, with the latter now working more closely with the Mana Party and Hone Harawira.

Audrey Young: The political dance begins at Ratana celebrations

Labour faced criticism last year from Ratana speakers telling leader Andrew Little that he could not take Ratana for granted.

Little said he had heeded that and he and the Maori caucus had worked on strengthening the relationship with Ratana.

But Little has come out swinging this year.

He described the Maori Party as “effectively the Maori branch of the National Party.”

Asked if they would “last cab off the rank” if came to coalition building after this year’s election, he said: “Certainly after Greens and New Zealand First.

There’s whole collection, Maori and United Future, if they are still there. So they are certainly down the pecking order, that’s for sure.”

What if Labour+Greens gets say 45-46% and could get over the line with Maori Party support rather than needing Winston Peters? Little kicked of his election year with an attack on Peters over Pike River.

Labour is competing with NZ First and the Maori Party in particular for votes.

In August last year, King Tuheitia criticised Labour and New Zealand First during an unscripted part of his speech at Turangawaewae coronation celebrations.

“It really hurt me when the leader of the Labour Party says ‘I’ll never work with that Maori Party.’ I’m not voting for them anymore,” Tuheitia said.

So there is a lot of tension between the Labour and Maori Parties evident at Ratana.

Stuff: Maori Party co-leaders warn the Labour Party’s grip on the Maori seats is loosening

The Maori Party has fired shots at the Labour Party saying their exclusive relationship with Ratana has come to an end.

The Maori King’s son, Whatumoana Paki, and members of Kingitanga descended on Ratana Pa, near Whanganui, on Monday where they were welcomed along with the Maori Party co-leaders and Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira.

Traditionally party leaders and Kingitanga are welcomed separately but the united front is symbolic of the Maori King Tuheitia’s abandoning of the Labour Party in a speech at the anniversary of his coronation last year, which led to him throwing his support behind the Maori Party.

Ratana has a close bond with Labour and its MP in the Te Tai Hauauru seat, Adrian Rurawhe, is the brother of the Ratana church secretary, Piri Rurawhe.

RNZ: Flavell: ‘Times have moved on’ from historic Rātana-Labour link

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has denounced the historic political tie between Rātana and the Labour Party and is proclaiming a new unified Māori movement.

Speaking at Rātana Pā yesterday, Mr Flavell, supported by hundreds from the Kīngitanga, various Māori organisations and Mana leader Hone Harawira, made a direct and convincing play for Rātana’s political support.

Well versed in Te Reo Māori and speaking on the paepae, Te Ururoa Flavell paused, pointed to the sky, and told the crowds the agreement made by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana and the Labour Party all those years ago was in his opinion, over.

“Well I think it’s finished. At the end of the day, as many speakers have said, that was made for a place and a time. Times have moved on, the political environment is totally different,” he said.

Mr Flavell said he was ready for a new unified Māori movement.

“Now is the time for us to make that a reality. One political movement under a Māori Party banner, which will pull back those seats from Labour and stay in kaupapa Māori hands forever.”

Patrick Gower: Hone’s back with a Mana-Maori deal

The new Mana-Maori Party alliance had its first formal outing at Ratana today, meaning Mr Harawira is back from the political dead.

After years of fighting, the Mana Party and the Maori Party are making the pilgrimage to Ratana Pa together – not as enemies but as friends.

“It means Mana and Maori walking alongside one another together,” said Mr Harawira.

There is also competition from the Greens. From Stuff:

Labour’s attempts to hold on to the Maori seats could also be tested by the Greens’ new push for the Maori vote.

Co-leader Metiria Turei confirmed yesterday that she would run in Te Tai Tonga after previously running in non-Maori electorates. The party is also hoping to run in all seven Maori seats.

Curious timing for that confirmation, I thought a done deal had been announced last year.

It will be interesting to see how Labour approaches their turn at Ratana today.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little to visit Ratana Pa as Labour Party woos voter

The Labour Party will arrive at Ratana Pa today under pressure to show it deserves to maintain its hold on the Maori seats at this year’s election.

Ahead of his visit to the pa near Whanganui today, Labour leader Andrew Little said he had worked to rebuild ties with Ratana after being criticised at last year’s event.

It is understood he will make an election promise today – the first day of the political year – to build or upgrade housing in the small Ratana settlement near Whanganui.

The first day of the political year? There was a lot of politics evident at Ratana yesterday, and David Seymour delivered his ‘state of the nation’ speech. Last week Labour and NZ First did their Pike River promising.

And now Little is trying a wee bribe at Ratana? Is he going to do similar in Maori areas around the country?

Labour versus Maori/Mana is going to be a fascinating aspect of this year’s election campaign. Alongside Labour versus NZ First. And Labour versus Greens – despite their ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ they will be competing for similar vote pools.

With all these small battles Labour have a much larger challenge, in being seen as competitive with National.

Today Andrew Little has to try try and impress the gathering at Ratana.

NZ political parties in 2016

Brief reviews of the mid term political year for New Zealand parties.

The main issues have been:

  • Continued shortages of new house building and an escalation of housing prices, especially in Auckland, and an increased focus on homelessness
  • Growing attention given to ‘poverty’ as it is in New Zealand, and the income gap  despite the first increase in benefits in forty years.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership got a lot of attention early in the year but that fizzled as it became evident that the US was unlikely to ratify it.

National

The National Party would probably have thought they had survived the year quite well, chugging away without doing anything radical, and staying  extraordinarily high in the polls most of the time for  a third term government.

An improving economy along with improving dairy prices have helped.

But Key resigned in December. National selected the Key anointed Bill English to take over, but how a new look National will be seen by the public won’t be known until next year.

Labour

Andrew Little consolidated his leadership, kept the Labour caucus under control and appears he is safe until next year’s election, but he failed to lift his appeal to the public, and Labour must be worried to be stuck in the twenties in the polls.

Labour entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Party and they tried to rebrand as a two-party alternative government but that didn’t change the polls much and may have created as many problems as it solved.

Labour finished the year buoyant after successful local body and Mt Roskill by-election campaigns, and noticeably raised in confidence when John Key resigned, but they have failed to impress as a potential lead party in government.

They survived the year and hope to benefit from a Key-less National but haven’t done enough to make a positive impression.

Greens

New co-leader James Shaw settled in without standing out, but Greens have lost one of their most respected MPS, Kevin Hague.

Their big play was the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour but that doesn’t seem to have  been the game changer they hoped for.

Metiria Turei seems to be dominant, and that probably limits the Greens’ electability, but they have at least stayed in a 10-15% support band in the polls so have a base to work from next year.

NZ First

Following Winston Peters’ big win in Northland NZ First have benefited from unusually good poll support for most of the year (it tailed off towards the end).

But it looks like Winston is catching his breath before election year. The party has done little of note apart from Peters occasionally trying to appear as the anti-politician, even though he’s one of the longest serving members of Parliament. He tried to capitalise on the Trump success in the US but that doesn’t seem to have done much.

Maori Party

The Maori Party has been working towards more complementary campaigning with the Mana Party in an attempt to create a stronger Maori bloc in Parliament. They are targeting the Maori seats held by Labour.

Maori tend to do politics quite differently to the rest. The Maori party has been the best of the rest in the polls but will want to pick that up more next year as well as pick up some electorates.

ACT Party

David Seymour has done fairly well at getting attention for a one person party and has had some small successes but his party has struggled to get anywhere. It has been Seymour rather than ACT.

United Future

Peter Dunne has had a quiet year apart from bearing the brunt of medical cannabis and recreational drug criticism, even though he is severely limited by National who don’t want to change anything on drug laws. Dunne’s party remains pretty much anonymous.

Conservative Party

An awful year for Colin Craig in the courts and an awful year for his party. Neither are credible and neither look likely to make a comeback.

Mana Party

Hone Harawira and the Mana movement are trying to make a comeback by working together with the Maori Party, so have established some possibilities this year without proving they can get back into Parliament.

Internet Party

Kim Dotcom seems to see his political influence in other ways than expensive and ineffective parties, and ex leader Laila Harre has joined Labour and wants to stand for them, so the Internet party looks a short blip in political history.

Cannabis Party

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has simplified it’s name and has tried to benefit from increasing changes on cannabis laws overseas but haven’t found the formula required to become a significant political force yet.

The Opportunities Party

Gareth Morgan launched his own party this year and gets media attention – money speaks – and has announced a couple of policies but so far it looks like him and no one else.

NZ Peoples Party

The Peoples’ Party launched as a representative of immigrants and stood a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election but will have been disappointed by their result, despite a weak National campaign.

Insight into Māori politics

There is a very good insight into politics Māori style by Morgan Godfery at The Spinoff: Behold, Māori politics’ great realignment. Or, don’t believe the hype

Talk of a resurgent Mana Party, unshackled from Dotcom and buoyed by a Māori Party pact, has prompted suggestions of a new order in Māori politics. Morgan Godfery explains why he’s just not buying it

The Parekura Method:

Take Te Tai Tonga, the old Southern Māori seat, running from Petone in the North to Stewart Island in the south and then tracking east to the Chatham Islands. In physical terms, Labour’s Rino Tirikatene is responsible for representing more than half of the country.

In population terms, Te Tai Tonga is more or less the same size as any other electorate. But the social expectations of a Māori MP are different to what other New Zealanders might expect of their constituency MP. When the Kaikōura earthquake struck Rino Tirikatene took the first trip down to help out in the kitchens at Takahanga Marae.

The term for this is kanohi kitea – a tricky one with a double meaning. In the past the term meant raid or incursion of some kind, but today we use it to describe someone who’s seen. It’s not enough for Māori electorate MPs to deliver magnificent speeches on the latest bill before the House. It isn’t even enough to make the Cabinet. Instead you must show up at every birthday, tangi, community fair and prizegiving that you can.

When I interned for the late Parekura Horomia, the former Minister of Māori Affairs and the long-serving MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, we called it (behind his back) “the Parekura Method”. It wasn’t uncommon for Parekura to arrive on your doorstep unannounced, and for no other reason than he was in town and wanted to catch up. It usually takes seven hours to drive from Wellington to Mangatuna, but it usually took Parekura more than two days.

Based on history:

Sir Peter Buck was a professor of anthropology at Yale University, a medical doctor in the Middle East, a museum director in Hawai’i, and an accidental Māori MP after Hone Heke – the member for Northern Māori – died suddenly in 1909. After escorting Heke’s body back to his ancestral marae in Kaikohe, Buck’s mentor and the deputy Prime Minister Sir James Carroll took to his feet at the tangi and announced how Heke’s mother wished to “marry their son’s widow to a chief from the South”, a tribute to Buck for taking the punishing journey from Wellington and returning her son home.

There are excited whispers and Carroll senses his chance. He remains on his feet, wielding his tremendous mana on Buck’s behalf, and gently reminds the local tribes that Buck is now in credit and a debt is owed. Utu, or reciprocity, is due. Should they wish to restore balance perhaps they would consider Buck as their new MP (Carroll did this without consulting him, of course). Buck went on to win handily, even though he faced several local challengers and traced his whakapapa further south.

It’s the kind of thing that could only happen in Māori politics and it’s one reason political commentators often assume Māori politics adheres to a kind of tribal logic.

These examples are related to the current battle over Māori seats between the Māori Prty with Mana, and Labour. Interesting insights.

Māori – Mana marriage?

The Māori Party and Mana’s Hone Harawira are talking about getting back together for next year’s election. The reconciliation is being brokered by Tuku Morgan.

RNZ: Māori Party and Mana Party agree to put differences aside

The Māori and Mana parties have formally agreed to develop their relationship ahead of next year’s general election.

The executives of both parties met in Whangarei today to discuss their future after they put their differences behind them in July.

Māori Party president Tukuroirangi Morgan said they would now focus on developing Māori politics, and doing what was best for Māori.

If Harawira and the Mana Party join forces with the Māori Party for next year’s election it raises some interesting questions.

Would this rule out Māori -Mana helping National form a government? Harawira has been staunchly against this in the past, while the Māori MPs feel they can do more good in Government rather than in Opposition.

And if Māori and Mana make arrangements about who will stand in each of the Māori electorates how will Labour manage that? Do deals with the Greens? Will that be enough to hold onto the six electorates they have regained.

Labour has been criticised in the past for taking it’s Māori seats for granted and not delivering much to the Māori constituency.

Labour have already sounded a bit like jilted brides when the Māori -Mana remarriage was mooted.