Push for party vote
In part two of the Auckland City Harbour News’ election coverage, we talk to those contesting the Maori seat Tamaki Makaurau
THE scramble for party votes is dominating the campaign race in Maori seat Tamaki Makaurau.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has strong support in the electorate he took in a landslide victory in 2005.
Dr Sharples won more than half the electorate vote, ousting sitting Labour MP John Tamihere. But Labour retained more than half the party vote, followed by the Maori Party on 27 percent, and New Zealand First on 5 percent.
New MP Louisa Wall is contesting the seat this year for Labour, and says she’s pushing for both electorate and party votes.
“In the context we currently have, I’m going hard for both,” she says.
A former New Zealand representative in both rugby and netball, Ms Wall entered Parliament in March, replacing Ann Hartley.
She’s ranked 43 on the party list, and not guaranteed a return to Parliament unless she wins the seat.
Ms Wall says there’s strong support for both Labour and the Maori Party among Maori, with many splitting their vote.
But she’s reminding them the Maori Party hasn’t ruled out making a deal with National.
“What I’m finding on the campaign trail is strong Labour support but a lot of people split their vote, and they do that on the assumption the Maori Party will go with Labour.
“I don’t think voters are being totally informed about what the options of their vote are.”
The Greens polled at just 3 percent of the party vote in 2005, behind the National Party, but were hampered by not standing a candidate.
This time Mikaere Curtis will be pushing for party votes by highlighting the Greens record on Maori issues.
And he says the Maori Party is likely to win more electorate seats than their party vote share, so won’t bring any list MPs to Parliament.
“If you want to fend off future National attacks on the Maori seats, then you’re going to need as many Maori MPs in Parliament as possible,” he says.
Kiwi Party candidate Vapi Kupenga is also encouraging voters to think strategically.
She supports Dr Sharples, but wants Maori to use their party vote to ensure the best representation for Maori in Parliament.
“People need to make an informed decision,” she says.
The Mt Eden resident is standing for newcomers the Kiwi Party because of their stance on values, and opposition to the anti-smacking law.
National Party member Kane Te Waaka is standing as an independent.
He decided to run after missing out on the National nomination for Manukau East.
The party has sanctioned his bid, he says, despite the National policy of abolishing Maori seats.
“I really wanted to have a shot at getting in as an MP, so I thought I’d just front up.”
The Tamaki Makaurau electorate, one of the country’s seven Maori electorate seats, encompasses Auckland, Waitakere and Manukau cities.
The electorate has a high percentage of young people, with 42 percent aged under 20. More than 17 percent speak te reo, compared with 4 percent in the total population.
More than 29,000 people are affiliated with Ngapuhi. The next most common iwi affiliations are Ngati Porou, Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto.
The Chief Electoral Offi made a late announcement of the nomination of independent candidate Marama Nathan.
Dr Sharples could not be contacted by the time of going to print.
Green Party: Mikaere Curtis, list ranking 16.
Kiwi Party: Vapi Kupenga, list ranking 9.
Labour Party: Louisa Wall, list ranking 43.
Maori Party: Pita Sharples, list ranking 2.