Push for party vote

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

In­de­pen­dent: Waaka.

Kane

Te

Kiwi Party: Vapi Ku­penga, list rank­ing 9.

Labour Party: Louisa Wall, list rank­ing 43.

Maori Party: Pita Sharples, list rank­ing 2.

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