Howie Ta­mati tack­led short of elec­tion line

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - MIKE WAT­SON

Ma¯ ori Party can­di­date for the Te Tai Haua¯ruru elec­torate, Howie Ta­mati, has come up short in his bid to un­seat Labour Party in­cum­bent MP Adrian Ru­rawhe.

Be­fore the elec­tion Ta­mati was be­ing touted as a pos­si­ble king­maker in a new Govern­ment.

With all elec­tion night votes counted, Ru­rawhe had a 1135 ma­jor­ity over Ta­mati.

Of the 17,910 votes counted, Ru­rawhe had 8038 to Ta­mati’s 6903 - a 58.1 per cent lead to Labour, with the Ma¯ ori Party on 14.9 per cent.

Ta­mati was with sup­port­ers at Mu­ru­rau­patu Marae, Te Arei Rd, Bell Block, near New Ply- mouth, watch­ing re­sults come in.

The mood was bouyant with singing and mu­sic but re­al­ity was kick­ing in amongst sup­port­ers that Ta­mati would miss out be­com­ing an MP.

‘‘I know I have done my best and my team have done their best to win,’’ he said.

Ta­mati said he had never been in an elec­tion race be­fore and it was all new to him.

‘‘I can’t tackle any­one, I can’t run past any­one, I can’t score a try, I’ve just got to sit back and let the spec­ta­tors make the de­ci­sion,’’ he said.

The former Kiwi rugby league rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and NZ Rugby League pres­i­dent, had been strongly touted to take the seat.

Ta­mati, of Ngati Mu­tunga, Te Ati­awa, and Ngai Tahu af­fil­i­a­tion, was at­tempt­ing to re­gain the seat for the Ma¯ori Party af­ter it was lost to Ru­rawhe in the 2014 elec­tion.

Ma¯ori Party leader Dame Tar­i­ana Turia had held the seat for the party from 2004 un­til she re­tired in 2014.

Turia pre­vi­ously held the seat for Labour be­tween 1996-2004.

The elec­torate in­cludes the iwi of Taranaki, Whanganui, Horowhenua, Manawatu, the Kapiti Coast and Porirua, along with Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Ma­niapoto.

Ta­mati had polled ahead of Ru­rawhe, of Ngati Apa, who was party spokesman on Treaty of Wai­tangi Ne­go­ti­a­tions, in the lead up to the elec­tion.

New Zealand needed the Ma¯ori Party’s voice in par­lia­ment, he said.

SUP­PLIED

Maori Party can­di­date Howie Ta­mati

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