The Maori Party - a real force?
The latest Maraepoll on the Maori seats suggests that if an election was held now, four of the six Maori Labour MPs will lose their seats, but three will be straight back on the list.
Just Tainui's Nanaia Mahuta and also Parekura Horomia will be re-elected although Horomia is fifth on the Labour list and so will get in anyway.Mahuta is way down the list. Gone will be John Tamihere.
Others to get elected, based on the poll, would be Tariana Turia, Pita Sharples, Hone Hariwira, Te Ururoa Flavel and Monte Ohia.
Sitting Maori MP's likely to get in on Labour's list include Dover Samuels, Mita Ririnui, Mahara Okeroa - and also new MP Shane Jones. Gone will also be list MP Dave Hereroa.Full results here.
Tamihere called the poll a "hum-dinger". Well, he would, he is polling 36 percent behind his Maori Party counterpart and may be looking for a job as a full time talkback host as he is not on Labour's list. The interesting thing is that, according to the poll, Maori consider that JT is the second most effective Maori MP and Maori on the general roll think he is the most effective Maori MP. But those in his electorate prefer co-leader Pita Sharples.
As previously noted 15 percent of the population is Maori but we have seven Maori seats due to the numbers on the Maori roll. We currently have 15 Maori MP's.
Clearly many on the Maori roll are upset with Labour, while at the same time some are happy to vote for other parties on the list on the belief that their favoured candidate from the Maori Party will be elected. This could result in an "overhang", meaning there will be more than 120 MPs, and the electorate vote will be more important than the party vote. If five of the seven Maori MP's get elected, but the party itself does not get 5 percent, the party could well get about three more MPs than the proportion of their party vote, irrespective of the order of the party list. That would probably make them the fourth biggest party in Parliament.
About 20 percent MP's in parliament would be Maori - and it would be more if parties other than the Maori Party, NZ First and Labour had decent list placings for Maori. United Future, the Progressives, and Act have no Maori MPs, while the Greens have Metiria Turei.
So much for proportionality: 20 MPs, 12-15 percent of the population are Maori, and half hte parties in Parliament will have no Maori.
The Maori party will be a real force after the next election and I am not suprised at this poll.
update The Sunday Star times is now out and has articles here and here with commenentators saying that Labour will be "shaking in it's boots". It's likely that some Maori will shift their party support to Labour if they see the list vote as irrelevant, but then Labour may end up shunning the Maori Party at the election come coalition formation time should it win.
The Marae-DigiPoll survey was conducted between April 4 and 14 and surveyed 734 voters on the Maori roll and 426 Maori voters on the general roll. The margin of error is plus or minus - 2.9%. Results for electorates are indicative only because of sample size, and have a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.