Green Party candidate Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene and the Māori Party's Tākuta Ferris. Photo / File
Māori voters in the South Island's Te Tai Tonga electorate want a Labour-Greens coalition by a decisive margin, according to a new Māori Television Curia Market Research poll released Wednesday evening.
For the first time in Māori Television's current series of election polls, the Green Party (preferred by 46% of respondents) has nudged out the Māori Party (23%) as Māori voters' preferred partner if Labour is able to form a government after the election. It is the highest the Greens have scored in a poll of a Māori seat to date.
Te Tai Tonga voters chose NZ First as their third preference (21%) - just behind the Māori Party - and National as fourth (6%).
"The government will be stronger with us at the heart and centre of government," Green Party candidate Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati told viewers during Māori Television's Te Tai Tonga debate on Wednesday evening.
Recent polls of Te Tai Hauāuru, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Hauraki-Waikato and Waiariki have all seen Māori voters throw their support behind the Māori Party as the party they would most prefer to see team up with Labour post-election.
"I'm extremely encouraged by the polls that we've managed to raise the party up from out of the dust into being on par with other parties and actually leading as the coalition preferred party across the motu," the Māori Party's Tākuta Ferris said during the debate.
The Greens have consistently been Māori voters' strong second choice behind the Māori Party, with coalition support before this latest poll ranging between 38% (Te Tai Hauāuru and Waiariki) and 44% (Hauraki-Waikato).
Asked during the debate what his personal coalition choice is, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene indicated that was not even a consideration on current polling.
"Well, look at the poll numbers, we're at 50% so that will put us as government in our own right," he said. "That is mana, that is scale."
The Māori Television Curia Market Research poll was conducted between October 4-5, with a total of 500 voters surveyed. Polling was by landline and mobile with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 per cent.