Hauraki-Waikato centre of tonight's debate

By Te Ao - Māori News

In Maori Television's third Māori electorate debate tonight at 7pm long-serving Hauraki-Waikato MP and cabinet minister Nanaia Mahuta defends her seat against first time Māori Party candidate Donna Pokere-Phillips.

Mahuta holds a stronghold on the electorate, earning over 70% of the vote in 2017. She has been a strong supporter of Treaty settlement process initiatives to help young mothers. Pokere-Phillips' aim is to provide clean and safe housing and reduce inequalities across Hauraki-Waikato.

The electorate is home to iwi such as Tainui, Waikato, Ngāi Tai and Ngāti Rāhir and to the kiingitanga. In the past King Tuheitia has endorsed the Māori Party.

The three largest industries employing people in the electorate are manufacturing (13.1%), construction (12.9%) and health care and social assistance (9.1%). Among the Māori electorates, Hauraki-Waikato has the highest proportion of those who work 60 hours or more per week (7.1%). The electorate is well known for its agriculture, horticulture and general farming culture.

Tonight expert panel presenter Rukuwai Tipene-Allen will be joined by Chris Wikaira, the director of BRG, and Tai Ahu, general counsel at Te Ohu Kaimoana, to critique and analyse the candidates’ performances.

Who's standing?

This year's candidates for Hauraki-Waikato are:

  • Nanaia Mahuta (Incumbent)

A mother, and constituent MP with 20-plus years’ experience, Labour's Nanaia Mahuta descends from Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Hine.  During her time in Parliament, she has been a strong supporter of policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities, especially social service organisations, greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse.

  • Donna Pokere-Phillips

Representing the Māori Party, Donna has had a career in law and advocacy. She has a keen interest in policy. While living in the Waikato and parenting her five children, Pokere-Phillips gained both an LLB and LLM from Waikato University. She is a descendant of Parihaka, Ngāti Ruanui, Nga Ruahine Rangi, Te Atiawa and Ngāti Mutunga.

“I want my mokos to have all the opportunities in the world," Pokere-Phillips says. "That is my driver and that’s what I stand for and what I truly believe the Māori Party can deliver for our people.”

  • Richard Hill

Richard Hill is the proud father of seven children with his wife Melissa, who is also standing for New Conservative in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate. Hill says he is standing for New Conservative in the Maori seat of Hauraki-Waikato with the sole purpose of working himself out of a job. He really wants to do this, because he believes many career politicians do an excellent job at keeping themselves employed but do not do enough to create employment for others.

  • Phillip Stephen Lambert

The Advance NZ Candidate has made no information available.

Labour's Nanaia Mahuta held the former Tainui electorate for the duration of its existence (2002 to 2008). She then ran successfully in the new seat of Hauraki-Waikato, holding it since 2008.


The electorate

The Hauraki-Waikato is a Māori electorate that spans Auckland and the Waikato regions. It covers Hamilton, Pukekohe, Matamata, Thames, Raglan, Paeroa and Kawhia, to name a few. The electorate was established in 2007, as part of electorate changes to the Tainui electorate that was established in 2002.

About 33,000 people are enrolled to vote in this electorate. Young voters - the 18-24-year olds - are now the biggest age group among voters, with 25-29 and 30-39 also big groups.

Hosted by journalist and lawyer David Jones, the seven Māori Television debates started on Monday with Te Tai Hauāuru, and are featuring candidates from each of the seven Māori seats. An eighth special te reo Māori debate, open to all the main party candidates in the general seats, will also be broadcast on Tuesday, October 6.

The remaining debates are: Waiariki,   Sunday, October 4; Reo Māori,  Tuesday, October 6; Te Tai Tonga,  Wednesday, October 7;  Te Tai Tokerau,  Thursday, October 8; Tāmaki Makaurau,  Sunday, October 11.

Māori Television will broadcast the Hauraki Waikato debate tonight. Starting at 7 pm, you can watch on: our website, the Te Ao Facebook page or Māori Television on Sky and Freeview.