Polls show Te Tai Hauāuru voters support Maori Party’s partnership with National

By Maiki Sherman

The Māori Party has a slight lead in what's shaping up to be a serious contest in the Tai Hauāuru electorate.

Trailing behind by a mere 3% is the Labour Party candidate. Clearly, it's going to be a tight race to the end.

According to Māori Television's research polls, Chris McKenzie's support is at 32%. Adrian Rurawhe is on 29%, followed by Jack McDonald from the Green Party on 11%, with MANA's Jordan Winiata on 10%.

A further 10% are undecided, and a further 8% don't support any of these candidates or won't be voting.

In the party vote, Labour is sitting on 36%, the Māori Party on 23%, National on 12%, with both the Greens and Internet-MANA on 11% and NZ First on 7%.

One of the biggest challenges for the Māori Party is defending and correcting misconceptions and criticism from many Māori regarding its relationship accord with National.

According to a Māori Television poll result, if the Māori Party held the balance of power, the majority would want it to partner with the Labour Party. However, if National were to win the election, 67.4% say the Māori Party should take a seat at the table. It's an important indication, given the criticism the Māori Party has had to endure having been in those seats for the past few years.

Their thinking is that the Māori Party remain as a scrutiniser of National, ensuring a Māori perspective is at the forefront.

A fortnight ago the people of Whanganui signed its Deed of Settlement. It's believed the success in that portfolio is an example of the partnership between the Māori Party and National.  

Only on September 20 will we know whether that support is widespread or if the Māori Party will pay the price of that relationship.