Tāmaki Makaurau candidates finesse MMP game

By Te Ao - Māori News

In the final of Māori Television's Whakatau Māori electorate debates, Tāmaki Makaurau candidates Peeni Henare (Labour incumbent MP), Marama Davidson (Greens) and John Tamihere (Māori) quietly presented their cases to voters, showed great respect for each other - and at the end of the debate hugged each other.

That came in sharp contrast to a debate on Marae earlier in the day, when former MPs Tau Henare, Georgina Beyer and Hone Harawira went on attack against current Labour MP Willie Jackson.

Panellist and former National MP  Claudette Hauiti described the Tāmaki Makaurau debate as MMP at its finest.

Economy, housing, policies and Covid-19 were the most important issues to voters in the Tāmaki Mākaurau electorate. The candidates were asked for their top priorities.

“Right now it’s all focused on jobs and retraining,” Henare said.

“That’s making sure our income support levels are sufficient enough for all our people to live lives with dignity,” Davidson said.

“Twenty-five percent of all government contracting must be made available to Māori corporates, Māori businesses and Māori labour,” Tamihere said.

Allocation wrong

Te Puea marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis, who was also a panellist, talked about bureaucracy as a critical issue in the housing sector and asked the candidates: “How do we get funds directly to the table of whānau?”

“It’s about the allocation of social housing. We (Māori) are pushed to the back of the cue. The allocation of social housing is wrong,” Tamihere said.

“Housing and health, funding directly to kaupapa Māori organisations,” Davidson said.

Hauiti raised the issue of child poverty saying one of the ways to address this was to raise the benefit levels for whānau on benefits and asked when Labour would do so.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done but we know we’ve got more work to do. You’ve got to cut out the bureaucracy and that only works with stronger partnerships with community,” Henare said.

All three candidates made a point of saying that they could and would continue to work with each other after the election.

Dennis said all three were needed working together.

Watch our video for more of the debate.