Undecided could decide Auckland Māori seat

By Heta Gardiner

Undecided voters could hold the keys to the city of Tāmaki Makaurau in this Election.

Māori Television's latest poll reveals the closest race of all the seven Māori seats is in Auckland.

Labour's Peeni Henare is ahead on 46.0% as the preferred candidate.  The Māori Party’s Shane Taurima chases on 32.6% with the Green's Marama Davidson in third on 21.4%.

"I thank those who have supported me but we all know that there is one week left.  So I just need to keep doing the work on the streets in Auckland," said Henare.

But the winds of change could lie in the undecided.

In Tāmaki Makaurau, there's a surprising high number of voters in the older age groups who are yet to be convinced.  While young voters often don’t know, mature voters are more loyal and more likely to get to the voting booth.

But in Tāmaki Makaurau, the don't knows account for 17.6% of voters aged between 35-44; 19.6% among 55-64 and 15.9% for 65+.

If such high numbers of undecided swing behind Taurima or Davidson, it could potentially swing the seat.

"What this poll does show is that voters are still unsure where to go, which is why we have taken our campaign to another level because we've got to get out there," said Taurima.

Among those who do know their preferred candidate, Henare leads among both the youngest and oldest voters with 45.5% support among those aged 18-24; 30.4% for 25-34 and 50% among 65+.

Taurima gets 18.2% among 18-24; overtakes briefly to 34.8% among 25-34 before dipping to 40.5% among 65+.

Davidson's strongest support is among younger voters with a strong challenge of 36.4% among 18-24; going neck and neck with Taurima at 34.8% among 25-34 before diving to 9.5% among 65+.

"That’s good.  I’m focused on getting the party vote," said Davidson.

In the Preferred Party, all Auckland roads in this Māori seat lead to Labour with a commanding 47% support.

The Māori Party is a distant second on 14.5%; National 12.6% and New Zealand First 12.1%.

While the Greens are fifth with 11.3%, it's the strongest performance for the Greens in all of the Māori electorates.

The Tāmaki Makaurau poll was conducted by Reid Research from July 12 to September 5 with 400 voters and a margin of error of 4.89%.