Last night on Native Affairs I was alerted to some extraordinary comments from Tariana Turia. At first I thought she had been misquoted, but it appears her words can bear no other meaning. From 3 News:
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has effectively thrown in the towel in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election with five days still to go.
She says her candidate Solomon Tipene is a lovely kind kaumatua but he does not understand politics and that has hurt him.
“I think he has shown he doesn't understand politics and that is fair I think and that's been a real issue for him,” she says.
You can’t help but feel for old Tipene. He was chucked in the deep end without a hope in hell of doing well. He appeared to receive little to no practical and political support from his colleagues. Now his own leader is publicly slagging him. Outrageous:
3 News asked Ms Turia who she thinks will win.
“I mean ideally, and I suppose if he's done the work on the ground, it should be Hone - it will be interesting to see if he comes through,” she says.
So that could be interpreted as Ms Turia saying she thinks Mr Harawira will win.
3 News asked Ms Turia would she urge Maori Party voters to now back Mr Davis to get rid of Mr Harawira.
“No,” she replied.
In my opinion these statements represent a casual endorsement of Hone Harawira. Whatever personal animosity lingers between the two, Tariana’s hate for the Labour Party and continued desire to extract utu clearly outweighs any ill-will she harbours for Hone Harawira. Having said that, Duncan Garner reaches the opposite conclusion:
Ms Turia has not gone as far as saying ‘vote for Labour today’ but the message is still clear - the Maori Party is out of the race and if you want rid of Mr Harawira only Mr Davis can now achieve that.
I don’t think this is accurate. Nor do I think many Māori Party voters will lean towards Kelvin Davis. I’ve said before the tino rangatiratanga vote is incompatible with Labour, but comfortable with Hone Harawira. The anti-Hone vote, which really only exists in the minds of Pākehā political journalists, is small as well. I think it is logical to assume that if the Māori Party vote collapses then Hone will be the main beneficiary. Ideologically speaking, there is little to separate Hone and the Māori Party. It would also be a cynical and almost ruthless move to vote Kelvin in an attempt to keep Hone out. I doubt whether that many, if any, Māori Party supporters resent Hone that much. Remember it was Labour’s populism, or betrayal as many Māori Party supporters would portray it, that spawned the Māori Party. I tend to doubt that Māori will ever forget this. Hone is certainly the lesser of two evils.
This move from Tariana may determine the outcome of the byelection. It is only Tuesday, but as the horrid cliché goes, a week is a long time in politics. I am still calling it for Hone. However, there are now so many factors at play. Can Labour mobilise the vote outside of West Auckland? Has Hone enrolled enough supporters? Will the Māori Party issue directives to their supporters? With so many variables can Hone still win? Definitely, and I am 90% sure he will.
UPDATE: From TW.com:
UPDATE: From TW.com:
Staff at TangataWhenua.com hardly think that the conspiracy theories hold any water, if you know Tariana Turia, although she has and had issues with Hone, she simply HATES Labour and we’d find it hard to believe that she would want to see Labour take the seat.