The Mana and Maori Parties are set to go head to head in a battle for Maori electorates in November's general election.
The Maori Party last night rejected an offer for the parties to collaborate and Mana leader Hone Harawira is disappointed but moving on with plans to stand candidates.
This means the Maori Party might lose Waiariki, Te Tai Tonga and Tamaki Makaurau. The party might not gain any new seats. Tariana Turia will be the only Maori Party MP left standing. The Maori Party had two choices: put aside any lingering animosity and work towards forming a powerful tino rangatiratanga bloc in Parliament or refuse to work in partnership with the Mana Party and, instead, work against them. The Maori Party chose the latter.
A strategic partnership made sense for both sides. The Maori Party would retain the ability to win the Maori electorates while the Mana Party would be free to build a monopoly on the Maori vote.
Hone will retain his seat. Tamaki Makaurau might fall to either Shane Jones or the Mana candidate. Hauraki-Waikato will be retained by Labour. Annette Sykes might win over Te Ururoa Flavell.
(Just out interest I notice Annette is participating in a debate in Rotoiti on behalf of the Mana Party – surely this confirmation that she intends to stand. Immediately after the byelection Annette also acted as the de-facto Mana Party leader. Please confirm whether or not you are standing Annette!).
Parekura will win Ikaroa-Rawhiti. Tariana will retain her seat, but with a decreased majority. While Rino Tirikatene will erode Rahui Katene’s 1000 vote majority and snatch Te Tai Tonga.
It appears that the Maori Party have allowed personal feelings to cloud their objective judgement. The Maori Party might just have signed their death sentence.