Native Affairs is on the road again, this time in Whanganui at St Mary's Church. The debate will feature Tariana Turia (incumbent - Maori Party), Soraya Peke-Mason (Labour), Jack McDonald (Greens) and Fredrick Timutimu (Mana). The debate will take a "town hall" format and screen at 9.00pm on Maori TV.
Native Affairs will travel to all seven Maori electorates. The debates, in my opinion, have the ability to change the trajectory of the Maori elections. Case in point the Te Tai Tonga debate. After Monday no one will say that Mana's Clinton Dearlove (aka Hurricane) isn't going to do well.
Tonight, I think Tariana will fend off her opponents. Having said that, Soraya Peke-Mason is a strong candidate and genuine good person. Jack McDonald is, without doubt, a future leader and will be part of the Greens caucus when he's ready to make the step up. Fredrick Timutimu is, like Dearlove, a little bit of an unknown quantity and he could, like Dearlove, come out of left field and steal the show.
Should be an interesting watch, but I think the smart money's on Tariana to clean up. Unlike the others she is no stranger to debates - even televised debates. I think her Mana alone will scare the other candidates - it would scare me.
(I probably won't blog on the debate until the show comes online)