Some Tai Tokerau supporters of the Maori Party worried about leadership wrangles would like Hone Harawira back.
And Mr Harawira - who split from the Maori Party in 2011 to form the Mana Party which he leads - would be interested in a Mana-Maori coalition with him at the helm.
The Maori Party is now working its way through a leadership succession process with co-leader Tariana Turia not standing in the general election next year.
She expected co-leader Pita Sharples to also retire, clearing the way for Te Ururoa Flavell to take control.
But a spokesperson for Dr Sharples said the Maori Affairs Minister's electorate wanted him to contest the election and seek party leadership as it was considered a staged succession would help party stability.
Any union between Mana and the Maori Party wouldn’t work. The Maori Party is innately conservative. The party’s term in government is characterised by incremental change. Some of that change is structural, think Whanau Ora and the constitutional review, but it is change within the confines of capitalist democracy. The party’s overarching goal, captured in their “at the table” metaphor, is to insert Maori and Maori values into NZ power structures. The consequence of this is the normalisation of kaupapa Maori politics.
On the other hand, Mana is inherently socialist. The financial transactions tax, 20,000 new state homes and “abandon(ing) the market-based provision of essential services” sit uneasily with the Maori Party’s approach in government. Mana advocates a systematic overhaul – they want to remake the table. Mana aims to empower the working class rather than insert Maori (mainly from the political and economic establishment) into NZ power structures.
Esoteric things aside, musing on a merger is a convenient way for Hone and Pita to goad Te Ururoa. In his quest for the leadership he and Pem Bird have driven Hone out of the party and, according to Patrick Gower, are attempting to mount another leadership challenge against Pita. The change needs to happen, but on Pita’s terms. Te Ururoa’s reckless ambition already led to the creation of the Mana Party, he must be careful not to let it lead to a death warrant for the Maori Party.