After winning the recent Te Tai Tokerau by-election in what became a two-horse race between Labour and Mana, Hone Harawira extended an olive branch to the Maori Party asking them to work together.
The NZ Herald reporter, Claire Trevett detailed that the Maori Party and Mana Movement will be heading into a series of “peace talks” which starts today, which will determine whether or not they will cooperate in the general election.
“Maori Party president Pem Bird confirmed he and the party’s two vice-presidents Ken Mair and Te Orohi Paul would meet with Mana representative Willie Jackson and others today. He hoped there would be a final decision on a possible agreement after a National Council on Sunday to discuss the talks.
Supporters from both parties have voiced their concern about the raru between parties – people have been asking for away forward and it is hoped that these steps will help the parties to find common ground.
Willie Jackson told Marae Investigates that it was critical that the Maori seats stay in the hands of political parties that are led by Maori so it is timely that these talks are taking place.
Trevett reported that in the “aftermath of an often acrimonious byelection, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was dismissive about a new agreement. However, the coleaders have been more circumspect since then. When asked if she believed there was common ground yesterday, Tariana Turia said “that remains to be seen.”
On the official count, Mr Harawira’s majority increased from 867 on election night to 1117 after special votes and advance votes were counted. On the final count, Mr Harawira got 6,065 votes – up 454 from the byelection night. Mr Davis got 4,948 – up 204 while the Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene increased his from 1026 to 1087. Voter turnout was 41 per cent of the 32,855 enrolled.
The Electoral Commission had to disallow 1239 special votes – almost all because the voters were not enrolled in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. Nearly half of the disallowed votes were by people in general electorates and one-third were voters who weren’t enrolled at all.