Best line of the election thus far has to go to Te Ururoa Flavell:
“The Maori Party is not going anywhere. We have been planning, and building like Maori ninjas operating in stealth mode.”
The stealth quotient must indeed have been high, for at present this planning and building remains nigh on invisible… If the Maori Party want to take all seven Maori seats this election, as party president Naida Glavish declared, then the party had best cease the ninja impression and unveil its grand plan.
In terms of winning all seven seats, the Maori Party is in fantasy land, which they presumably know. Every party has to sound upbeat about their electoral prospects, but Ms Glavish is taking upbeat just a tad too far, especially given that a fair few pundits are predicting the complete demise of the Maori Party from Parliament this election.
It’s not all as bad as it seems though. Mr Flavell would have to be considered the favourite to hold Waiariki. Although his majority over Annette Sykes is rather less than he’d undoubtedly prefer, he’s now the Maori Party leader, and will benefit from the additional exposure that role provides.
And in the party vote, this site’s Poll of Polls has had the Maori Party resolutely stuck between 1.1% and 1.3% (with one outlier in mid-March, where they dropped to 1.0%), generally holding enough support to just bring in a second MP if NZ First doesn’t make it back. So… if Mr Flavell can hold his seat and either hold the party vote at its current level or raise it by a few fractions of a per cent, and NZ First doesn’t make 5%, Mr Flavell probably won’t be alone!
It may not be a glorious clean sweep of the Maori seats, a la NZ First circa 1996, but when you’re the Maori Party and you’re staring down the barrel of losing two of your three electorate seats, getting a second seat from the list surely can’t be sneezed at?