30 Jun 2013

Labour holds Ikaroa-Rawhiti

6:24 pm on 30 June 2013

The Mana candidate who relegated the Maori Party to third in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election says Maori shouldn't have to split their votes and need one strong party.

The Labour Party's Meka Whaitiri won the poll with with a comfortable but reduced majority, 1761 votes ahead of Mana's Te Hamua Nikora.

Te Hamua Nikora.

Te Hamua Nikora. Photo: RNZ

Na Raihania of the Maori Party was third and the Green Party's Marama Davidson was in fourth place.

Together, Mana and the Maori Party gained more votes than Labour, which has held the eastern Maori electorate seat for 14 years.

Mr Nikora says he's proud to have finished where he did, but he says the two parties need to find a way to give Maori one strong option.

"That would be great for our people if they had that opportunity to not have to split their vote between Mana and Maori, and Maori should come back and join with Mana."

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says the parties are now separate but is not ruling out working with Mana.

"The fact is that we actually were one team and we split for very real reasons, so what are we saying, that those reasons have disappeared? We've always said, they get a good idea, we'll work with them for sure."

The Maori Party candidate, Na Raihania, says the parties have two different ideologies and are not an automatic match, but it would be worth them talking to see whether there is common ground.

Mr Raihania says a low voter turnout probably hurt Labour and the Maori Party.

Meka Whaitiri.

Meka Whaitiri. Photo: RNZ

The Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat was left vacant by the death of Labour MP Parekura Horomia in April. Voter turnout was 35.8% of those enrolled.

Labour leader David Shearer says he is very pleased with the result, particularly given the low turnout, and says Meka Whaitiri will be a great addition to the party's caucus.

"She's the person that gets alongside people, helps them along. Very strong, very nice way with people."

Ms Whaitiri says the campaign was long and she worked hard, but she wants to keep the momentum up as she enters Parliament.

"I won this first battle and now there's much work to do ... I might have a day or two off but I'm going to get into it, basically."

The Greens' Marama Davidson said the increase in the proportion of the vote from 5.4% for the party's candidate in the 2008 election, the last time the Greens contested the seat, to 9.1% on Saturday showed the party has a profile in the electorate it has never enjoyed before.

Preliminary results

  • Meka Whaitiri (Labour) 4368
  • Te Hamua Nikora (Mana) 2607
  • Na Raihania (Maori Party) 2104
  • Marama Davidson (Green Party) 1188
  • Michael Appleby (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) 161
  • Maurice Wairau (independent) 27
  • Adam Holland (independent) 13
  • Candidate Informals 51

Preliminary results are based on the 10,519 ordinary votes counted on election night, the Electoral Commission said.

An estimated 1,635 special declaration votes, 13.5% of the total votes, are still to be counted. The total estimated votes are 12,154. The commission aims to release official results on 10 July.