29 Nov 2016

'Dirty politics' toughest barrier in Ikaroa Rāwhiti - Fox

6:31 pm on 29 November 2016

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox's only path back into Parliament may be through winning Ikaroa Rāwhiti, but says she will have to overcome "dirty politics" to do so.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox

Marama Fox Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

An alliance between the Māori and Mana Parties could mean the end of Ms Fox's days in Parliament if she does not win her seat.

The new formal agreement between the two parties could see her drop off the list at the next election.

Answering questions today in Parliament about her political future, Ms Fox said "you'd have to be some sort of a ning-nong not to have worked that out the day after the 2014 election".

Ms Fox said the biggest challenge in the Ikaroa Rāwhiti electorate, which covers the southeast coast of the North Island, would be overcoming the "misinformation and dirty politics that gets played out up there".

Asked whether she was referring to current Ikaroa Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri or her supporters, she responded by suggesting journalists look at the local paper.

Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan has sent a warning the party was going after more Māori seats - with six of the seven currently held by Labour.

Political commentator Scott Campbell said there was a real risk for the party co-leader.

To come back into Parliament in the next election, Mrs Fox would likely have to win the East Coast seat from Ms Whaitiri, who won by a 4600 majority at the last election.

The seat - which runs from Lower Hutt to Te Āraroa - has been a Labour seat since 1999. In 2014 the Labour Party won nearly 50 percent of the party vote, while the Māori Party collected 12 percent.

If a deal was done between the Māori Party and the Mana Party, Ms Fox could potentially challenge Ms Whaitiri, but Te Hamua Nikora, who ran second to Ms Whaitiri, would have to be on board.

Ms Fox has ruled out standing in any other Māori seat, including Tāmaki Makaurau or Te Tai Tonga.