28 Jun 2011

Harawira tops in Northland, but Auckland polls close

9:05 pm on 28 June 2011

A breakdown of the results from the by-lection in Te Tai Tokerau shows more support in the north of the electorate for winning candidate Hone Harawira.

The Mana Party leader and former Maori Party MP won the seat on Saturday with a majority of 867 votes over the Labour candidate, Kelvin Davis.

Mr Harawira had his strongest showing in Northland, where he won at a majority of polling booths.

Labour fared better in the Auckland parts of the electorate, though the results in West Auckland were close.

Preliminary results put the voter turnout at just over 41% which compares to 36% in the recent Botany by-election, and 55% in Mana.

As the focus now turns to the November election, the stand-off between the Maori and Mana parties shows no sign of being resolved.

Mana Party members want Mr Harawira to try to reach an agreement with the Maori Party on a united approach to secure the seven Maori seats.

Mr Harawira says he would rather not stand candidates against the Maori Party, but doubts the bad feelings held by its leadership have died down.

He says he'd be happy if the two parties could focus on what's important to Maori rather than fight against each other.

"The bad relationships of the past are no reason why there shouldn't be at least steps to try to establish a positive relationship for the future," he told Morning Report.

He says if an agreement can't be reached, it will be because the Maori Party refuses to play ball.

Mr Harawira says he will be touring the country before his party's annual meeting in August, where decisions can be made.

Sharples would work with 'constructive' parties


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he personally does not want to work with Hone Harawira, but is not ruling out co-operating with the Mana Party on specific issues.

Dr Sharples told Morning Report he will work with any party that has something constructive on offer but Mr Harawira's constant sniping isn't on.

"This kind of fencing that he does with us, it doesn't make for good relations, and if he's going to carry on in that vein we won't be having a bar of him.

"But we'll work with any party, including his, if they have something constructive that we can work together with."

Dr Sharples says he does not believe the by-election result indicates the Maori Party faces problems with other seats in the general election.

Election strategy

Mana Party supporters gathered in Whangarei on Sunday to discuss Mana Party policies and election strategy.

Lawyer Annette Sykes, who is on the party's working group, says the hui was unanimous in asking Mr Harawira to try to reach a co-operative agreement with the Maori Party. She says they want a united approach to secure the seven Maori seats.

Ms Sykes says a time limit of one month has been set, and the matter will be reviewed if an agreement isn't reached by then.

Labour MP Shane Jones says the Mana Party is more than likely to stand candidates against the Maori Party in the election and that will split the vote, leaving the Maori seats up for grabs. Labour holds two of the seven Maori seats.