3 Oct 2011

Tight fight for Maori seats expected

11:07 am on 3 October 2011

A new poll indicates the race for the Maori seats in the general election will be a tough one.

The Television New Zealand Marae Investigates Digipoll found Labour continues to have strong support among Maori for the party vote.

But when voters were asked how they would cast their electorate vote - 37.5% opted for the Maori Party, 35.1% for Labour and almost 14% for Mana.

Labour says the political landscape has changed in the Maori electorates.

Kelvin Davis MP says it's no longer about family allegiances and Maori voters have genuine options this year.

Maori Party MP Rahui Katene says voters will support a party with influence.

Just over 1000 people were questioned for the poll which and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Political scientist Rawiri Taonui says the poll shows the Mana Party has not capitalised on the momentum it gained during the by-election in Te Tai Tokerau

He also says the Maori Party has lost about 20% of its party vote since January.

But because of very small sample sizes, the results are only indicative.