National | Debate

Te Tai Hauāuru voters want a Labour-Māori Party coalition

Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and current Te Tai Hauāuru MP Labour's Adrian Rurawhe before Monday evening's election debate on Māori Television.  Photo/File.

Māori voters in Te Tai Hauāuru prefer a Labour coalition with the Māori Party rather than the Green Party or New Zealand First, a Māori Television Curia Market Research poll released Monday evening says.

Fifty per cent of voters in the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate (which covers the western North Island) polled for Māori Television's first of eight election debates expressed a preference for a Labour-Māori Party coalition.

The Green Patry was the second choice to partner with Labour, preferred by 38 per cent, and New Zealand First the third preference, with 27 per cent support.

Monday evening's Te Tai Hauāuru debate saw incumbent MP, Labour's Adrian Rurawhe, discuss issues with Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine and Ngā Rauru).

Asked by Māori Television host David Jones whether he would support a Labour-Māori Party coalition, Rurawhe said Māori opinion could not be ignored but it was too early to decide.

"It's very clear about what our people are saying there, we'd be foolish not to recognise that. However, there are also 50 per cent who are saying no to the Māori Party," he said.

"The point is we wouldn't enter into any negotiations until we know the makeup of parliament."

Ngarewa-Packer was more clearcut, "Absolutely, it's whether Labour would work with us, that's the tono."

Latest polling suggests Labour may well need a coalition partner, with Monday's One News-Colmar Brunton poll showing Labour's support has fallen to 47 per cent nationwide.

This contrasts, however, with Sunday's Newshub-Reid Research poll which suggests Labour on 50.1 per cent could govern alone meaning that who Māori prefer the party work with after the election might not matter.

There is also the added complication that the Māori Party still has to make it back into parliament.

With the Māori Party polling at 1.5 per cent in Newshub's poll, Te Tai Hauāuru voters will have to hope the party wins one of the Māori seats or gets 5 per cent of the party vote if they are to get the coalition they most prefer.

The Māori Television Curia Market Research poll was conducted between 23-25 September 2020, with a total of 496 voters canvassed.  Polling was by landline and mobile with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 per cent.