Politics | Elections

Big year ahead for Māori Party

The Māori Party is flying high in the polls and is gearing up for a potential history-making year for the party ahead of the election.

Party president John Tamihere says the party has been doing the mahi and now it is looking forward to getting the treats.

"Coming into an election year, we are coming in hot and we have been really well served by Rāwiri Waititi and Debbie Ngārewa-Packer. They are only two MPs but they have made the noise of 20."

"From Rātana all the way to Waitangi is our window of opportunity to embark on our stories and talk to ourselves. To me, people talk about us, never to us."

Three Waters important

According to the latest Roy Morgan voter opinion poll the Māori Party is at 4.5%. If Rāwiri Waititi were to hold onto Waiariki, that would give the party two extra seats in Parliament. There is also hope that co-leader Debbie Ngārewa-Packer could take Te Tai Hauāuru following Adrian Rurawhe's announcement that he will stand as a list MP for Labour.

The top of the political agenda for the party is water infrastructure and climate change. Auckland last month suffered at the hands of flooding which caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Is election year gearing up to be big for Te Pāti Māori?

"The truth is we have significant underinvestment in infrastructure and the only way to lift that is to bring larger communities together. There are major issues requiring more investment through central government activities. That's why Three Waters is very important."

Last year allegations were made of improper reporting on donations made to Te Pāti Māori at the last election. Tamihere says at this year's election the party is going to grassroots campaign funding.

"Out of the seven seats we have five ready to go, fully funded and that is out of the fundraising that's happening. We talk mana motuhake and tino rangatiratanga, talk all these things. We have to pony up ourselves."