The Maori Party are today unveiling another strategic alliance which National are quietly hoping will get the party enough votes, so National doesn’t need Winston Peters to form the next Government.
Today’s alliance will be with the One Pacific; a South Auckland-based Pacific Islands political movement.
The goal is to make inroads in Labour’s fortress South Auckland seats and Pacific Island candidates will stand under the Maori Party banner.
In a statement, yesterday One Pacific said it was a political movement rather than a political party as such.
“It is a Pacific Political Movement and Platform,” the statement said.
“It is not a Political Party.
“However, its structural framework enables us to organise ourselves in an orderly and focused manner, so that we are at the ready to respond in the best interest of Pacific people and our communities.”
The statement says One Pacific will be in partnership with the Maori Party for this election.
“One Pacific shall journey together with the Maori Party because they are the only political party who have offered us fair and equitable co-sharing arrangements under their Maori Party ticket for our Pacific candidates, people and communities.”
The Maori Party leadership s believe the partnership could make inroads into the 50,000 votes that Labour got in Mangere, Manukau East and Manurewa last election.
The Maori Party will also be hoping to pick up some of the 915 votes that went to Internet Mana in those seats.
Last election the the Maori Party got only 400 votes in the seats. (Maori voters in those seats vote on the Maori roll).
All this is part of a clear determination by the party to try and increase its representation in Parliament this election.
The leadership is optimistic that it can pick up at least another three — maybe more — seats.
It launched its last candidate, Mei Reedy-Taare, for the southern Te Tai Tonga seat currently held by Labour’s Rino Titikatene.
Reedy-Taare is a former television journalist and communications manager at the NZ Embassy in Washington and is the daughter of Ngati Porou educationalist Sir Tamati Reedy.
Though her Ngati Porou ancestry may seem at odds with the heavily Ngai Tahu southern seat, Maori Party President Tuku Morgan points out that many Maori living in Wellington are Ngati Porou and that Reedy-Taare’s mother is Ngai Tahu.
Morgan is making it clear that the party wants to expand its influence in the next Government.
“We will make a serious tilt to reclaim all the Maori seats,” he told the launch of Reedy-Taare’s campaign.
“Wee will no longer allow people other than ourselves to shape our own destiny and to decide what is good for us.
“While we will continue to work with other political parties, in the end, for far too long we have been passengers in someone else’s political bus.
“Now we are driving our own bus.”
But he stressed that the Maori Party wanted to unite the country.
“We are not going to divorce ourselves onto an island by ourselves.
“The Maori Party has its roots in protest, but it is a movement for progress.”
the party’s co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell told the launch that this election was a great opportunity for the party.
“Our people must take this opportunity not to put up again with those who stay silent and simply can only yell from the back of the bus,” he said in an obvious reference to Labour’s Maori MPs.
It is the Maori Party’s determination to win all the Maori seats which put them at odds with Labour and makes them so attractive to National.
But ultimately, as Morgan often says, the party’s goal is to have a permanent seat “at the big table” of Government.
That means in the future also working with Labour.