BIG NEWS: Labour and the Maori vote

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Labour and the Maori vote

Now that David Shearer is Labour leader, one of his top priorities is to win back the Maori vote. Labour has five Maori MPs. Only one holds a general seat, she is fairly new -and one is brand new.

Recent strategies include putting Maori too low on their list (Mahuta-Coyle, Davis) and selecting non Maori in general seats. So really, Labour has to do better than to rely on one or two Maori seats primarily held by long-term MPs with the odd token Maori selection in a general seat.

How about doing what National has done - select good Maori candidates in safe general seats, instead of having them contesting Maori in seats that they have no show. For example, it was a mistake putting Deborah Mahuta-Coyle against Simon Bridges in Tauranga as her main competition was the NZ First vote. Tauranga was second only to Epsom as Labour's worst electorate performance. Also NZ First got 14.9% party vote, Labour got 15%, whereas Nationals party vote in Tauranga was almost the same as in 2008 - more than 54%.

In terms of winning the party vote for Maori, Labour will have to reverse the increase in party vote in the Maori seats to National Greens and NZ First, get more people to vote in rural areas and promote the Maori electoral option.

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