Hone’s second mandateMake no mistake, Hone Harawira’s win in this weekend’s by-election was not about securing a mandate as the MP for Te Tai Tokerau – it was about securing a mandate as the parliamentary leader of the Mana Party. The Mana Party was registered by the Electoral Commission just over 24 hours before yesterdays polling closed at 7pm - and its leader was unemployed.
That mandate as a leader of a parliamentary political party was more important to Harawira than being just the MP for Te Tai Tokerau – although a by-election success had to happen for the former to occur. It was also more important than holding onto the deputy chairmanship of the Maori Affairs Select Committee. That’s is now lost as Harawira re-enters Parliament.
So for 21 sitting days this year, Harawira will be the leader of parliament’s newest political party, and he'll get funding as the parliamentary party leader. Formerly the holder of the Maori seat with
This win will make it more likely for people to party vote Mana at the general election. I think that Mana Party will be focusing on Harawira’s seat and the party vote in 2011 to build the Mana Party parliamentary representation around Harawira in Parliament. If Mana gets around 2 per cent of the vote in the general election, I suspect the party couldn’t care less whether two of the three MPs are list MPs or electorate MPs if Harawira gets his seat.
I suspect that the Maori Party will contest Te Tai Tokerau with a weak candidate, even Solomon Tipene. I also suspect that the Maori Party will lose at least two seats at the general election to Labour.
While the balance of the Maori seats will be distributed between the Mana and Maori parties, how that is done - and what these deals are - will determine the influence the holders of Maori seats have in parliament next year.