There were two ways that the Mana vs Maori Party confrontation could have gone. Some form of cooperation could have seen them holding or increasing their seats, and thus Maori representation in parliament. Alternatively all out competition between the two will see them diminished or even wiped out.
Guess which of those options the Maori Party has chosen. According to Radio NZ last night:
The Maori Party has ruled out making a deal with Hone Harawira’s newly formed Mana Party.
Mr Harawira left the Maori Party after speaking out against them and fought to win the Te Tai Tokerau by-election as a Mana Party MP.
After the by-election Mr Harawira said he wanted to forget the past and form a deal with his former party.
But Maori Party president, Pem Bird, says the deal was put to the National Council on Sunday and it is against the deal.
He says the council members want the party to continue to build its infrastructure against Mr Harawira in the north. Mr Bird says the party will not sacrifice the Te Tai Tokerau seat for what might be seen as political opportunism and expediency.
That final comment in particular speaks to me of a party that has completely lost its grip. The Maori Party has comprehensively lost the Te Tai Tokerau seat. It isn’t theirs to “sacrifice”, they aren’t going to win it back in November. Instead of adjusting to this new reality they have chosen a confrontation that can only be damaging for them, possibly even fatal.