The lesson that the formation of the Maori Party taught us is that, in the age of MMP, a political party can’t piss off its base and get no reaction. Voters have alternatives, and can even set up their own party with a realistic chance of success. Some Maori left Labour over the foreshore and seabed to form the Maori Party. Now, the Greens will be eyeing up a raid on the Maori Party’s base, which is deeply dissatisfied with the leadershp’s acceptance of symbolism over substance.
Of all the political parties in Parliament, only the Greens are likely to oppose the new foreshore and seabed law. National, United Future, and the Maori Party will be for it. Labour and the Progressives will probably vote for it too, while pointing out its a waste of Parliament’s time.
Depending on which of the voices are louder in the their head that day, ACT may vote against it as they did the first FSA because it doesn’t give Maori the ability to win full property rights or vote against it because they say it creates special rights for Maori, or they might vote for it. Who knows with those weirdos.
So, the Greens will be the only place for disaffected Maori Party voters to turn to. And wouldn’t they? In the previous term, the Maori Party voted with the Greens 90% of the time, which the Maori Party’s base was clearly very happy about. The values of the Greens and the Maori Party’s base are essentially the same. With a new, young, female Maori co-leader the Greens have more ‘brand appeal’ for Maori Party supporters than they used to.
I expect that the Greens will make a strong play for the party votes in the Maori seats, and win a lot of them. This will piss the Maori Party off (remember their arrogant position that the Greens and Labour shouldn’t be trying to win the Maori seats because they ‘belong’ to the Maori Party) but all’s fair in this game.
Winning over a decent slice of Maori who aren’t happy with Labour and are disillusioned with the Maori Party will see the Greens well on target to beat their goal of getting 10% of the vote next year.