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Maori play it smart

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, March 3rd, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: maori party, polls - Tags: ,

The Marae-Digipoll has the political commentators all excited over what has been accepted fact in the blogosphere for some time: the Maori party will win all the Maori seats and will probably be Kingmaker.

The poll shows that Maori voters overwhelmingly favour Maori Party candidates and are evenly split on giving their party vote to the Maori Party or Labour (National, unsurprisingly, barely registers). As they did in 2005, many Maori will vote for a Maori Party candidate and give their party vote to Labour.

Which is not surprising, Maori are clever voters. They know that splitting their vote is the best way to further Maori political interests:

  • The Maori Party gives an independent voice for Maori,
  • Labour’s Maori MPs will be high enough on the list that they will return to Parliament despite losing electorates increasing the proportion of MPs who are Maori and retaining a Maori voice in Labour,
  • Maori vote splitting increases the size of the overhang in Parliament, resulting in a larger majority being needed to govern, which, in turn, increases the likelihood that Labour or National will need a deal with the Maori Party to govern.

The poll also confirms the Maori Party’s base is of the Left: its voters are former Labour voters and many will split their votes between the Maori Party and Labour. That fact makes any idea of the National-Maori Party governing arrangement little more than a pipe dream. The Maori Party will not risk internal collapse to make John Key Prime Minister. Given that, the prospect of a Maori Party Kingmaker and a large overhang favours the Left.

13 comments on “Maori play it smart ”

  1. dave 1

    You didnt mention that 15 percent of Maori Party supporters – those that are Maori – want a coalition with National. Thats hardly “barely registering”.

    You also didn’t mention that there are more former Labour voters that want to vote National than there are former Labour voters that want to vote the Maori party.
    Labours vite is D

  2. Steve – in fact the most interesting opinion poll result to come out in regard to the Maori Party is the one that showed that 43% of Maori Party voters prefer a coalition with the National Party. Many commentators (especially on the left) presume that the huge majority of Maori Party support is pro-Labour and they all favour a deal with National.

    The latest poll actually says that only 57% favour going with Labour against 43% who favour National – not an overwhelming difference. Even I was rather surprised that the difference was so small.

    This makes a nonsense of your wishful thinking claim that ‘any idea of the National-Maori Party governing arrangement little more than a pipe dream. The Maori Party will not risk internal collapse to make John Key Prime Minister.’

    So how do you explain that so many Maori Party supporters want their party to go with National when you regard the Maori Party as leftwing?


  3. Steve Pierson 3

    At the last election. National gained 5% of the Maori vote. So, given the history and the huge margins of error in this poll, I’m inclined to see the results for National in this poll as overrating support for National or a National coalition.

  4. gobsmacked 4


    It’s simple. It’s hypothetical versus real.

    The Maori Party *is* John Key – the default choice, until you ask what they would actually do.

    Whatever happened to the “tight five”?

  5. It is a massive distortion of the MMP system that Maori enrolled voters in effect have a vote that is worth two General roll votes. It’s an argument to abolish not only Maori seats but the general electorate seats too and to move to a complete proportional system where 1% of the vote gets you 1% of the seats without overhang.
    It would rid us too of those one-man-band “parties” who only hang on because of electoral deals in general seats

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    Uroskin. Of course, there are downsides to pure list systems too. Voters have no control over which members of a party get elected (well, they do in some variations), its totally down to internal politics. No system is perfect but I prefer MMP to any other I’ve seen.

    The seats are an important recognition of Maori’s special relationship with the Crown under the Treaty. However, I agree that in the age of MMP, the case for the Maori seats is weakened considerably. Perhaps the ideal situation would be to not have Maori seats and to have a lower threshold. Arguably there shouldn’t be a threshold at all – doesn’t a group of 1% of the population have as much to right 1% of the voice in parliament as a group of 10% of the population has a right to 10% of the voice?)

    The decision to abolish the Maori seats should really be an issue for Maori or as part of a general constitutional overhaul. Any referendum will simply be a chance for the bigots to vote anti-Maori.

    captcha: tyrannical as

  7. dave 7

    The seats are an important recognition of Maori’s special relationship with the Crown under the Treaty
    Well,thats absolute rubbish. The seats have nothing to do with the Treaty. Maori seats were established by the 1867 Maori Representation Act, after conflict over land sales and a desire for political representation.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Bryce – where did you get that 43/57 split for the labour/national party vote? Was that another statistic released by the poll?

    I haven’t been able to find that stat anywhere, but saw another statistic:

    Among Maori voters 38% say they will give their party vote to the Maori Party while 37% opt for Labour and 15% tick National.


    Seems Labour is more popular, as it was last time around.

    Was there somewhere else that showed those who would vote for the Maori party with their party vote preferred National over Labour?

  9. Matthew Pilott 10

    Dave, in your blog, you said “Interestingly of the 38 percent of Maori Party supporters, 57.1 percent want a coalition with Labour, and 42.9 percent with National.

    So, there’s 37% for Labour and 15% for National. Over and above that, from the 38% that will vote for the Maori party, a further 15% support National, and a further 21% support Labour (based upon the 57/43 split).

    The final support is therefore 30% for National, and 58% for Labour. I think a few people have got sucked in by the 57/43 split and failed to understand it was a very selective figure that the media decided to present.

    While it’s not decisive, I think it’s still clear; Labour’s actual support from Maori voters is double that for National.

  10. dave 11

    The 57/43 split relates to coalition preferences for those who will party vote the Maori party – ie will not party vote National or Labour. As none of the 57/47 split will vote National or Labour, this split therefore cannot transfer to support for the two main parties as to ‘support” a party normally means either voting for it, or indicating in a poll that you would vote for it if the vote was to be held today. So when you say “a further 15% support National, and a further 21% support Labour” that is incorrect. They only support these two parties as their favoiured coalition partner.

    If Helen Clark is correct – and I dont think she is – in saying that a party vote for the Maori Party is a vote for National, that more than triples National support from 15% to 53% – as opposed to Labours 37%. And then theres the margin of error…. I bet you that of the 15 percent of Maori who want to vote National, higher than 11 percent want to go into coalition with the Maori Party. This refers.


  11. Matthew Pilott 12

    Dave, yep you’re right but I’m not talking about votes. It is simply another indicator that th right is wrong when they say the Maori party is more likely (or equally) to go with National.

    58% indicated support (or a desire for coalition with) Labour, and 30% for National.

    As they’re likely to get an overhang, and be in a position to help decide a winning coalition, a party vote for the Maori Party is a waste – pick your coalition partner instead!

    About 53% supporting National (by a party vote for MP being a vote for Nats), that’s just plain wrong when there’s a poll which has indicated who those people support – Clark may have said that as a suggestion that if Maori wish to make sure the party doesn’t go into coalition with National, but the poll actually tells you what they’re (well a ridiculously small sample) thinking, and more support Labour than National.

  12. dave 13

    It is simply another indicator that th right is wrong when they say the Maori party is more likely (or equally) to go with National.
    BNO it isnt. Polls are not indicators of a party’s preference, they are indicators of what teh voters what their party’s preference to be. NZF and UF have jumped both ways.

    Polls only indicate public support – and that support does not transfer to teh desire of the party. So the right is not wrong – but the poll is no proof that the right is correct, either.

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