The Greens in Te Tai Tokerau

Written By: - Date published: 2:13 pm, February 20th, 2017 - 13 comments
Categories: election 2017, greens, hone harawira, Kelvin Davis, labour, mana, Maori Issues, maori party, Maori seats, water - Tags: ,

The Greens have announced that Godfrey Rudolph will be standing in the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau at the general election.

Rudolph names two main areas of interest as a candidate, those of water protection and te reo Māori. He describes himself as a humanitarian, educationalist and independent thinker, and previously stood for the Albert-Eden Local Board. Of Pakanae and Ngāpuhi descent, Rudolph is a fluent te reo speaker, with a background in teaching and as a cultural advisor.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says that the decision to stand a candidate for the first time in the electorate comes from increasing support from Māori for the Green Party, and relates this to the Greens’ commitment to Te Tiriti as well as constitutional issues around that and the practical issues around te reo, kura kaupapa Māori, health issues etc.

The Greens’ party vote in the electorate over the MMP elections,

1996 1,818 (the Alliance)
1999 1,046
2002 1,839
2005 533
2008 709
2011 1,704
2014 2,278

2005 was the year that Labour’s Dover Samuels lost the seat to the Māori Party’s Hone Harawira and that directly followed the establishment of the Māori Party the previous year when MP Tariana Turia left Labour over the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

Māori politics are often poorly understood and reported on within the non-Māori parts of society, and I’m certainly no exception, so arohamai for this being basic. From my Pākehā view it looks like Te Tai Tokerau is going to be a key seat in the 2017 election, given its recent history. Hone Harawira held the seat for three terms, first for the Māori Party and then leaving the Mp over its support for National and winning the seat in a by-election for the newly formed Mana and then the subsequent general election (both in 2011). At the next general election (2014) while standing for Internet Mana he lost the seat to Labour’s Kelvin Davis, but by a small margin (743 votes, or .034% of the total vote). Which, depending on who you listen to, was either because northern Māori objected to Mana’s relationship with the Internet Party and Kim Dotcom, or because Labour, National, and NZF collaborated to oust Harawira in favour of Davis, thus removing Mana, the only strongly left-wing party, from parliament (and in the process reducing the left’s chances of winning the election).

Labour have pushed hard to regain and retain the Māori seats, now holding all but one. This year Mana are working with the Māori Party from whence they originated, and the two parties have made a deal whereby the Māori Party don’t stand in Te Tai Tokerau, and Mana don’t stand in the other Māori seats, with the aim the of taking the seats back from Labour.

Māori Television summarised Godfrey Rudolph’s place in the scheme of things thus,

  • 5 candidates will be standing for the hotly contested seat.
  • The Māori Party has aligned itself with Kingitanga and the Mana Party.
  • Labour is strengthening its relationship with Rātana and the urban vote.
  • The Greens are working issues such as their recent policy announcement of including te reo Māori as a core subject in all schools. Both Rudolph and Turei say they are after the party vote rather than challenging the incumbent, Labour’s Kelvin Davis. (I am guessing that again there is no deal here, just common sense in the context of the MoU between Labour and the Greens)

Turei on the upcoming election,

Every party is going to be arguing for the votes that they want, and it’s good for Māori voters to have real choice.

Te Tai Tokerau replaced the old FPP Māori electorate of Northern Māori in 1996 and runs from part way through West Auckland up to Cape Reinga covering significant urban and rural populations. The main centres are Whangarei, Bay of Islands, and north and west Auckland. It contains all of Ngāpuhi, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kahu rohe, and part of Ngāti Whātua.

The seat has been held by Tau Henare once (NZF), Dover Samuels twice (Lab), Hone Harawira three times (Mp, Mp, Mana), and Kelvin Davis once (Lab).

Here are the votes from the last two elections. Full history of Te Tai Tokerau voting here.

party vote 2011 party vote 2014 electorate

vote 2011


vote 2014

Labour Party 6,855 8034 Kelvin Davis 6,956 9,712
Māori Party 2,208 2,300 Waihoroi Shortland 3,114 Te Hira Paenga 2,579
Green Party 1,704 2,278
Mana 4,844 4,246 (Internet Mana) Hone Harawira 8,121 8,969
National Party 1,814 1,938
NZFirst Party 1,950 3,296

[This post was written before the Mana/Māori Party announcement today]

13 comments on “The Greens in Te Tai Tokerau”

  1. adam 1

    Good choice by Greens, I hope he is up there on the Greens list.

    This will be one to watch, I’m not sure Hono can win it. But I do like his Māori first approach this time around.

    • garibaldi 1.1

      I would have preferred the Greens to not put up a candidate to give Hone a better chance. This move by the Greens is not wise if we want a change of govt. They could have chased the list vote in this electorate. Maybe Shaw is leaning to the blue-Greens more? Hope not.

      • solkta 1.1.1

        The Greens have a MOU with Labour. Mana has just made a similar deal with the Maori Party. The Maori Party has been holding up a National government for three terms and are supporting the RMA changes that will do things like remove Northland’s GE Free status and give developers an open field to develop coastal land.

        The Greens will still be just chasing the list vote only in TTT as they do in every other electorate.

      • Electorate candidates are part of the Greens’ party vote strategy, Garibaldi. It lets them get into local candidate debates, attend events, and put a local face to the party’s values, and some people (still, sadly) get confused and don’t realise you can split your party and electorate vote, so for those people it gives them the two-tick option they’re looking for. The Greens currently aren’t running in electorates to win electorates.

        Now, you may be right that Mana back in Parliament is a strategically better position for the Greens, as the Greens have a lot in common with BOTH independent Māori parties, and at least Hone is solidly left-wing. However, unlike Labour, there is no agreement with the Mana, Māori, or New Zealand First parties that they’re going to work to change the government first and foremost. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that any accomodations with those parties, until they sign onto a deal similar to Labour and the Greens’ MOU, is possibly going to aid National in forming a government, and Labour and the Greens should both act in their potential coalition’s interests first.

        Mana is probably the least likely party of the three to do so, but you heard talk from Hone in the announcement today of possibly re-merging the two parties. That would definitely make it a long-term strategic blunder to help Hone, as the MP has been clear that they will go into coalition with whoever forms a government, if they’ll have them, which means Hone won’t be a guaranteed left-wing seat anymore, he’ll be a left-wing MP in a centrist/non-aligned party.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Hone wuz definitely robbed last time, and so was the country by not having him and maybe one other IMP in parliament, heh even old Dover came out swinging against Hone

    the Greens should resist temptation here if the main goal is indeed sending the Nats packing

    Hone’s interview today was reflective and it looks like more of the original kaupapa of the MP may re-emerge

  3. swordfish 3

    How did Greens in TTT split their candidate vote at the last Election ?

    2014 Green Party-Vote 2,278

    Candidate Vote choice by Greens
    …. Harawira (IMP) 42% (953), …. Davis (Lab) 40% (916), …. Paenga (Maori) 12% (262)

    • Cheers. Looking at those numbers, I think it’s reasonable to assume that voters who supported Paenga and don’t want to try to boost Rudolph to 5% will switch to Mr. Harawira, so it’s just a matter of whether there’s a push to recoup Rudolph’s electorate deposit from the more motivated Greens in TTT, or whether they’re going to be pushing for their preferred non-Green candidates. Māori seem to get vote-splitting pretty well, so it may be that there won’t be the same issues we’ve seen in Ōhāriu, where the push to recoup that deposit effectively decides the candidate by default.

      My normal suspicion is that Green electorate voters who prefer to recoup the electorate deposit are reluctant Labour voters when there’s no Green option, but we’ll see in this case.

  4. gsays 4

    good info and analysis, weka.

    my gut response to this news was here we go again.
    the prime oppurtunity for another left party in parliament, and, yet again, made harder by centre left crowd.
    i read somewhere that larger centre left parties do not like parties to the left of them and this seems to confirm it.

    i know it is far more complex than this.

    • solkta 4.1

      I think you will find that it is actually much simpler than that. It is clear that the Party Vote is lower for a given electorate if the party concerned does not run an electorate candidate. Even just having a name on the ballot makes a difference. Godfrey will likely be a good candidate, so he could make a big difference to the Green Party party vote in TTT.

      • weka 4.1.1

        Yes, both Godfrey and Turei have said he will be going for the party vote. But still, this does come across as an intentional decision by the Greens to not take Harawira into account, hence saying they won’t undermine Kelvin Davis. I can understand why, IMP was bad for the Greens last time round.

      • gsays 4.1.2

        hi solkta,
        i agree with most of that.
        hopefully there is a way that greens get their party vote wishes fulfilled and hone gets into parliament.

        • Oh, there’s definitely a way. Two ways, in fact.

          One is that Greens who already split their votes continue to do so, and only people who were convinced to change their Party Vote by the electorate candidate’s presence double-tick. That’s relatively unlikely, but it could happen to a degree large enough that the Greens’ entering a candidate doesn’t alter the outcome of the race, and would mean the Greens wouldn’t be likely to swing the race away from Hone. I would expect that those swayed would likely have been Labour or Māori Party voters in the past, as in my experience people who want to party vote really left but don’t like the Greens are not hugely likely to change their minds easily.

          The other is that there does come a push from existing GP voters to get the Green candidate to 5% of the electorate vote… but it comes largely out of the faction of TTT Greens who supported Davis last election. If that’s the case, the Greens’ candidate will have actually helped Hone get elected. My suspicion is that if the Greens’ entry has any effect on the winner, this is the most likely one, but my confidence on that isn’t to betting levels just yet.

    • saveNZ 4.2

      Kinda agree with gsays, Here we go again.

      I like Hone Hawawira and want him back. I also like the Greens so don’t really like them standing against him. Think Labour made a mistake last time running against him.

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