With the high profile by-election going on in Te Tai Tokerau, comments yesterday by Tariana Turia attracted a lot of attention:
Te Tai Tokerau race ‘extraordinary’
Four days out from the Te Tai Tokerau by-election, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is steering voters away from her party. Ms Turia has said Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene is lovely and kind, but doesn’t understand politics. …
Mr Edwards says Ms Turia’s decision to remove support from Mr Tipene is a strategic one, and will help the Maori Party “kill Hone Harawira’s chances of establishing his new Mana Party… she can see that the Labour Party winning is the best chance of doing that”.
Morgan Godfery at Maui Street reached the opposite conclusion:
You can’t help but feel for old Tipene. He was chucked in the deep end without a hope in hell of doing well. He appeared to receive little to no practical and political support from his colleagues. Now his own leader is publicly slagging him. Outrageous …
In my opinion these statements represent a casual endorsement of Hone Harawira. Whatever personal animosity lingers between the two, Tariana’s hate for the Labour Party and continued desire to extract utu clearly outweighs any ill-will she harbours for Hone Harawira.
Subtle political manoeuvring by Turia, or a simple stuff up?
Tariana Turia: I stuffed up
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she “stuffed up” when she said her party’s Tai Tokerau candidate did not understand politics. Turia said she was “extremely distressed” by the impact her comments had had on Solomon Tipene and his support team. …
Turia today dismissed claims her comments were a ploy to keep Mana Party leader and former Maori Party MP Hone Harawira from getting elected.
I tend to go with the simpler explanation. Not a cunning plan, just an extraordinary blunder from Turia. I doubt that it will have much of an impact on the outcome, but certainly all political eyes will be on this fascinating by-election on Saturday.