I am not sure that there was anyone, apart from John Tamihere, who were publicly predicting that Te Pāti Māori would pick up six seats.
So what happened?
The final results clearly indicate that there was a great deal of strategic voting taking place.
Labour’s total of the party votes in the Māori electorates dropped from 115,870 to 84,776, a drop of 17.6% points compared to the national total of 23.1%.
Te Pāti Māori’s vote more than doubled from 23,820 to 57,912.
National’s vote barely shifted from 6,464 to 9,737, a shift of 1.6% points compared to its 12.5% points overall.
And overall the share of the Labour + Green + Te Pāti Māori vote increased by 0.9%. There was no swing to the right in the Māori electorates.
Although Labour still won the party vote in each electorate there was a clear swing against it and to Te Pāti Māori. Clearly some wanted a more radical offering to that which was on show.
In the constituency vote the swings were dramatically different in different parts of the country. In Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare’s vote was only 0.3% points below his 202o level. In Hauraki Waikato Nanaia Mahuta’s vote dropped by 25.2% points.
The result suggests some very strategic thinking by Maori seat electors. And this was no doubt helped by Christopher Luxon ruling out working with Te Pati Māori. From Radio New Zealand in May of this year:
National leader Christopher Luxon has bluntly ruled out working with his party’s former coalition partner should he lead the next government.
“I can’t see a way in which we would be working with the Māori Party. You know, our values are just not aligned, we believe in very different things, they believe in a separate Parliament, they believe in the co-governance of public services and they have a much more separatist agenda, and that is just something that we don’t, we’re not aligned with,” he told Morning Report.
Presenter Ingrid Hipkiss asked if he was ruling out working with them.
“Yes,” he replied. “I can’t see us working with the Māori Party going forward.”
I suspect Luxon is ruing the day that he said this. Especially given the prospect of a left leaning permanent overhang in Parliament, something that the right through sweetheart deals in Epsom and Ohariu have traditionally enjoyed.
John Tamihere has indicated clearly that Te Pati Maori will not approach National to be part of a confidence and supply agreement. Luxon must be thinking about eating some humble pie and going back on his earlier statement and picking up the phone.