So, there’s been a lot of talk lately about whether, as Cunliffe says, “A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National” is true or not.

This is an interesting question, and if Cunliffe is correct when he says four-out-of-five voters on the Māori Electoral Roll are planning to party vote Labour, actually quite an important one for them.

In balancing this question out, I want to say Te Ururoa Flavell has, of course, repeated many times that he believes they can work with anyone. He also keeps saying that many people think you can only vote for the Māori Party if you’re Māori, which is not true.

Oh Te Ururoa! So naïve. Let me tell you something. I am a Pākehā. I voted for the Māori Party in 2008. Part of the reason for this is that they were mostly ex-Labour candidates, and I felt, fairly liberal. I wanted Māori to have stronger voices and more say in the direction of our country, and believed they had right to the foreshore and seabed. I believed this would be good for us all. But I would never ever vote for them again. I felt completely betrayed by their decision to join National in forming a coalition. I cannot even explain how much of a backhanded slap that felt, not just to me, but to their ability to actually give Māori a strong voice.

EDIT — To clarify, I do buy the comment “it takes courage to sit at the table”. And I guess I would feel like I understood their decision to join the coalition if there were any evidence that (as Te Ururoa Flavell says) they did soften some of National’s plans. But I haven’t seen much evidence, the Māori Party haven’t provided any, though insisting upon it, and in this instance the end seems not to have justified the means.

And what exactly do they list as their achievements? Whānau Ora? Are you kidding me? Six years in cabinet and that’s it? If you look at their aims (Māori ownership of the foreshore and the seabed, retirement age for Māori to be reduced to 60, tax reductions, teaching of Māori and Pacific history in schools), they pretty much achieved nothing that wasn’t already on National’s agenda.

So, Cunliffe says that National have been fundraising for them. Yep, I understand why. He’s shit scared that his coalition partners are so weak. It’s really a knife-edge for ACT and the Māori Party at the moment (and he seems to be actively trying to cannibalize United Future’s “hunters and fishers” vote … cool guy). He should be scared, especially since National know the polls are biased and that Labour always does better when the turnout is higher (which I really think it’s going to be this year), and National always does around 5-10 points worse than the polls say (depending on the poll).

And Labour’s coalition partners are so strong right now. Coupled with Cunliffe’s increasing confidence in interviews, debates and in general, it’s starting to look a little bad for Team Key. Not to mention how far off track the campaign has gone for them due to a little 166-page book.

So, back to my point — is Cunliffe right when he says a vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National? 

Yeah, I think he is. And I think he’s right when he says that if you’re planning to party vote Labour and give your electorate vote to the Māori Party, and you want a change in government, you’re sort of shooting yourself in the foot. 

Because the question is not “Will the Māori Party make a coalition with Labour?”, the real question is “Will the Māori Party make another coalition with National?” 

And we already know the answer to that.

Maori-Party-and-John-Key-Te-Ara