Mana and Maori parties set for 'peace talks' today

By Claire Trevett

Hone Harawira of the Mana Party. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Hone Harawira of the Mana Party. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The Mana Party and Maori Party will head into their first 'peace talks' today as they work out whether they will cooperate in the general election.

Maori Party president Pem Bird confirmed he and the party's two vice-presidents Ken Mair and Te Orohi Paul would meet with Mana representative Willie Jackson and others today.

He hoped there would be a final decision on a possible agreement after a National Council on Sunday to discuss the talks.

The talks coincide with the release of the official results of the June 25 by-election which showed Mr Harawira increased his by-election night majority over Labour's Kelvin Davis by a further 250 votes.

The Maori Party co-leaders will not be involved in the initial talks, which Mana leader Hone Harawira sought soon after the by-election to propose a return to an agreement not to stand against each other in the Maori seats.

He said it was better for Maori if the two parties worked to maximise their vote rather than continued to bicker.

In the aftermath of an often acrimonious byelection, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was dismissive about a new agreement. However, the coleaders have been more circumspect since then.

When asked if she believed there was common ground yesterday, Tariana Turia said "that remains to be seen."

Mr Harawira, Mr Jackson and Mr McCartern did not return calls yesterday.

On the official count, Mr Harawira's majority increased from 867 on election night to 1117 after special votes and advance votes were counted. On the final count, Mr Harawira got 6,065 votes - up 454 from the byelection night. Mr Davis got 4,948 - up 204 while the Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene increased his from 1026 to 1087. Voter turnout was 41 per cent of the 32,855 enrolled.

The Electoral Commission had to disallow 1239 special votes - almost all because the voters were not enrolled in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. Nearly half of the disallowed votes were by people in general electorates and one-third were voters who weren't enrolled at all.

- NZ Herald

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