Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Battle to replace Turia neck-and-neck

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia speaking to media. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia speaking to media. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The battle for the Te Tai Hauauru electorate is almost neck and neck between the Labour and Maori Party candidates according to a new poll on Maori Television.

The Maori TV Reid Research poll on Te Kaea has Maori Party candidate Chris McKenzie on 32 per cent while Labour's Adrian Rurawhe is on 29 per cent. About 18 per cent of voters were undecided.

Although it is close, the poll will come as a relief to the Maori Party and a shock to Labour which believes it will regain the seat because incumbent Tariana Turia is standing down. The Mana Party's Jordan Winitana was on 10 per cent and Green Party's Jack McDonald on 11 per cent.

Mr Rurawhe told Te Kaea he was sceptical about the poll. "The results I've got from door knocking led me to think I should be ahead, and I'm not at all convinced I'm not." Mr McKenzie said he was pleased by the result.

Further poll results from the electorate including the party vote and what voters think about coalition options will be revealed on Maori TV's Native Affairs during a debate between the candidates at 8.30pm tonight.

The poll of 500 eligible voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 per cent.

Maori Television is polling all the Maori electorates for its Kowhiri 14 candidate debate series over the next three weeks. Last week the series kicked off with Te Tonga, which showed incumbent Labour's Rino Tirikatene well ahead with 48 per cent support. The Maori Party's Ngaire Button was on 17 per cent and Mana's new candidate Georgina Beyer on 9 per cent.

Poll results for Mana leader Hone Harawira's Te Tai Tokerau electorate will be broadcast last on September 15 and may give the first sign of whether Labour candidate Kelvin Davis' criticism of Mr Harawira's deal with Kim Dotcom's internet Party has gained any traction.

The results for Waiariki, in which the other Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell is up against Mana's Annette Sykes will screen next Monday.

- NZ Herald

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