Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Tukoroirangi Morgan to fundraise for a strong Maori Party campaign

Tukoroirangi Morgan says corporate sponsorship will be hugely important to the Maori Party. Photo / Dean Purcell
Tukoroirangi Morgan says corporate sponsorship will be hugely important to the Maori Party. Photo / Dean Purcell

Tukoroirangi Morgan says he will be on a corporate fundraising campaign as new Maori Party president to finance a strong election campaign next year.

In a bid to win all seven seats, he wants current voters to desert Labour.

He wants the Maori Party to have greater engagement with younger voters, to improve communications and to have a higher profile in general seats.

"That means we will go across the country, reigniting the flames of desire, the hearts and minds of our people, to come back home, to desert the Labour Party in readiness for us taking back all the seats," he said - although the party has never held all Maori seats.

"If we want to become a force in this country, a real genuine political force, we've got to have universal appeal amongst the young, amongst the disenfranchised, amongst our women."

The party has already attracted former rugby league star Howie Tamati who will seek the nomination for Te Tai Hauauru, currently held by Labour's Adrian Rurawhe.

Morgan said corporate sponsorship would be hugely important.

He said he would use the connections he had built over the years.

Morgan is the representative of King Tuheitia on the executive body of Waikato-Tainui, Te Arataura, and is a director on the tribe's commercial arm, Tainui Group Holdings.

Asked if he had discussed standing for the presidency with King Tuheitia, Morgan said those discussions were private "and that's where they stay".

In reference to the enmity between Hone Harawira's breakaway Mana Movement, Morgan said political alliances across the political landscape were important.

"Relationships is what makes the world go round and as someone brought up in the Kingitanga, relationships are crucial to our survival.

"I will not shut the door on any organisation that could improve the health and well-being of our people, and that includes Mana."

Morgan was elected to Parliament in 1996 when New Zealand First won all five Maori seats. But he joined Tau Henare's Mauri Pacific when Winston Peters took his New Zealand First Party out of coalition Government with National in 1998.

MAORI ELECTORATES TALLY

1993: Four seats - all won by Labour

1996: Five seats - all won by New Zealand First.

1999: Six seats - all won by Labour

2002: Seven seats - all won by Labour.

2005: Seven seats - Maori Party four, Labour three

2008: Seven seats - Maori Party five, Labour two

2011: Seven seats - Maori Party three, Labour three, Mana one

2014: Seven seats - Labour six, Maori Party one

- NZ Herald

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