The contest between the Maori Party and Labour candidates in the Tamaki Makaurau electorate is paper thin according to a new poll -- but almost one quarter of voters are still undecided with only a fortnight to go.
Maori TV's Reid Research poll on Tamaki Makaurau has the Maori Party candidate Rangi McLean on 28 per cent with Labour's Peeni Henare on 27 per cent. internet Mana's Kereama Pene is on 14 per cent and the Green's Marama Davidson is on 7 per cent.
However, the results on Te Kaea showed 24 per cent of the 500 voters surveyed were undecided or would not vote at all -- and the candidates have just a fortnight to try to win that undecided vote.
The candidates will meet for a debate on Native Affairs at 8.30pm tonight when further poll results, including the party vote and home ownership will be released.
The Auckland-based seat has been held by the Maori Party's Pita Sharples since 2005, but he is stepping down this year. It was initially expected Labour would easily win the urban seat back but its candidate selection was fraught after the party blocked former broadcaster Shane Taurima from standing.
Mr McLean is a prominent community figure, especially in South Auckland, while Mr Henare, 34, has a strong political lineage but is not as widely known and not based in the electorate. The business advisor for the Ministry of Social Development lives in Moerewa, north of Whangarei.
Labour blocked former TVNZ broadcaster Shane Taurima's candidacy after an investigation into his use of TVNZ resources for party political purposes, including meetings on the premises. The inquiry cleared the programmes he oversaw of any bias, but Mr Taurima resigned over the controversy and was told by Labour that he could not stand this election. It has not ruled out allowing him to do so in future.
Ms Davidson is campaigning for primarily for the party vote.
The poll of 500 eligible voters in Tamaki Makaurau was taken from 24 July to 16 August and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38 per cent.