A new political poll has Labour incumbent Adrian Rurawhe ahead in the race for Te Tai Hauāuru electorate, with almost double the vote of Māori Party hopeful Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
The Māori TV/Curia poll, released on Monday night, shows Rurawhe comfortably ahead with 38 per cent of the vote and Ngarewa-Packer 18 points behind on 20 per cent. However, 30 per cent of voters were still undecided, which Ngarewa-Packer said is promising.
"I'm really pleased by these poll results which prove what we've been hearing, that this race is wide open and that we are in a great position to convince Te Tai Hauāuru over the final three weeks why they should support me with their candidate vote," Ngarewa-Packer said.
"Despite being behind Adrian in this poll, with 30 per cent of people still undecided and three weeks to go, we have every chance of winning Te Tai Hauāuru."
Despite such a significant number of voters being undecided in the electorate battle, more voters are confident of who they're going to vote for in the party vote. Labour is well in front with 51 per cent of the vote, while the Māori Party has 10 per cent. They're followed by the Greens and National, both on 4 per cent, with NZ First on 3 per cent. Only 18 per cent of voters remain undecided.
Incumbent Adrian Rurawhe said the poll is a reflection on the campaign his party has run in the electorate.
"I'm at least 18 percentage points ahead of her, almost double what she's got. So yeah, I'm pretty happy about that," Rurawhe said.
As for the undecided vote, Rurawhe isn't concerned.
"The thing is we have about 30-35 per cent of people who don't actually vote. If you remove that, the figures change to me being on 59 per cent and Debbie on 35 per cent. That's more in line with our personal canvassing."
This election, Rurawhe is placed 24 on the Labour party list, a change of last election's strategy of running in the electorate only. Ngarewa-Packer said that with Rurawhe so high on the list, a vote for her is a vote for two representatives for the electorate.
"I am telling whānau that with Adrian so high on the list, by giving me their candidate vote they have the opportunity to increase Te Tai Hauāuru's representation and strengthen our Māori voice in Parliament."
But Rurawhe rejects the idea a second representative from the Māori Party will be beneficial for the electorate.
"On current polling we're very close to getting [Labour candidate for Rangitīkei] Soraya Peke-Mason in on the list.
"It's a matter of which two can best represent this area. I'd argue you get me, and you get Soraya as well."
The electorate is one of the largest in the country, spanning from Otorohanga in the north to Porirua in the south, as well as encompassing all of Taranaki. In the last election, Rurawhe beat Māori Party candidate Howie Tamati by 1039 votes - the closest margin of any Māori seat on election night.
The Māori TV/Curia poll has a sample size of 496 and a margin of error of +/- 4.4 per cent.