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Māori Party fighting to get back in Parliament in this election

The Māori Party is hoping to stage a resurgence this election and make its way back into Parliament.

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The Māori Party is hoping to stage a resurgence this election and make its way back into Parliament. Source: Q+A

Meanwhile Labour Party is launching its own campaign for re-election in the seven Māori seats today, but questions have now been raised about whether Jacinda Ardern's Government has been held to account for delivering to tangata whenua.

In Te Tai Hauāuru, along the west coast of the North Island, Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is hunting for votes in what is believed to be the party’s best chance at winning a seat.

Labour's Adrian Rurawhe won the seat by 1000 votes last election.

Mr Rurawhe believes there are only around 1500 Māori electorate voters who haven’t made up their minds.

“You basically have to run different campaigns across different parts of the electorate, so my campaign in Porirua is quite different to my campaign in South Waikato, for example,” he said.

The Māori Party was turfed from Parliament after then-co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell lost the seat of Waiariki to the Labour Party’s Tamati Coffey last election.

The Māori Party has since changed leaders, with Ms Ngarewa-Packer and John Tamihere taking the helm.

"Where we are, I guess, is we’ve had three years out of Government, and we’ve been able to spend that time reflecting, spend that time connecting and reconnecting and pull together the tuira of our values," Ms Ngarewa-Packer said.

The University of Auckland lecturer Dr Lara Greaves said it is "incredibly hard for parties outside of Parliament to gain any kind of traction," however. 

"We’ve seen parties outside of Parliament that have had millions of dollars try to get into Parliament, and fail."

Ms Greaves, Ms Ngarewa-Packer and Labour Party MP Willie Jackson discussed on Q+A the concerns around the Labour-led Government’s handling of Māori issues, and the value of independent Māori leadership.

Watch the video for the full Q+A report.