Competition for Māori seats heats up
By Eruera Rerekura – Eru.Rerekura@tvnz.co.nz @erurerekura
The countdown is on with less than 90 days to go until the general election and the competition for the Māori electorates is well and truly on.
The Māori Party announced its candidate for the Te Tai Tonga seat on Tuesday.
She is Mei Reedy-Taare, a woman who has a long career in communications, but admitted to Te Karere that she has her work cut out for her.
The daughter of Sir Tamati Reedy and Lady Tilly Reedy may be the new face of the Māori Party but she is no stranger to politics. She was Labour’s candidate in 2002 for the Bay of Plenty general seat. She now completes the Māori Party’s line up of six vying for six of the seven Māori seats, with Mana Party leader Hone Harawira left to contest Te Tai Tokerau as per their agreement.
Ms Reedy-Taare says as far as Te Tai Tonga goes she has plenty of influential iwi support.
“We've had that endorsement not just from the Te Tai Tonga office that came through today, but also from Sir Mark Solomon and from Paul Morgan (Chairman of the Wakatū Incorporation).
“I mean, these are big movers and shakers down in Ngāi Tahu and they have pledged their support.”
And she was quick to acknowledge her genealogy to the South Island.
“Today I stand here and I want to remind everyone that I am actually the mokopuna of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Porou.”
But for politicians such as Green co-leader Metiria Turei, who also is standing in Te Tai Tonga, and the incumbent Te Tai Tonga MP, Labour’s Rino Tirikatene, their campaign is a well-oiled machine.
“I'm feeling really confident about the campaign overall. We need the party vote in the Greens to get back into Parliament - so that is the main vote that I am campaigning for.
“If people feel that I am their best representative, then it's great to have the electorate vote,” Ms Turei said.
Although Labour and the Greens have a joint campaign to ‘Change the Government’, Rino Tirikatene told Te Karere that party votes are just as important for him too.
“MMP elections - it's the party vote which determines who will be government. I know that Metiria is working hard as a co-leader of her party to secure as much party vote as possible.
“It's fair to say I'm in the same boat as well; I'll be working as hard as I can to secure as much party vote as I can,” Mr Tirikatene said.
Mei Reedy-Taare also added that she had no disillusions about her huge electorate that takes in Wellington City in the north and all of the South Island.
“It is a big electorate and it's going to be a huge challenge, but we have a really powerful group already set up in Christchurch and I think you've seen today what kind of support we can rely here in Wellington.”