The Herald reports:
Mrs Turia confirmed yesterday that she was “seriously reconsidering” her decision and discussing it with her family.
She announced her retirement at the last election, saying she would step down at the end of this term.
This is not totally surprising, nor unwelcome. As the Herald notes:
The Herald understands Mrs Turia’s goal is to see her whanau ora policy embedded.
Whanau ora would bring together funding from various Government departments – health, education, justice, housing, social welfare – and funnel it directly to families in need of state assistance, rather than separately through different bureaucracies.
Mrs Turia is raising her 8-year-old grandchild, so the pressure of working in Parliament is a consideration.
If she stays on, it will resolve the Maori Party’s leadership dilemma, with no clear successor in its ranks.
The lack of a clear successor is a real issue for the Maori Party.
By 2014, one would expect both Sharples and Turia to retire. Turia will be 70 and Sharples 73.
The three other Maori Party MPs are all good constituent MPs, but neither Flavell or Katene (at this stage) have a national profile. Hone Harawira does, but I imagine he would agree leadership would be too stifling to him.
So how does the Maori Party get into Parliament, a couple of MPs who can take over in 2014? They are most unlikely to get any List MPs in 2011. And I don’t expect any retirements from the three other constituency MPs.
Hence they need to get their future leaders to either enter in 2011 by winning one or both of the two Maori seats they do not hold. If Derek Fox finally won Ikaroa-Rawhiti, he would be a logical contender. Mind you he will be 64 in 2011 and 67 in 2014.
The other option is that you look for the future leaders to replace Turia and Sharples in their own seats. This means however they go straight into the leadership as new MPs, which could be challenging.