A couple of commentators have said that the by-election is justified as Hone needs a new mandate, having left the Maori Party. Now I partly agree with this argument, but they miss a key point. If it was about a new mandate, then Hone could have called a by-election in February when he was pushed out of the Maori Party.
This is not about a mandate. It is about having greater taxpayer funding for the Mana Party.
Mind you part of me wants the Mana Party to do well. getting John Minto into Parliament will help the centre-right no end. And with Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos backing the Mana Party, you wonder what will happen with the Green Party vote.