Flavell on PPTA boycott

February 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says:

Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader, has expressed disappointment at the influence of PPTA in advising Whangarei Boys High teachers to not teach students who attend Te Kura Hourua Te Kapeha Whetu.

“As I understand it the Board of Trustees at Whangarei Boys High was happy to support Kura Hourua students in specific areas such as the visual arts. That type of cooperation has been modelled in the relationships that many other kura establish with general schools, wananga, polytechnics and other education providers across New Zealand. It represents a dynamic relationship that we should surely be fostering in our communities – that the education and learning of our students impacts on us all,” says Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader.

“I recognise that Partnership Schools is a major political issue and teachers have a right to their views on educational policy, but what about the kids? Surely we should be putting the best interests of our young people ahead of our politics.”

That would be nice. Boycotts have no place in our education system.

“I was a teacher for many years and I know that the profession prides itself on putting the interests of our children first, but this flies in the face of those values. I would have thought as teachers, that what matters is that every student experiences success. That’s what Te Kapeha Whetu want. That’s what the Maori Party wants. Come on PPTA – surely there are other ways of making political statements that do not impact so immediately on our kids.”

The PPTA must be gravely concerned that charter schools will be successful.

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Flavell looking safe

October 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

TVNZ has results of a Te Karere DigiPoll in Waiariki.

The party vote results (and change from the election) are:

  • Maori Party 35% (+14%)
  • Labour 29% (-6%)
  • Greens 8% (-1%)
  • Mana 6% (-11%)
  • National 4% (-2%)
  • NZ First 3% (-8%)

The electorate vote:

  • Maori Party 43% (nc)
  • Labour 17% (-8%)
  • Mana 8% (-25%)

The changes are comparing election vote (with no undecideds) with current preferences (with undecideds) so take that into account. However it is very clear that the Maori Party is benefiting in Waiariki from Flavell’s accession to the co-leadership, and he looks rather safe to retain the seat.

59% of voters said Flavell does an above average or better job as a local MP and only 4% say below average. That’s an incredibly high rating.

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Flavell elected co-leader

July 13th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Te Ururoa Flavell has been elected co-leader of the Maori Party, replacing long time leader Pita Sharples.

No-one voted against Flavell in a vote at the Maori Party’s annual conference in Whakatane today.

An MP for Waiariki since 2005, Flavell was the only person nominiated in the vote, which took place at the annual conference in Whakatane today.

An emotional Flavell fought back tears as he thanked about 300 party members for electing him.

“I want you to know that i am up for this…I will give it my all.”

Flavell had been engaged in a long running powers struggle with Sharples, who announced earlier this month that he would stand down as party co-leader at this weekend’s conference.

Naida Glavish has also been elected president of the party, replacing Pem Bird, who announced recently that he would not stand for re-election.

An advisor to the Auckland and Waitemata district health boards and the New Zealand Police, she is a former commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. She is chair of Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua.

Glavish earned fame as the “kia ora lady” when in 1984 working as a phone operator at New Zealand Post she was demoted for answering the phone with the now widely used phrase. After controvercy she was returned to the role and allowed to continue to answer the phone with kia ora.

Congrats to Flavell and Glavish. Now the leadership issue has been settled, they have a foundation they can build on. Their party vote support remains at three times the level of Mana. I don’t think there is any prospect they won’t be back in after the next election. The question is how many seats will they have. They could even gain a list seat if they lose an electorate seat.

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Flavell on compromise

June 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Te Ururoa Flavell writes in the NZ Herald:

Parliament is not a place for dreamers who run and hide away when their dreams are crushed.

It is a place where negotiation happens, where consensus takes place, where change can happen if you know how the system works, and you are prepared to stick at it for the long haul.

When my bill came back from the select committee it was “gutted”. That’s right, there is no denying it.

But I wasn’t about to pull out on those communities who desperately need change. So I started working with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Chris Tremain, on how to advance the many issues that my bill sought to address.

The result? Well, it is a broad package of class 4 gambling reforms – and while my bill has been plucked within an inch of its life, we have been promised that many of its precious plumes will be tucked away in a new home, within the regulatory and legislative reforms proposed by the Government.

The changes announced by Mr Tremain this week are a direct result of my bill, which was a catalyst for action. We raised the issue, we put it on the agenda, and this wider package is the result of our hard work.

What Flavell is saying is it is easy to grand-stand and make speeches on an issue. It is far harder to actually work with MPs and the Government to get legislative and policy reform.

The Mana Party is very good at being outraged and making speeches. but can they play a constructive role in Government?

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Flavell’s Gambling Bill

June 18th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

The Government is promising more reform of non-casino gambling after a watered-down bill was reported back to Parliament yesterday.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain and Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell are due to announce a harm-minimisation package tomorrow.

That comes after a weakened version of Mr Flavell’s Gambling Harm Reduction Bill was reported back from the commerce select committee.

Prime Minister John Key said National and the Maori Party had found “some common ground”.

“I think the way Te Ururoa would see it is that . . . he’s got some wins.”

The bill aimed to return the proceeds of pokie machines to the communities they were made in and give local authorities more control over gambling operations.

But the committee rejected the plan to return 80 per cent of profits, instead allowing for regulations to ensure more of the proceeds returned to the same geographical area.

It also ruled out imposing the use of pre-commitment, player tracking, or other harm-minimisation devices, saying it would be “premature to mandate specific approaches”.

And it ruled out removing horse racing from the list that could receive gambling profits.

Labour reserved its decision on supporting the bill but the Greens will now vote against it.

I don’t like the status quo in terms of the relationships between some of the pubs, gaming operators and charitable trusts that distribute community funding. It is seriously flawed.

However what was proposed in the original Flavell bill would have almost led to political corruption. It proposed that local authorities be out in place of handing out money from pokie machines in their areas. That would have been terrible. Could you imagine the patronage as local Councillors give money out to various local groups, in return for their support.

So what were some of the changes made to the bill:

  • Requiring councils to take over the distribution of funds – no submitters supported this, including the councils. It would have been a significant extra burden for them and would have politicised the grants process. It is a no brainer that this was deleted from the Bill.
  • Requiring 80% of proceeds to be distributed locally – this makes sense in principle, but 80% may not be the right amount, and the mechanism set out in the Bill (to require it in gaming societies’ licence conditions) was rather inflexible. The revised Bill allows the same thing to be achieved through regulations, which can be changed much more easily. There is no suggestion that the Government won’t proceed with regulations, so this is not a question about the policy, just the mechanism.
  • Requiring the use of harm minimisation devices – again, the Bill would have imposed this on societies through their licence conditions. The revision enables regulations to be made instead, which would actually allow a nationwide policy, rather than setting it through individual licences. Regulations are also more flexible to allow for new technologies as they become available. Again, the Bill has simply been changed to provide for a different mechanism, not to water down what Flavell is seeking.

Flavell has actually actually achieved some very significant policy changes, compared to the status quo. His bill has been re-drafted almost totally, but that is because with respect it was very badly worded – as many members’ bills are – as they don’t have PCO and government departments able to do it for them.

By focusing on the outcomes, rather than the mechanisms, Flavell has managed to get a pretty good victory – especially as his original bill could easily have merely been voted out as unworkable.

It will be interesting to see what the Greens do with their lobbying bill. The bill as worded is unworkable and draconian – something even they acknowledge. It would make some tweets between MPs and some members of the public on policy issues an offence. Will they compromise on the mechanisms proposed to get a bill that is workable, or will they insist on no significant changes leading to it being voted down? It is far easier to grand-stand than to actually achieve a workable solution.

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The Maori Party leadership hui

April 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party held a hui on the 17th of March, in Huntly, to try to resolve the leadership issue between Sharples and Flavell.

It was chaired by Tuku Morgan, who declared that there was no consensus for change. What has not been reported is that there was overwhelming support for Flavell to succeed Sharples as co-leader, but after the seven electorates voted, Tuku closed the meeting and declared that anything other than unanimity did not represent consensus.

I’ve been informed by someone credible who was at the Hui, that five of the seven Maori electorates voted that Flavell should succeed Sharples at some stage before the election.

Flavell won the votes of Hauraki-Waikato, Te Tai Hauāuru, Te Tai Tokerau, Te Tai Tonga and Waiariki.

Sharples was supported by Ikaroa-Rāwhiti (his whakapapa) and Tāmaki Makaurau only.

Many of those in attendance were flabbergasted that the moment the vote was declared, Tuku closed the meeting unilaterally declaring there was no consensus. If the Hui had been allowed to discuss the ramifications of the 5-2 vote, it is possible a compromise or succession plan could have been agreed upon.

Sharples’ latest attack on Flavell from China (to do so while part of a trade mission has some journalists saying it is a very bad look), accusing him of blackmail has dismayed many who know that there is a limited window of time for the Maori Party to work out a compromise, or risk losing some of their seats at the election.

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Maori Party leadership stand off resolved

April 1st, 2013 at 8:06 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party have announced:

New co-leader, Te Ururoa Flavell, has announced a solution has been implemented to the leadership and succession challenge that the Maori Party have been facing.

Upon reflection we have all agreed that with Tariana retiring at the 2014 election, it will not benefit the Maori Party to have both co-leaders retire at or before the next election. Therefore it has been decided that Pita will remain co-leader for the foreseeable, future and will remain a Minister while the Maori Party is in Government.

Maori Party President Pem Bird has thanked Pita Sharples for his agreement to remain one of the helmsmen of the Maori Party waka, and also thanked Tariana Turia for her service to the party.

Tariana has agreed for her retirement to take effect immediately as a co-leader, and the National Council has resolved to elect Te Uroroa Flavell as her successor  This means that we will have clear leadership going into the 2014 election with Pita Sharples and Te Uroroa Flavell as co-leaders. Tariana will remain a Minister up until the election, and it is our expectation that Te Ururoa will become a Minister after the election if the Maori Party is in Government again.

 

 

(more…)

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Sharples on staying on

March 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has come out of his corner fighting in the leadership contest with MP Te Ururoa Flavell, saying that although he knows the standoff could damage the party he will not stand aside or give a future date for his retirement, because he believed staying on was critical for the party to survive.

I think Sharples motives are good, and he is right that if he retired as an MP it would be bad for the Maori Party. He will be 73 at the election, and probably wouldn’t mind a quieter life.

But the issue is whether he has to remain as co-leader to still help the Maori Party retain support. I would have thought there is some sort of elegant solution where he becomes the “Kaumata”, is pledged to remain a Minister but you make Flavell co-leader to clearly signal there is a succession plan.

“I believe I’m the best person to lead us into the next election. We’ve had so much disruption with Hone going, and people saying there should only be one Maori party, and now Tariana is leaving.

“So it is important someone who has the connections, who is known throughout the country and has given all my heart and integrity is there to try to rally them back to the party.” He said he was not angry at Mr Flavell for challenging, but wished he had waited a while longer.

However, Dr Sharples is also refusing to commit to standing down at a future date after 2014 even if that would convince Mr Flavell to stay his challenge, saying that might weaken his leadership impact.

If there had been some clear indication of dates, then I imagine Flavell would not have been so public with his desires.

Dr Sharples also said he regretted saying he hoped to lead the party until the day he died – a comment he said was intended to be light-hearted but which drew criticisms, including from NZ First leader Winston Peters, by people comparing it with a dictatorship. He hoped Mr Flavell would stay on if the party elected to stay with Dr Sharples.

“I would love him to stay with me, so we could work together. He’s an awesome worker. But the leadership is a particular kind of thing at this stage, and I think I can reach out to a whole lot of sources that need to come back.

It will be interesting to see if they manage to find a solution to this.

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Young on Flavell

January 15th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Today’s profile is of Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

What MP outside your party impresses you and why?
I’ve got a bit of respect for Lockwood Smith because of what he has been able to do for the position of Speaker in his time. He is really clear about what Parliament is all about and he tries to bring that same sort of feeling and passion to how he attempts to present Parliament to the nation. He recognises things Maori do have a place but I suspect even he might feel constrained. But I like the dignity he brings to the office. And I always kind of like Nick Smith because he is one politician who had his hand on the pulse in terms of his understanding of the portfolios that he ran – Environment and Local Government – really knowledgeable and his willingness to engage with us.

A fan of the Smiths!

Do you have a bill in the private members bill ballot?
Yes. It would give iwi, hapu and whanau a veto right for all permits approved under the Crown Minerals Act and establish a joint management committee with the applicants if they are successful in getting a permit.

Not a bill I’d support!

Name one of your heroes outside politics.
I kind of liked Willie Apiata [VC] right from when he first got his award and whenever I see him there is something about him. I don’t know what it is. He really impresses me as a neat person to talk to yet ever so humble. He must be courageous. And just how he carries himself, I think he is a bit of a hero for me.

A hero for many.

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Turia says Sharples should stand aside for Flavell

December 21st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

This is a very significant story. Claire Trevett reports:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has called on her fellow co-leader, Pita Sharples, to step down and hand over the reins to MP Te Ururoa Flavell, despite Dr Sharples’ plans to stand again in 2014.

And Mr Flavell is considering not standing again in 2014 if Dr Sharples does not give up the leadership, saying he is not sure whether he wants to wait around until 2017.

I think the writing is on the wall. Of course Sharples will be 73 at the next election.

Mrs Turia will stay on as a minister but is open to handing over the co-leadership earlier. This week she told Waatea News Dr Sharples should follow suit to make way for Mr Flavell – the natural successor for the leadership, who had been expected to take over by 2014 until Dr Sharples decided to stay on.

“The leadership role is not about being a minister,” Mrs Turia said. “Being the leader of a political movement is something quite different. There is absolutely nothing stopping Pita from continuing to be the minister.”

Here’s what I would do if I was the Maori Party.

  1. Have Flavell take over as co-leader from Sharples at some stage before the election
  2. Have Sharples continue as a Minister
  3. Line up the desired new co-leader to replace Turia to stand in Te Tai Hauauru.
  4. After the 2014 election, if Maori Party in position to be Ministers have Sharples and Flavell as Ministers.
  5. Have new female co-leader focus on party leadership, rather than being a Minister
  6. Line someone up to succeed Sharples in Tamaki Makauru in 2017.
  7. Have Sharples stand down as a Minister in 2016, allowing female co-leader to step up as a Minister

I regard Flavell as a smart parliamentary operator, and think he would be a very competent Minister.

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The Local Electoral (Māori Representation) Amendment Bill

May 18th, 2010 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

No Right Turn alerted me to this private members bill drawn from the ballot. He supports the intent, but not the details of the bill. I have problems with both.

The bill basically forces every city council, district council and regional council to have one or more Maori wards – reserved for voters of Maori descent.

I think such a move would be appalling, and push us towards a Fiji style country, and set back race relations massively.

I also think it shows how dangerous it can be when the debate keeps shifting down this path.

At a national level, we have had the Maori seats since 1867. They were well intentioned, allowing Maori who owned property communally to vote – a right limited then to property owners.

In an ideal world the seats would have been abolished in 1879 when the property requirement was abolished. It is somewhat shameful that up until 1976, Maori were not even allowed to vote on the general roll.

I regard it as a shame that the Royal Commission’s recommendation to abolish the Maori seats (and in exchange have a lower threshold for Maori parties) was not implemented. Have race based seats is just not something that long-term I think is likely to create a more harmonious New Zealand.

However I do generally accept the proposition that regardless of the lack of a principled rationale for race based seats, that trying to unilaterally abolish them would be an act that would in itself be disharmonious and create a huge backlash. There is a huge difference between not creating something, and taking something away. Hence I don’t think it is wise to try and abolish the Maori parliamentary seats, unless one could get widespread agreement from Maori to it.

But having said that, I think it is important that the Maori parliamentary seats be seen as a historic exception, and not the rule. However we are in some danger of ending up there.

In 1998 Tuariki Delamere sponsored a bill to allow the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to create a Maori ward or wards.The argument was that it was only for that one Council which had special needs, and the parliamentary seats was a precedent. And people thought well, why not allow it.

It was not supported by National, but in 2001 Labour passed it as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Act 2001.

The exception then became an option for all, and Labour passed the Local Electoral Amendment Act 2002 which allowed any Council to establish Maori wards either on their own initiative or by referendum, which can be  upon petition by 5% of electors.

So a historical anomaly became a one off example in one Council, and then became an option for all Councils.

And it didn’t stop there. The Royal Commission on Auckland recommended that the new Auckland Council have three Maori seats, regardless of whether or not the people of Auckland wanted them. Labour demanded that the Government create Maori seats for Auckland, rather than even leave it to Auckland to decide. So again, the debate shifted from should they even be allowed, to should it be created without consultation.

And then finally we have the Local Electoral (Māori Representation) Amendment Bill by Te Uroroa Flavell, which would impose Maori wards on every council in New Zealand, dividing every single authority up into Maori and non Maori.

Now it is all well intentioned, and supporters will claim the means justify the ends. But again I don’t think we want to end up like Fiji with race dividing voters electorally.

So I fully expect Flavell’s bill to be voted down. No doubt the Greens will vote for it. I suspect Labour would love to vote for it, but they may vote against it on the basis of its flaws (beyond the principled opposition to it). NRT describes these:

Currently councils can establish Māori wards, and if they do, their number is determined by the number of people on the Māori roll in that district. Flavell’s bill would change this to being determined by the number of people of Māori descent. However, voting in those wards would still be limited to the 60% of Māori on the Māori roll. Which means that those wards will be systematically undersized, and those Māori systematically over-represented.

This would be a huge gerrymander. Basically voters in the Maori wards would have twice as much power as those in other wards. NRT also fisks the justification from Flavell:

Flavell’s justification for this change is that

This change is made because 40% of the Māori population is under 18 years and is therefore excluded under the current formula.

But this is simply incorrect. The current formula uses the definitions from the Electoral Act 1993, which specifically includes people under 18. So those people would already be represented (though unable to vote)

Incidentally I believe electorate populations should be based on the adult population, not the total population – but that is a debate for another day.

NRT concludes:

I don’t think this is an attempt at a stitch-up; rather its likely a mistake born of not reading the law closely enough. But the result is a deeply flawed bill. Fortunately, those flaws can be resolved at select committee.

The mistake can be easily resolved. But I don’t think the bill should proceed. Generally I support most bills going to a select committee, but this bill seeks to move in a direction which I so strongly disagree with, that I don’t think it should even get past first reading.

Incidentally under this proposed law, four local authorities would be forced to have the majority of their seats elected from Maori wards. Think about the level of resentment that would cause amongst non-Maori? I don’t mean the resentment would come from having a majority of Maori on a local authority. I, for one, would not care a damn if the majority of Wellington City Council was Maori. I would object though if the majority had been elected from wards which I am banned from being eligible to enrol in, because of my lack of the right genes.

It is a pity that the debate on this bill will now be whether or not Maori seats on Council should be compulsory or voluntary. In fact the debate should be about whether Labour should have ever created them at all in 2001.

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Maori Party Leadership

October 17th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on the organisational leadership of the Maori Party:

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata’s plans to retire from the post today appear to have been scuttled after several people within the party asked him to stay on.

Dr Winiata had announced his intention to stand down at today’s annual general meeting in Auckland.

He is two years through his three-year term, but had proposed resigning to allow his successor two years in the position before the next election.

Asked if he had changed his mind, he said he had been approached about it and would stay on if the membership decided it was the best option.

He would wait to hear what the meeting wanted before deciding.

The party’s co-president, retired Maori Land Court judge Heta Kenneth Kingston, was tipped to succeed him.

Dr Winiata has led the party wing of the Maori Party since it was formed in 2004 and having him stay on will help the party’s stability.

The party also has a challenge ahead with its parliamentary leadership. At the 2014 election, Turia will be 70, and Sharples 73. I would expect both will retire at that election.

That means they need to have their successors in place at the 2011 election, and they may struggle to find people of matching profile and mana nationally.

The most high profile current MP is Hone Harawira, but Hone is not seeking leadership and would be an unlikely one. Some say his wife Hilda would be an excellent Leader, but is Parliament ready for two Harawiras?

Te Ururoa Flavell is considered able to potentially step up if he lifts his profile in the next few years. But even if that happens, the Maori Party will still need a new female co-leader and unless they pick up the final two seats off Labour, no way to get them into Parliament in 2011.

Claire Trevett also has a very insightful article on the two current co-leaders and their strengths and weaknesses.

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Maori Party Leadership

September 11th, 2009 at 6:56 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is set to reverse her decision to retire at the next election and instead stay on to advance her political agenda.

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.

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The Maori Seats

November 17th, 2008 at 12:32 pm by David Farrar

Labour won the party vote easily in all seven Maori seats. Their party vote ranged from 45% to 57%, and the Maori Party ranged from 21% to 34%. Waiariki was closest with an 11% gap and Ikaroa-Rawhiti had a 31% gap.

In 2005 Labour ranged from 49% to 58% and Maori Party from 18% to 31% so not much change on the party vote.

National in 2005 got from 2.7% to 7.4% in the Maori seats. In 2008 it was from 5.5% to 10.9% so a very small improvement there.

The electorate votes we start from Te Taik Tokerau in the North. Hone Harawira won it by 3,600 in 2005 over Dover Samuels. This time he has a 5,500 majority.

Pita Sharples evicted John Tamihere from Tamaki Makaurau by 2,100 in 2005 and holds it over Louisa Wall by a massve 6,300.

In Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell won by 2,900 in 2005. In 2008 he doubles that to 6,000.

Nanaia Mahuta held onto Tainui by 1,860. The boundary changes to Hauraki-Waikato did not favour her, so she did well to hold on by 1,046.

In Te Tai Hauauru, Tariana Turia won by 5,000 in 2005 and this time he rmajority is almost 7,000.

The big battle was in Ikaroa-Rawhiti. Parekura held off Atareta Poananga by 1,932 in 2005, and Poananga’s former partner, Derek Fox, challenged in 2008. But Fox fell short by 1,609.

Finally in the South, Te Tai Tonga was held by Mahara Okeroa in 2005 by 2,500. New Maori Party candidate Rahui Katene beat him by 684 votes in 2008.

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Now we know what Tommy Gear does

September 29th, 2008 at 6:33 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reveals that Tommy Gear is the NZ First staff member who pressured Te Ururoa Flavell to vote for Winston.

We always wondered what Mr Gear does for his taxpayer funded salary. Now we know – it is to lobby MPs not to find Winston guilty.

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