Will the Maori Party co-leaders stay on?

Audrey Young in the NZ Herald reports:

co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have revealed they are reconsidering retiring from politics next election – just as a new poll shows them potentially holding the balance of power.

Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples had indicated that the 2011 election would be their last.

But they are reconsidering after being asked repeatedly by supporters, a party official said.

Mrs Turia, 68, confirmed that last night on Prime News.

“It may well be that we stand at the next election but … we are still working those issues through,” she said.

And Dr Sharples, 70, also confirmed a rethink. “I’m giving that real consideration,” he told the channel from China, where he is leading a Maori business delegation.

I won’t be surprised if they do stay on, as retirements in 2017 would make it more likely the Maori Party continues as a semi-significant force.

It is worth noting there wil be new boundaries in 2014, with at least eight Maori seats. That may provide an opportunity for them to get a new female MP into Parliament, so she can replace Turia as female co-leader.

Flavell is up to taking over from Sharples as male co-leader, but the worry for the Maori Party may be more that they would lose Sharples’ seat if he stands down.

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