24 Sep 2017

Māori Party fails in bid to return to Parliament

3:30 am on 24 September 2017

Labour has made a clean sweep of the seven Māori seats, with even Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell conceding defeat in Waiariki.

Tamati Coffey, left, and Te Ururoa Flavell

Labour's Tamati Coffey, left, and Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell Photo: Supplied

All seven of the Māori seats have been taken by Labour, based on tonight's preliminary results, with at least 98 percent of the vote counted.

With 99 percent of the vote in Waiariki counted, Labour's Tamati Coffey had a lead of 1301 votes over Mr Flavell.

In Te Tai Hauāuru, with 92.1 percent of the vote counted, Māori Party candidate Howie Tamati lagged Labour's Adrian Paki Rurawhe, with 6645 votes to Mr Rurawhe's 7731.

During tonight's count, Mr Flavell left his election night party to go home to watch the results as they rolled in.

"I'm so disappointed for tonight's result that we didn't come through. I just didn't maintain that whole link to our past and - it was supposed to be - into our future," he said.

"And the people have spoken, even in Waiariki they have spoken, and I can't get away from it."

He said he always planned to go home after eating dinner and would return later in the night.

His co-leader, Marama Fox, said the Māori Party had got things done for Māori and the people should have been voting for them, not another party where they would be lost in the bigger whole.

Marama Fox and whānau watching Te Ururoa Flavell accepting the Māori
Party will not make Parliament.

Marama Fox and her whānau watch Te Ururoa Flavell accept the Māori Party will not make it into Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Ms Fox said Labour had lured voters across with big promises - but, if it was a National-led government, their showings of faith would have been for naught.

"All of our Māori people wanting to get a change all going back to the mothership of the Labour Party thinking that's going to save them, and it looks like it's not.

"So are we going to lose all the seats to sit in opposition? What a waste of time, I've been saying it the whole time."

Ms Fox has lost her Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate to Meka Whaitiri.

Hone Harawira said the mood of Māori electorates had swung to Labour.

He lost to Labour's Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Harawira said that meant there would be no independent Māori voices in the next Parliament.

Māori Party supporters in Rotorua were left shell-shocked by the early results, which had suggested the party could be knocked out of Parliament.

About 250 party members gathered at Waiteti Marae to watch the election coverage.

They tried to put on a brave face and keep the mood upbeat, but were clearly disappointed by the early reaction.

One supporter, Tim Warrell, said he'd be devastated to see the Māori Party not win any seats in Parliament.

He said he knew the party would struggle, but was shocked and disappointed by the Waiariki race.

"It's sad to see the bulk of our people are not connected to tino rangatiratanga, to self belief... to being in government no matter who the major party is."

Mr Warrell said he believed the Māori Party had been been punished for its association with the National Party.

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