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Maori Party a threat to other Maori MPs

Maori Party a threat to other Maori MPs – Tariana Turia

Press statement from the Maori Party 31 March 2008

The prospect that the Maori Party could hold a powerful position in the coming Parliament is obviously a huge threat to other parties, especially their Maori MPs, says Tariana Turia.

“Everyone can see the Maori Party will be back in force after the election, and possibly holding a balance of power.

“What has panicked the other parties is the recent Marae Digipoll showing we will take all seven Maori seats, combined with National and Labour now heading for a close finish.

“In the past, when the bigger parties are running neck and neck, support for third parties has usually collapsed. However that will not apply to the Maori Party this year,” Mrs Turia said. “Our four electorate MPs are secure in their seats, so we will be back.”

“And polls show, around the country, voters are saying they like to see and hear a strong, independent and effective Maori voice in Parliament. So we expect three more MPs to join us after the election. That is a direct threat to Labour’s Maori electorate MPs.

“For Maori MPs in general electorates, or those who represent their parties from a list seat in Parliament, the Maori Party also represents a challenge.

“Voters can see the difference: our MPs are free to advocate for our people, while the others have Party Whips to force them to toe the party line,” said Mrs Turia.

“We are a party underpinned by kaupapa and tikanga. We are not of the left, nor of the right – no matter how furious it makes the political commentators who have tried to interpret and define who we are.

“We expect an intense election campaign, with other parties trying to manipulate our supporters, and persuading them not to vote for us for some spurious reason or another. We are seeing that already.

“Every day now, we get asked about coalition options,” Mrs Turia said. "But our supporters can rest assured – we will stick to our kaupapa, and uphold our tikanga, and make sure their views are heard in high places,” said Mrs Turia.

“The more we get attacked, the more our supporters can be sure that the Maori Party is doing our job as an authentic, independent, and increasingly effective voice for them in Parliament.

“And the more they support us, the better we can represent them,” said Mrs Turia.


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