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Greens Want Maori Party to Stay

Greens Want Maori Party to Stay

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei would like to see the Maori Party stay in response to suggestions from political commentators that it might not exist after next year’s general election.

“I would, I think it's good for our democracy to have more parties contesting the election,” Ms Turei told TV3’s “The Nation”.

But she said the Maori Party’s result in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election was a cause for concern for John Key’s National led government as they were slowly losing supporters inside Parliament.

“I think the big concern is for John Key actually.  He is seeing his support parties across the board start to flail.  United Future now no longer exists but for Peter Dunne as an Independent.  The Maori Party's losing support across Maori voters, that does pose real difficulties for John Key at the next election,” said Ms Turei.

Interviewed by RACHEL SMALLEY

Rachel Let's go now live to Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei. Kia ora Ms Turei, thank you for joining us this morning. So strong showing for the Greens. Did the election vote for the candidate do you think, or did they vote for the Green Party?

Metiria Turei – Green Party Co-Leader
I think it was both. I'm extremely proud of Marama Davidson. She increased our vote from the party vote from the last election. She doubled the electorate vote from when we stood here in 2008. Her and the Green campaign machine, we just did excellent at every step of the way.

Rachel Okay does this mean the Greens are gonna now stand in Maori seats?

Metiria Well we have been. We've stood in every single Maori seat in the country except Tai Tokerau actually and that one might well be next. And so we've worked very hard to keep up our presence in the Maori seats because we respect and honour not only the seats, but also Maori voters who choose to be on the Maori role. I've stood in Maori seats in the past and others have too, and we will continue to do so.

Rachel Where does that then leave your relationship with Mana if you're going to do that?

Metiria Well Mana is going to fight for the Maori seats as much as anybody will. They ran a good campaign, they got the result that they got. We are focused on ourselves and on the Green kaupapa and presenting that to Maori voters. And we have excellent candidates. Marama Davidson was an excellent candidate in this contest. I think she was the most professional, she was the most passionate, and that showed in all the work that she did, and the great result we've got I think is due largely to her and her work.

Rachel Where do you think your votes came from? There's some suggestion they came from the Legalise Cannabis Party, that they swapped and voted for the Greens?

Metiria Our vote came from people who believe in the Green kaupapa and who supported Marama Davidson. Nobody owns votes in this country. You have to go out there and promote your policy and your people, and if proposal believe in those they will support you. There's no ownership of votes in this country.

Rachel What about your relationship with Labour, because by standing in these electorates aren't you splitting the vote there as well?

Metiria Well again the voters are entitled to a choice about who they want to vote for. Parties put up people and policies and offer those to voters, and they're entitled to make those choices. Again nobody owns the votes anywhere, Labour doesn’t, Mana and Maori don’t, the Greens don’t. We need to fight for those votes too.

Rachel But at the same time you're talking about going into a coalition government with Labour.

Metiria Mm, yeah. Well we may well do that’s in the future, and in doing so we have to make sure we have a strong Green caucus that I hope Marama Davidson is a part of after the next election, and so to do that again we need to win more votes and more support. It's up to each party to fight their own battles. I'm focused on the Green kaupapa and our great candidates, and the great showing that we've had here.

Rachel And is it about you know jockeying with Labour to a certain degree for positioning here as well?

Metiria No, it's not actually. I mean Labour is going to run their own campaign, other parties will run their own campaign. You have to fight these battles on your own merits. If you're fighting other parties then the voters can see that and they find that very distasteful. I suspect that that was behind the Mana, Maori Party poor showing in this electorate, is that people don’t like parties to fight with each other, they want you to be focused on them, their needs and their concerns, and that’s what the Greens did.

Rachel Would you like to see the Maori Party survive, because there's some suggestion this is the beginning of the end here. There's been some infighting among its leadership. Would you like to see the Maori Party survive as a political party?

Metiria I would, I think it's good for our democracy to have more parties contesting the election. I think the big concern is for John Key actually. He is seeing his support parties across the board start to flail. United Future now no longer exists but for Peter Dunne as an Independent. The Maori Party's losing support across Maori voters, that does pose real difficulties for John Key at the next election. So I think we are looking very seriously at a progressive government after the next election, and the Greens want to be part of that, and by doing so we will put forward our Green kaupapa and our great candidates as we've done in this bi-election.

Rachel Alright, Metiria Turei, Green Party Co-Leader, appreciate your time, live to us from Gisborne this morning, thank you.


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