By-election for Horomia's seat within months
Tuesday 30 Apr 2013 5:23 a.m.
Parekura Horomia (AAP)
A by-election will be held within two months to fill the Ikaroa Rawhiti seat left vacant by Parekura Horomia's death.
There will be three players in the game - Labour will fight to keep the seat, the Maori Party and Mana will fight to take it.
In the 2011 election Mr Horomia retained it with 10,558 votes, the Maori Party ran second with 4017 and Mana was third with 2484.
That 6541 vote majority makes it look like a safe seat and Mr Horomia's legacy should pull Labour through, but there's no way the party will take it for granted.
In 2008 it was a different story.
The Maori Party put up high profile broadcaster Derek Fox and Mr Horomia's majority was 1645 - much too close for comfort.
Labour, which once had an iron grip on the seven Maori electorates, will have two when the vacancy is announced by the Electoral Commission.
Nanaia Mahuta holds Hauraki Waikato and Rino Tirikatene Te Tai Tonga.
The Maori Party has three, with Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau, Tariana Turia in Te Tai Hauauru and Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, who broke away from the Maori Party, won a by-election to keep Te Tai Tokerau.
The Maori Party star is waning, its poll ratings have suffered in the last three years and it badly needs a good result in Ikaroa Rawhiti even if it can't take the seat from Labour.
Mr Harawira's Mana party has a lot riding on it as well.
While he is secure in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate, he has been claiming widespread support and now he has to try to prove it.
No other party stands a chance in Ikaroa Rawhiti, the vast electorate that covers nearly all of the North Island's east coast from Te Araroa down to Wellington and taking in Gisborne, Napier and Hastings.
The Electoral Commission will declare the seat vacant within days, followed by an announcement of the timetable for the by-election.
It must be held within 48 days of the seat being declared vacant.