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Labour moving in on Maori Party

Friday 25 Jan 2013 6:07 p.m.

Labour leader David Shearer has stayed on at Ratana for a second day - laying down a direct challenge to the Maori Party.

Politicians don't tend to stick around for the final day of Ratana celebration but this year Mr Shearer knew he had to to add clout to his declaration of war.

“The Maori seats are up for grabs and we're going to be going for broke to get them,” he says.

Labour's determined to retake all seven Maori electorate seats which would effectively destroy the Maori Party.

Labour currently holds three of the seven Maori electorates, the same as the Maori Party. Hone Harawira's Mana Party has just the one. Come 2014, Labour's convinced it will win the lot.

But the Maori Party has set down a challenge of its own, saying Labour won't be able to govern without it

“They haven't come through the speed wobbles in fact if they looked at the polls they've got more worries than we have,” says Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

The Maori Party has its own troubles. First an ongoing leadership struggle but also a perception among some at Ratana - and throughout Maoridom - aren't thrilled with its alliance with National.

So not only has Labour chosen the Maori Party's patch to lay down the gauntlet, it's chosen to strike when the party's at its weakest

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