Maori Party blamed for option failure
Monday 7 Oct 2013 3:03 p.m.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell
Labour is blaming the Maori Party for the fact that the number of Maori roll seats isn't going to increase for the next two elections.
There are seven Maori seats and during the first half of this year Maori voters were given the choice of changing from the general roll to the Maori roll, or vice versa.
The results, announced in July, showed a nearly even split - 8859 switched to the Maori roll and 8261 switched to the general roll.
There were 6457 new voters on the Maori roll, but the increase was well short of the number needed to create another Maori electorate.
Labour MP Rino Tirikatene says an opportunity has been missed.
"Sadly, it was as predictable as it was disappointing," he said today.
"The almost never-ending leadership battle and division with Hone Harawira has turned our people off Maori politics."
It took the Maori Party nearly a year to resolve its problems after Te Ururoa Flavell challenged Pita Sharples for the co-leadership.
It wasn't until July that Dr Sharples resigned the position, following the party's poor result in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election, and the party elected Mr Flavell to succeed him.
Mr Harawira split from the Maori Party in February 2011, accusing it of supporting anti-Maori policies, and formed the Mana Party.
But this year's Maori electoral option - they take place every five years after a census - wasn't the first to show a lack of interest in joining the Maori roll.
The previous one didn't generate enough movement for a new Maori seat either, and the Maori Party wasn't having any problems then.