Most Tauranga locals disagree with Te Pāti Māori claim their city is racist - Newshub Nation-Reid Research poll

  • 04/06/2022

Most Tauranga residents disagree with Te Pāti Māori's claim that their city is racist, a Newshub Nation-Reid Research poll released on Saturday shows.

The poll, which also revealed National's Sam Uffindell was running away with the Tauranga by-election, found just over half (52.1 percent) of residents in the electorate rejected the claim.

Just under a third (31.9 percent) agreed with the statement, while 12.3 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and 3.6 percent didn't know.

The poll results come after Te Pāti Māori announced in May that it wouldn't stand a candidate at the by-election "on the basis of a safety issue", claiming the party's co-leaders have received threats and hate speech from Tauranga residents.

Te Pāti Māori president Che Wilson referred to an Internal Affairs report published in April which showed "hate speech from white supremacists on social media is the largest form of hate speech in this country".

He said Tauranga is a "hotspot", with residents being "subjected to white supremacist leaftlet drops".

Co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi have also "been the recipient of threats and hate speech by Tauranga residents", Wilson said.

"By standing in the by-election, we would be consciously sending our people into an unsafe environment and can only imagine how hard this is for our whanaunga and iwi of Tauranga Moana," Wilson said in a statement.

While Te Pāti Māori chose not to stand a candidate in Tauranga, the poll shows the party has experienced a huge boost.

It's the only party other than National to have increased its share, surging from 0.35 percent at the 2020 election to 4.7 percent in this poll (an increase of 4.35 percentage points).

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