Dene Mackenzie reports that Maori and Polynesian voters in South Auckland appear to be abandoning Labour.
Confidential polling, conducted face to face through door-knocking, factory visits, and the use of cellphones – rather than the standard method of relying on landlines – shows that many voters on the Maori roll intend switching their party vote allegiance to the Maori Party this election instead of giving it to Labour as they did at the last.
The information obtained by the Otago Daily Times showed 40% of Maori roll voters giving their party vote to Labour and 30% to the Maori Party – a far cry from the last election, when Maori roll voters voted largely for the Maori Party in the electorate vote and Labour in the party vote.
This trend was given weight by numerous conversations held with voters across five Auckland markets over the weekend by the ODT.
In a ray of brighter news for Labour, the same polling showed the Maori Party confidently ahead in only four electorates, the four already held by the party.
They are behind for the first time in Te Tai Tonga, which includes all of the South Island, and still neck and neck in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and Hauraki-Waikato, which are held by Labour Cabinet ministers.
Earlier polling and a number of predictions indicated the Maori Party could be on course to win all seven Maori seats.
While there are good reasons to hold electorates, it’s the party vote that counts so keeping the Maori seats but losing party votes to the Maori Party will hurt Labour.