Most of the results are in and these are my unrefined thoughts.
Te Tai Tonga:
As predicted, Labour’s Rino Tirikatene has dislodged the incumbent Rahui Katene. The specials remain to be counted, but Tirikatene enjoys a healthy lead. The Green’s Dora Langsbury polled well and Mana’s Clinton Dearlove underperformed taking less than 9% of the vote. Interestingly Tirikatene is performing better in the candidate vote than Labour is in the party vote so it appears that Tirikatene has built a personality vote – much like his colleagues Parekura and Nanaia. Turn out among older voters who remember the colossals, Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan and Eruera Tirikatene, appears to have helped Rino over the line. Rino also credits his message that a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for National. I agree. That is a resonate line. Ultimately, Rahui needed Wellington to pull her through, but it looks like the four way race has split the vote in Wellington and, instead, pulled Rahui back.
Te Ururoa has put some distance between himself and Annette Sykes. That surprises me. I expected there to be only 10% in it (there's about 12% between them). The complicating factor seems to be that Louis Te Kani has secured more votes than I expected. Te Ururoa has no doubt held Rotorua and stemmed the bleed in other parts of the electorate. Despite Annette’s momentum the advantage of incumbency appears to have done enough for Te Ururoa. Numbers wise, Annette’s strongholds (Opotiki, East Coast etc) are just too small compared to Te Ururoa’s strongholds (Rotorua, wider Te Arawa etc). Louis Te Kani, at around 23%, I think has done well in his home patch of Tauranga Moana and adopted home of Rotorua. I firmly believe if Annette started campaigning four months out (rather than four weeks out!) that she would have snatched the seat. Annette’s campaign machinery, which was stronger than Te Ururoa’s, just did not have enough time to stamp their mark. Considering the Maori Party experienced near operational collapse their win is a real testament to Te Ururoa Flavell as an individual.
No one ever expected Pita to lose this seat, but I don’t think anyone expected Shane to come so close. Even though he isn’t going to win, this is a close loss and it certainly won’t end his career. It looks as if Mana’s Kereama Pene has stolen more than a few tino rangatiratnage votes from Pita. Mana is, of course, strongest from Waiariki tracking north. Auckland especially - think Sue Bradford, John Minto, Matt McCarten, UNITE and the Auckland socialist community. Pene, like Rino, seems to be building a personality vote too. Pene polled over 16% while Mana polled only 14%.
Te Tai Tokerau:
Hone has held his seat.
Parekura has held. No surprise to see such a significant majority too. I expect support would have been split in Tai Rawhiti, but the further south you go the stronger support for Parekura becomes.
Nanaia has held too. No surprise she has secured a predictable majority.
Te Tai Hauauru:
Tariana has secured another win and deservedly so. No surprises looking at her majority.
Other Maori candidates:
Paula Bennett appears safe in Waitakere. This battle was always going to be close and it looks like Carmel Sepuloni, a rising star in Labour, is gone (I don't think she was high enough on the list to make it back).
Hekia Parata had a decent crack at the Mana seat, but Kris Faafoi has maintains a safe lead.
Simon Bridges is, predictably, safe. He wasn't threatened by Deborah Mahuta-Coyle.
Louisa Wall has galloped home in Manurewa.
The biggest surprise is how bloody wrong the polls were. Te Tai Tonga has swung Rino Tirikatene’s way – comfortably too. It was much closer in Tamaki Makaurau and slightly closer in Waiariki. Perhaps my criticisms of polls is justified, having said that my predictions were only slightly more accurate. Meh.
UPDATE: Rino's win appears to be one of the only bright spots in a day of shame for Labour. They look to fall below 28% and lose real talent like Kelvin Davis. Shame on the makers of the Labour Party list.
According to TVNZ voter turnout could be below 70%. I think this is unprecedented and will hurt Mana, the Maori Party and Labour.
The Maori have been punished in Te Tai Tonga, losing to Labour of course, and the Maori Party's share of the party vote has being slashed in Waiariki, Hauraki-Waikato, Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau. Mana's party vote result was small in the other electorates. Labour is still the party of choice for Maori.