Nov 27, 2011

How the Maori electorates fell

I’m packing out some fast analysis, but I don’t have much time on my hands and I want to get my thoughts out. What I’m getting at is that these conclusions are provisional, but still sensible of course, and I may change my views over time. Anyway, I’ve been pouring over the numbers booth by booth in the most interesting electorates; Te Tai Tonga, Waiariki and Tamaki Makaurau. Here is how the vote went:


As I predicted Annette won the Eastern Bay of Plenty. She thrashed Te Ururoa in Kawerau. This happened because 1) Annette grew up in Kawerau and the people know her and her whanau 2) Te Ururoa never shows his face in Kawerau 3) Kawerau is a working town/Maori radical town. Annette also won Whakatane thanks to, I think, young voter turnout and as punishment for Te Ururoa’s support for the Marine and Coastal Area’s Act (Whakatane being a coastal town after all). There are a few very young Mana activists in Whakatane who are selling the message very well.

Annette also won Torere and Raukokere convincingly and also Te Kaha. There was always going to be a swing against Te Ururoa for his silence over oil prospecting off of the coast and, as I’ve said, his support for the MCA act. Annette also won Matata (another tino rangatiratanga town). As I predicted on Pundit Annette won the periphery towns in Tuhoe territory, for example Kaingaroa and Minginui, and she ran Te Ururoa close in the Ruatoki Valley. Taneatua and Waimana fell Annette’s way too. 

However, as I said last night, it wasn’t enough to bring Annette over the line. She needed to win the bigger centres like Rotorua and Tauranga Moana. Te Ururoa won Tauranga, but it was very close with both Annette and Louis Te Kani claiming a close second in different booths. In fact, Te Kani actually won a few booths in Tauranga as did Annette, but Te Ururoa won the majority.

Where Te Ururoa won it was in Rotorua proper. Annette’s home base of Rotoiti and the more radical parts of Te Arawa, meaning Ngati Pikiao, swung behind Annette. For example Okere Falls, Rotokawa and of course Rotoiti. This was no surprise. Te Ururoa was always going to win the conservative support that characterises Te Arawa while Annette was going to win the smaller rough edges.

As I picked Tuwharetoa also fell behind Te Ururoa. He won all but one of the polling places in Taupo. Annette’s campaign team failed to really breach Tuwharetoa and incumbency and Tuwharetoa conservatism helped Te Ururoa over the line.

In summary, Annette claimed the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Tuhoe in good numbers. Te Ururoa won Te Arawa and Tuwharetoa. It was extremely close in Tauranga with Te Ururoa just pulling away. What we can say is that the tribes of the Te Arawa waka pulled Te Ururoa through. I’m going to blow my own trumpet here and highlight that I called the regions/tribal allegiances right, but…. I didn’t call the result right did I. So no bragging rights here I guess. Then again I did pull away from calling the win for Annette on Pundit.

Te Tai Tonga:

Like I said last night, Rino Tirikatene held Labour support in the South Island. Ashburton, Blenheim, Bluff and Invercargill fell Rino’s way. It was a close slog in Christchurch, but Rino also pulled away there too. Some people will be surprised with this result given Rahui’s work in the city in the wake of the quake. White flight has affected Chch, but I don't think the same trend is true of Maori so I think we can draw the conclusion that Rahui's work has 1) gone unnoticed or 2) was not as good as people were hyping.

Given Rino’s solid performance in the South Rahui had to, like she did in 2008, win Wellington in sufficient numbers, However, as I predicted (yes I hate to brag), Mana’s Clinton Dearlove stole votes from Rahui while Rino held Labour’s numbers from 2008. Couple this with Dora Langsbury’s polling in Wellington and this was enough to erode Rahui’s support sufficiently to allow Rino to maintain a healthy lead. Karori, Kelburn and parts of the Hutt fell Rahui’s way, but only just. Rino, surprisingly, won the Green Party belts of Wellington, for example Kilbernie, Hataitai and Lyall Bay. It was much closer in working class suburbs like Petone and Newton. In the 2008 election Rahui won these suburbs in large numbers. It seems as if Wellington, with our high proportion of public servants, have punished the Maori Party for their association with the public service hating National Party. The working vote also seems to be returning to Labour in response to their shift to the left. The working vote is also transferring, but in small numbers, to Mana. It’s interesting to see Aro Valley, a strong student area, fall behind Rino too.

Turnout has also worked against Rahui. With a turnout of below 60% according to Maria Bargh you can bet that many of these people who didn’t turn up with young, read Rahui’s voters.

In sum, Rahui seems to be the victim of the swing against the Maori Party. Tino rangatiratanga is not as big in Te Tai Tonga as in other electorates. Labour, and by extension social democracy, is the ideology in these parts. It was always going to be hard for her to face Rino Tirikatene who is, of course, a Tirikatene. He was hand picked by Parekura Horomia because Labour knew Te Tai Tonga was an electorate where support for the Maori Party and Rahui was soft. This assessment has held true. Despite Rahui’s work in Chch Te Tai Tonga is still a Labour electorate, or more accurately a Tirikatene electorate.

I think Rino will be an excellent MP. He’s genuine, intelligent and will now (with a Maori seat behind him) have a lot of Mana in the Maori Caucus. Rahui deserves credit, and lots of it, for her work as a local MP. Two very good candidates but only one could win. It’s also interesting to note that Rino is the first Labour MP to topple a Maori Party MP.

Tamaki Makaurau:

John Tamihere, supporting what Willie Jackson said last, reckons Shane Jones ran a “very poor” campaign. John Tamihere and Willie Jackson, as the two Maori political heavyweights in Auckland, would know too. With that in mind it’s hard to say how Shane polled so highly. I’ll put forward the following reasons: Pita suffered from a reflex backlash against the Maori Party (like Rahui and Tariana who has a reduced majority), Kereama Pene helped exacerbate this backlash and, as a result, steal many of Pita’s votes, lastly Shane is a high profile MP and he benefited from a swing towards Labour in the Maori seats. The commentators on Marae Investigates are pointing out that Labour is rising in the Maori seats. 

Unfortunately I can't bring up the candidate vote details polling place to polling place. Only the party vote details. You can possibly analogise the party vote to the candidate vote, and I will since I have nothing else to work on. Labour, and I guess Shane by extension, did very well in Manurewa, Mangere and Manukau. There is a strong Maori Labour organisation in Manurewa, with Louisa Wall of course, a strong organisation in Manukau East with Ross Robertson and Mangere with Sua William Sio. Out of interest Mana did very well in these places too. Shane also seems to have benefited from Labour’s organisation in New Lynn, Mt Roskill and Mt Albert. However, I expect in the candidate vote that Pita pulled away in central Auckland and places like Orakei. Pita’s strong support among Ngati Whatua probably pulled him through I imagine. 

This isn’t a killer blow against Shane’s career. In fact Labour need him now more than ever. Pita deserved the win though. All power to him over the next three years.


  1. So how 'off' or 'on' were the Te Karere Dingle Polls?

  2. Te Tai Tokerau:

    Digipoll – Hone 42
    Kelvin 35
    Waihoroi 20

    Actual – Hone 43
    Kelvin 38
    Waihoroi 16

    Fairly close resemblance between the poll and the actual results in this electorate. Certainly within the margin of error of 4.9% so we’ll give them this one.

    Tamaki Makaurau:

    Digipoll – Pita 58
    Shane 23
    Kereama 14

    Actual - Pita 40
    Shane 36
    Kereama 16

    The poll grossly overstated Pita Sharples’ support. This poll was well out. However, it did seem to confirm what many Maori political commentators were thinking. I haven’t seen anyone come up with a satisfactory answer as to why Shane did so well. Maybe low turnout hurt Pita. With 16% of the vote Kereama Pene certainly did.


    No poll from Te Karere on this electorate but the Marae Digipoll from September put it like this.

    Digipoll – Nanaia 59
    Angeline 18
    Tau Bruce 13

    Actual – Nanaia 59
    Angeline 22
    Tau Bruce 17
    A decent result from the Marae Digipoll. They correctly stated Nanaia’s support were thereabouts with Angeline and Bruce Mataki of the Maori Party. Remember this poll did not factor in undecideds.


    Digipoll – Te Ururoa 56
    Annette 22
    Louis 22

    Actual – Te Ururoa 43
    Annette 40
    Louis 25

    Again, this poll was well out. Well beyond the margin of error. The poll overstated Te Ururoa’s support by a country mile. This race was bloody tight – not the cakewalk the poll was predicting.

    Ikaroa Rawhiti:

    There was no Te Karere poll here too, but we’ll have a look at the Marae Digipoll results.

    Digipoll – Parekura 40
    Na 49
    Tawhai 1

    Actual – Parekura 62
    Na 24
    Tawhai 14

    Wow. I don’t think any poll in the history of mankind has ever been this out of whack. However, it should be remembered that this poll was conducted in September and they phrased the questions oddly. Something like “which party will you give your candidate vote to” instead of saying “which candidate will get your party vote” or something like that.

    Te Tai Hauauru

    No Te Karere poll here either. However, Marae Digipoll from September comes in handy.

    Digipoll – Tariana 49
    Soraya 40
    Fred Timitimu 1
    Jack (didn’t register I don’t think).

    Actual – Tariana 48
    Soraya 30
    Fred 8
    Jack 11

    Tariana’s support was about right, but the poll exaggerated Soraya’s support and barely even factored Fred Timutimu. Jack McDonald didn’t even feature in the Marae poll but polled 11% and he wasn’t even going for the electorate vote.

    Te Tai Tonga:

    Digipoll – Rahui 46
    Rino 35
    Dora 10
    Clinton 9

    Actual – Rahui 31
    Rino 42
    Dora 15
    Clinton 8

    Again, way off. Well outside the margin of error. The poll got Clinton about right, but failed miserably in predicting the correct outcome and share of the vote.

    The polls in the Maori electorates have failed. Theses poll failures follow the Native Affairs Baseline poll which failed to accurately predict the share of the vote each candidate would receive in the Tai Tokerau byelection. I don’t think I can ever take a poll on the Maori electorates seriously again. To be fair, the polls were conducted late October to mid November and things change at the last minute. Polls are, of course, snapshots of a moment in time. The moment these polls were picturing was spread across a significant period of time.

    Lastly, I think the other criticisms I have made of polls in the Maori electorates still stand.

  3. What's up with the whanau in Ruatoki. They're progressive one minute and regressive the next.

  4. You mention that Taneatua and Ruatoki voted for Annette, can you point out where we can view those results from election day.

  5. At the Taneatua booth Annette won 67 to Te Ururoa's 53 and Louis 25. At the Ruatoki North booth Annette won 32 to Te Ururoa's 29 and Louis 15.

    Here's the link:



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