Māori Party by-passes by-election in Tauranga (where it won 0.35% of the 2020 party vote) but scores well with “racism” headlines

The Māori Party could be sure it would generate emotive headlines when it announced it won’t stand a candidate at the Tauranga by-election “on the basis of a safety issue”.

It claimed the party’s co-leaders have received threats and hate speech from residents there.

Stuff ran the news under the headline Racism in Tauranga makes it ‘unsafe’ to enter by-election, Māori Party says.

The by-election, forced by the resignation of National MP Simon Bridges (who is Māori), will take place on June 18.

The candidates confirmed so far include National’s Sam Uffindell, Labour’s Jan Tinetti and ACT’s Cameron Luxton.

Reporting on the Māori Party’s announcement, Newshub said:

Wilson mentioned a Department of 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“.

The report referenced by Wilson makes no mention of Tauranga.

Newshub went on to quote Wilson as saying co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi have been the recipients of threats and hate speech by Tauranga residents.

“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. 

Point of Order visited the party’s website to read the statement.

The most recent news release on that website  was dated April 7 and recorded Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s call on the Government to use the unique opportunity of Dr Ashley Bloomfield’s resignation to recognise the new chief executives of the Māori Health Authority and Health NZ as Co Director-Generals of Health.

The Newshub report continued:

“We are focused on a more just Tiriti-centric Aotearoa. To get to this place requires more contribution to help lift Māori up to the same starting point as others in Aotearoa. This is currently being bandied around as being unfair, disproportionate and undemocratic, we know this is rubbish but have to continually fight for equity on our journey to a better Aotearoa.”

The party believes Tauranga Moana is an “amazing place”, Wilson says, but

“… this is politics and the race card will mean that Māori will be used by some as a political football and we are unwilling to expose our people to that rubbish”.

Wilson said te reo Māori had been belittled at a public event in Tauranga.

And he mentioned a recent hate-speech conviction.

ACT’s Tauranga candidate Cameron Luxton has responded by demanding an apology from the Maori Party and insisting the city is full of wonderful, hard working and caring people.

“Like all cities, there are isolated incidents of racism. What we need is political leaders that reject racism and seek common ground. Instead the Māori Party is trying to fight racism by stereotyping a whole group of people.”

By deciding against standing (Point of Order wondered), what sort of publicity might the announcement attract and how many votes will be sacrificed?

Let’s recall what happened at the 2020 general election.

The electoral office records show 44,148 votes were cast for Tauranga electorate candidates.

Simon Bridges (National) won 18,721 votes (and the seat), Jan Tinetti (Labour) won 16,865 votes.

There were nine other candidates, but none from the Maori Party.

Seventeen parties vied for a share of the 14,148 party votes that were cast.

Labour won 18,547 (42%) of these; National won 14,347 (32.5%)”

And the Maori Party?

It scored 155 party votes – or  0.35%.

This put it in ninth place, just ahead of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s 139 votes.

4 thoughts on “Māori Party by-passes by-election in Tauranga (where it won 0.35% of the 2020 party vote) but scores well with “racism” headlines

  1. The Maori Party’s position is self-serving. Have they ever contested a general seat?

    “To get to this place requires more contribution to help lift Māori up to the same starting point as others in Aotearoa”. That’s a long-winded way of saying “equality” (of opportunity), which currently exists. What the pearl (greenstone)-clutchers have always said is that they want “equity”, equality of outcome. If they don’t take advantage of opportunity, they will always wallow in poor outcomes.

    Liked by 2 people

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