Fight for Māori seats gets dirty

By Mānia Clarke

Some political commentators expect it will be a scrappy election this year with shots already fired across the Māori political ring.

Summer has been slow to arrive but Māori politics has been feeling the heat.

Māori Broadcaster Ngahuia Wade says, “The insults have started early between the parties. What it shows is that's its game on.  The election campaign in the Māori seats has already begun.” 

Political Scientist Maria Bargh says it’s a usual tactic, “Māori issues are going to be used as they often are as a political football as we come up to crunch time.”

This year Māori politics has been more stingy than usual. It's still seven months to the general elections but shots are being fired early. Political watchdogs warn to prepare for a scrappy election.

Political Commentator Scott Campbell says, “They know how to use the media to the best of their advantage, they know how to get out and promote themselves and that's why we're seeing personal politics.”

Wade says, “If they stopped wasting time-fighting and getting personal with each other. Māori might show some interest in voting.”

Bargh says, “The parties are positioning at this stage, what Māori voters should be looking for are actual policies to back those positions up.”