Te Tai Hauāuru reaction to Te Tai Hauāuru poll

By Heeni Brown

Māori Television's Election Aotearoa exclusive poll may have the Māori Party candidate as a clear front runner in the race for Te Tai Hauāuru, but that doesn't mean a guaranteed victory for Howie Tamati.

27-year-old Selwyn Lackner-Priest has labelled Waitara and New Plymouth "Howie Country".

He describes Tamati as "a good guy, famous league star, right out of Waitara league club" but that's not to say Tamati has all the support.

Lackner-Priest says if he was to vote for a candidate tomorrow he would vote for the Green Party's Jack McDonald because they are committed to cleaning up the waterways.

An issue he says is a priority for the electorate. 
  
"We've now got signs out there that are saying that we can't get kaimoana and you know whitebait season has just come up and there's a lot of people down there and we don't really know if it's that healthy."
 
In 2014, more than 19,500 cast their candidate vote in booths as far north as Tokoroa and as far south as Porirua, the majority went to incumbent MP Adrian Rurawhe.

This year, while many on the street don't know who Rurawhe is, he and his party still have support.

But 28-year-old Nganeko Eriwata of Muru Raupatu Marae isn't of the same opinion. 

Eriwata says, "I don't know him, I've only seen him once and I don't even know what credentials he holds. I've never really seen him at tribal occasions."

The advocate for iwi rights says she's backing her uncle Howie Tamati and wants him to establish a committee, which better represents the electorate.  

"When it comes to encompassing a whole range of kaupapa you can't just leave it up to one person to do. So I suggest that person finds key people who are from different districts and give them the role to advocate for them in Tokoroa, Kawhia, Taranaki, Whanganui, Kapiti and Porirua."
 
The poll suggests Adrian Rurawhe faces an even bigger challenge to get around the enormous electorate and rouse the support he will need to retain the seat.