Māori Television’s latest election poll reveals it will take more than a royal seal of approval to topple Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta in Hauraki-Waikato.
Mahuta is winning the battle for voters despite the Māori King’s public endorsement of the Māori Party’s Rahui Papa.
The poll was conducted between 11 July and 3 September and asked 400 voters who their preferred candidate was in Hauraki-Waikato.
Mahuta scored a resounding 78%, more than tripling her sole challenger, Rahui Papa, on 22%.
Across all age groups, Mahuta continued a royal flush, never dropping below 70%. The veteran politician took 77.8% among those aged between 18-24 years; 86.4% for 25-34; 77.6% for 35-44; 75.7% for 45-54; 77.4% for 55-64 and 78.7% for 65+.
Support for Papa, who is a respected Māori leader and trusted advisor to Kingi Tuheitia, was below 25% in all of the age demographics, sealing 22.2% for 18-24; 13.6% for 25-34; 22.4% for 35-44; 24.3% for 45-54; 22.6% for 55-64 and 21.3% for 65+.
Papa, however, is confident voters will prove the numbers are wrong.
“We have more than 400 people at Pōhara Marae. So I acknowledge the poll but I’ll say this: on the 23rd we’ll see the results of the final and only important poll,” said Papa.
In March, King Tuheitia endorsed Papa, announcing Mahuta no longer had mana in the Labour backbenches. Mahuta, who has held the seat for more than 20 years, warned that the king’s influence over his people would be tested on Election Day.
Mahuta wants voters to settle the score once and for all on Election Day.
“Voting on the day is what’s important. Only by doing that will that support be honoured. That is the most important thing”, she said.
For now the poll signals a formidable loyalty to Labour which scored 52.6% as the preferred party. New Zealand First took second place at 15.1% while the Māori Party has slipped to third on 14.5%.
Nanaia Mahuta will go head to head with Rahui Papa in our #Election Aotearoa debate on Māori Television this Tuesday, September 12, at 8pm.