Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe has blamed the lack of landline phones in Māori households for the reason why he’s trailing Māori Party's Howie Tamati in Māori Television’s latest poll.
The poll shows former rugby league star Tamati snatching the lead, with 52% of voters supporting him as the preferred candidate in the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate. Rurawhe, who is the incumbent MP, is 13 points behind at 39% and Jack McDonald for the Green Party is polling at 9.1%.
During tonight’s Māori Television political debate with the Te Tai Hauāuru candidates in Wellington, Rurawhe said he was not worried about the results. He insists the poll does not match what his team is hearing on the streets.
“The realities of polling in Maori electorates, 75 percent don’t have landlines. So they are never going to get polled,’ Rurawhe said. “I was behind in 2014 and picked up a whole 13 percentage points between the 2014 poll and election day.”
Despite the encouraging poll results, Tamati said that he will still need to work hard to earn votes.
“Polls are polls. It is uplifting. But it’s a poll on election day that really counts. I can’t rest on my laurels. I’ve got to work as hard as I can,” Tamati said.
A win for Tamati on election night means that the Māori Party co-leader, Marama Fox, will need to win her seat of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti to secure her political future. Otherwise she will need to rely on the Māori Party increasing their party vote for her to get into Parliament as a list MP.
“Marama has to win her seat. We all have to win our seats. From day one, I only worried about winning my seat,” Tamati said.