June 30, 2013
Whaitiri goes from candidate to MP in waiting
The Labour caucus is getting ready to welcome its newest MP after a comfortable win by Meka Whaitiri in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election.
The by-election was called to replace long-serving Labour MP Parekura Horomia, who died in April.
Ms Whaitiri, a former Ngāti Kahungunu Chief executive, had an election night majority of 1761 votes over Mana’s Te Hamua Nikora, with Māori Party candidate Na Raihania trailing another 400 votes behind.
The Greens’ Marama Davidson came fourth.
There are still 1,635 special votes to be counted, but going on previous by-elections about 60 percent are likely to be rejected.
As expected turnout was low with only 35 percent of voters showing up at the polling booths.
That compares with 40 percent in the essentially uncontested Te Tai Hauauru by-election when Tariana Turia left Labour, and 41 percent when Hone Harawira asked voters in Tai Tokerau to endorse him after he parted company with the Māori Party.
Ms Whaitiri won most booths.
Mr Nikora polled strongly on the East Coast.
Mr Raihania won 32 of the 52 votes cast where he lives at Bridge Pa and more than half the votes cast in his home town Tokomaru Bay.
Labour Party national council member Rudy Taylor says it was a good win for the party and a tribute to the work put in by members.
He says as the campaign progressed Ms Whaitiri went from being the candidate to being the MP in waiting, as she grew in confidence.
Labour leader David Shearer says the Māori Party’s weak showing indicates it is finished, with the relationship with National destroying its credibility with voters.
Copyright © 2013, UMA Broadcasting Ltd