Friday March 23, 2018   Last updated 04:54AM

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Maori saw Labour as vote for change

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Former Mana Motuhake leader Sandra Lee says there must always be room for a Maori political movement in parliament, but the Maori Party became too closely associated with the negative policies of National.

The Maori Party lost its last seat on Saturday with co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell’s defeat to Labour’s Tamati Coffey, so it must now try to rebuild outside parliament.

Ms Lee says the high vote for Labour’s Maori candidates can be seen as a return to the past but a vote for change.

Critical election issues such as homelessness, mass immigration, raising the superannuation age, and child poverty alarmed Maori.

"I believe our people voted strategically because they knew, and it’s true, that there’s a fighting chance that we could change this conservative government that’s allowed all these negative statistics to occur, and that there was an opportunity under Labour with Ardern, if they got enough votes, to get some meaningful changes for our people. That’s why they voted the way they did," she says.

Sandra Lee says many of New Zealand First’s policies are close to Labour positions, and she could see Winston Peters agreeing to a coalition, with or without the Greens.


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