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Gardiner keen to harvest Māori seat votes

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A former Māori vice president of the National Party wants to see the party reverse its policy of not standing candidates in the Māori seats.

List MP Joanne Hayes wants to stand in Te Tai Hauauru, but that would require leader Simon Bridges and the party council scrapping the policy instituted by former leader Don Brash and maintained by John Key and Bill English.

Sir Harawira Gardiner, whose loyalty to the party was tested by Dr Brash’s 2004 Orewa Speech, says a change is necessary for the party’s future electoral prospects.

"I think we left Don Brash behind quite a long time ago but nevertheless the National party hasn't necessarily reflected that in the way that we don't stand candidates in Māori seats. The fact is every vote is a winning vote and when we come down a position where National doesn't have any natural partners, it has to capitalise on any opportunity," he says.

Sir Harawira says National may also want to negotiate with the Māori Party about some arrangement for the next election.



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