The good people of Tai Tokerau want the wisdom of Solomon – Tariana could do with some of it, too

Poor old Hone is a goner.

No, the good voters of Tai Tokerau won’t be giving him the heave-ho in favour of Labour’s Kelvin Wotzisname.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, they will be sticking with the Maori Party.

Alf has this on the good authority of the Maori party itself, and they should know.

Sure, Turiana Turia made some unflattering remarks about their candidate the other day, but it turns out this was a mistake.

Thank goodness it has not been a mistake so serious that the Maori Party’s optimism has been dented or support undermined.

True, Alf may be guilty of reading too much into their optimism.

But Pita Sharples tells us today he is glowing after an “Overwhelmingly positive hui”. He

…has spoken enthusiastically about a very positive hui held tonight at Moerewa to mobilise support in the last few days leading up to the by-election on Saturday 25 June.

“There was a good turnout of close to seventy people attending the hui tonight at Ngati Hine headquarters” said Dr Sharples.

“There was a great sense of excitement in the room, with people having come from far and wide to pledge the strength of their support for Solomon Tipene.

“People came from Matawaia, from Motatau, from Pipiwai, from Kaikohe, from Kawakawa – a fabulous turnout.

“It was an overwhelmingly positive hui which has geared everyone up to make these last four days of a whirlwind campaign count” said Dr Sharples.

“There was resounding support for Solomon Tipene, and a tremendous show of confidence in the Maori Party which I have to say was very pleasing on a Tuesday night in the midst of Te Tai Tokerau”.

So what about the candidate about whom Tariana was just a tad dismissive?

“Solomon also gave an accomplished performance at the candidate’s hui held today in Kaitaia – all the more notable being the hometown of both Hone Harawira and Kelvin Davis” said Dr Sharples.

Oh, and if we could tap the zeal shown by party supporters we could power the city of Auckland for – ooh, maybe a month or two –

“We are all blown away by the energy and commitment that has been regenerated amongst Maori Party members in Te Tai Tokerau”.

This reinforces the good news reported yesterday by Ken Mair, the party’s co-vice President, who was –

… ‘quietly optimistic’ after a weekend of solid results coming through from an intensive ‘door-knock’ of Te Tai Tokerau constituents based in the Auckland end of the electorate.

“Our team of workers knocked on the doors of 1794 electors, living in Te Atatu Peninsula, Henderson, Sunnyvale and Massey over the weekend” said Mr Mair..

“Once we have taken off those not at home (806) and those no longer living at that address (301), the results of the 687 residents have revealed a completely different story than what some commentators are still relying on (the ‘Native Affairs’ poll taken over 500 voters, from the period 2-9 June).

The message coming through to Mair and his mates is that the people believe their vote will be wasted unless they elect a representative who will be working with the Government, putting forward the voice of Te Tai Tokerau.

Results from 687 eligible voters taken over weekend of 18-19 June were –

287 (41.8%) will vote for Solomon Tipene

154 (22.4%) will vote for another candidate.

224 (32.6%) Undecided

22 (3.2%) refused to respond, or not interested.

Dunno if these results persuaded her, or whether it was something she ate.

But Tariana has taken a U-turn since TV3 reported she had effectively thrown in the towel in by-election with just a few days to go.

She says her candidate Solomon Tipene is a lovely kind kaumatua but he does not understand politics and that has hurt him.

“I think he has shown he doesn’t understand politics and that is fair I think and that’s been a real issue for him,” she says.

Hone accused her of disloyalty to her man.

Nope.

Not disloyal. Momentarily deluded, perhaps.

She has issued a statement to clarify her position. Or resile from it. Or something.

“I made a mistake. I made some comments which have been mis-interpreted”.

“I am the first to say I stuffed up, and I am extremely distressed by the impact my mistake has had on an excellent candidate, Solomon Tipene, and our very strong support team in Te Tai Tokerau”.

So what should she have said the other day?

Something like this –

“I have been alongside Solomon in hui, on the streets, at the markets, in planning meetings, and I have been greatly impressed by the confidence he has developed and the gentle dignity of the man”.

“I am in full support of him, and the survival and the success of the Maori Party is something that I am absolutely committed to.

“As for the speculation that my comments were indicating a strategic direction – of course I did not support either Labour or Mana – why would I?

“In actual fact we have invested heavily in supporting this campaign and Solomon – we have had party management, leadership and all our members of parliament alongside him every step of the way and we will continue to support our man in every way that we can”.

Oh, and here’s a nice bit of advice for buggers like Alf who thought she had dumped on her party’s candidate at a very inopportune time.

“People should stop over-analysing and reading far too much into this – and just wait and see what the best poll will say – and that’s the poll on Saturday”

Tariana Turia was at a tangihanga yesterday and advised she would be unable to comment further.

It would be uncharitable, of course, to think that in some Maori Party quarters some people might have wished it was her tangi.

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