Incumbent’s votes double nearest rival’s

Rino Tirikatene has recorded his biggest majority for Labour. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Rino Tirikatene has recorded his biggest majority for Labour. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Rino Tirikatene made a comfortable return to Parliament in the Te Tai Tonga electorate, but said the Maori Party made the election a contest and would continue to keep Labour honest.

Mr Tirikatene recorded twice as many votes as his Maori Party rival Takuta Ferris, and his majority for Labour of 5643 was the highest he has recorded in four elections.

"It’s always a challenge looking after and campaigning in such a large electorate, but having an increased majority is a good endorsement of the work I have been doing, and of the Government as well."

The electorate was very diverse, but Covid-19 and the economic recovery had been the unifying concerns of his constituents, Mr Tirikatene said.

"Housing and incomes are also core issues, and health is also big across the South as well."

Mr Tirikatene was pleased Labour had so many Maori MPs returned — "it’s a rugby team, I said we’d be a first XV, hopefully with a couple of reserves."

However, the likely return of the Maori Party to Parliament after its provisional win in Waiariki meant his party should not take the Maori vote for granted, Mr Tirikatene said.

"We can’t be complacent, it is always good that we are tested electorally and in terms of our policies and initiatives for Maori."

Mr Ferris, a first time candidate, hauled the Maori Party into second place in the electorate race from third in 2017.

The Green Party maintained its strong position in Te Tai Tonga, coming second in party votes for the fourth election in a row.

The Maori Party was third in party votes, edging ahead of National which finished fourth.

Electorate vote

1.Rino Tirikatene, Labour, 11,128
(Majority 5643)
2.Takuta Ferris, Maori Party 5485
3.Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, Green, 2466
4.Anituhia McDonald, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, 1129

Party vote

1.Labour 13,056.
2.Green 2597
3.Maori Party 1838
4.National 1219

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