Former Maori Party MP Rahui Katene has indicated she wants to lead the party when the current co-leaders step down.
Ms Katene lost her southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga at the last election, but plans to stand again in 2014.
She says three years in Parliament was not long enough for her vision for Te Tai Tonga to be put into place.
The lawyer says she would stand again as an MP for the Maori Party - and be leader - if that is what the people want.
She says she is making herself available and she would love to advocate on voters' behalf.
Ms Katene says she would seek re-election in Te Tai Tonga because that is where she is from and where her iwi is.
First of all, let me declare my conflict of interest here. I’m doing a little bit of work for Rino Tirikatene, the current MP for Te Tai Tonga.
Anywho, Rahui will not win in 2014, bar an extraordinary and unforeseen event. Te Tai Tonga has never been, and probably never will be, a natural electorate for the Maori Party to target. Te Tai Tonga is far different in character from the other six Maori electorates, mainly in that tino rangatiratanga is not the dominant ideology among Maori in the electorate.
If Rahui is serious about winning back the seat, basing herself in Wellington is not the best decision. When Rahui won the seat in 2008, she did so off of the back of Wellington. With that in mind, she should be targeting areas in the south where she is weak and where voter support is soft. Christchurch is, arguably, the centre of the electorate and the prize, so naturally it should be her base.
Profile is important in any electorate, but that is one area where Rahui failed. She did not build a solid support base before and leading into election year, which meant her hold on Te Tai Tonga was always going to be tenuous. From a strategic point of view, Rahui failed to carry her support in Wellington – her stronghold in 2008 - and did not solidify the young vote (where she did well in 2008).
If Rahui wants to win, Tariana Turia should anoint her as the successor in Te Tai Hauauru. However, even then, without tribal links to and knowledge of the electorate Rahui’s chances would be marginal. Tamaki Makaurau is an electorate where tribal links are not as important, so that could be a possibility. However, Rahui has no profile in the electorate.
Under the Maori Party constitution, there must be a male and female leader. At the moment, the leader in waiting is Te Ururoa Flavell – who isn’t guaranteed a win so long as Annette Sykes stands again. I think, come 2014, the Maori Party is finished. The narrative that the Maori Party are sell-outs is set and the party has failed to counter it. Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are, perhaps, the only genuinely pan-Maori leaders in Parliament. Te Ururoa and Rahui don’t have the pan-Maori appeal of the current leaders. Unless the Maori Party defines a base, for example conservative Maori, the party will fail with Te Ururoa and Rahui who are not pan-Maori leaders.