Nanaia Mahuta well ahead in preliminary vote count

Long-serving politician Nanaia Mahuta was first elected to Parliament as a Labour Party List MP in October 1996.

Preliminary results show she has a very strong lead with a total of 15.5% of booths counted she currently has just under 5.000 votes while Rahui Papa sits just under 2,000.

The incumbent Hauraki-Waikato MP has held a range of roles and served on a number of select committees over the years including a ministerial portfolio in the last term of the fifth Labour Government.

Mahuta is currently the spokesperson for Māori Affairs and Treaty of Waitangi Settlements and is the Senior Māori Vice-President of the Labour Party.

In the last election, she polled 7,695 from total votes of 21,216, but must win the seat for Hauraki-Waikato to re-enter Parliament as she is not on Labour’s list this time round.

Mahuta is the clear leader in Māori Television poll results despite a challenge by Rahui Papa who has the backing of the Kīngitanga.

The poll reveals Mahuta has a commanding lead with 78% of voters backing her compared with 22% for Papa.

The Hauraki-Waikato Māori electorate runs from Papakura to Te Awamutu and includes Kawhia in the west through to Coromandel in the east as well as the city of Hamilton.