Aspiring Bay of Plenty MP Louis Te Kani is preparing to take on the Maori Party and he believes he can win.
The 46 year old Tauranga born lawyer is taking over from veteran politician Mita Ririnui as Labour’s candidate in the Waiariki electorate.
He is preparing for an election battle against the Maori Party’s Te Ururoa Flavell, who has enjoyed popular support in the electorate since he won the seat in 2005.
The Maori Party experienced a surge in support when it was formed in the wake of Labour’s controversial 2004 foreshore and seabed legislation.
But the party’s recent debacle involving Hone Harawira and its support for the government’s new Marine and Coastal Area Bill will sway Maori voters back to Labour, according to Louis.
“Hone Harawira has a personality and charisma that endears him to a number of Maori Party supporters.
“A number of them now feel disenfranchised.
“I accept there are a large number of people who have moved away from Labour.
“Te Ururoa has done some things for Waiariki, but he has not delivered on a number of promises.”
Louis has been a lawyer for 11 years, working from Rotorua where his practice is based.
“I love the law. It just seems a natural progression from practising the law to the other end of the spectrum where you are making it.”
Louis says one of his main aims, if elected, is to change the Maori focus from grievance to a “developmental mode”.