Maori party takes a hit

The Maori Party won't be making government coalition talks easy for National after being delivered a "disappointing" election result.

Labour took back the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga and the Maori Party had a poor showing in the party vote.

Co-leader Pita Sharples, who himself suffered a severe cut in his electorate majority, said that showed voters did not like the split with Hone Harawira or the relationship with National.

Sharples had been looking tired and despondent as the results flowed in.

But as he stood up to speak the crowd performed a rousing haka and seemed to enliven him.

He told them that despite the reduced number of seats they should "stay strong".

"The perception was that it was not good for us to be sitting with National."

He said the party would meet tomorrow to discuss the result and possible future relationships.

It would also go back to the people before making a final decision.

"I still believe that the Maori Party represents being Maori and being New Zealand."

The party had failed to combat Harawira's spin that the party being with National was bad for Maori, he said.

"Those are all things that we have to re-look at."

Te Ururoa Flavell managed to hold on to his Waiariki seat but expressed disappointment that Rahui Katene had lost in Te Tai Tonga.

"She did all the hard work down in Christchurch... we're worked really hard for a small party."

Co-leader Tariana Turia was also disappointed at the loss and ambiguous on a future relationship with National.

She said the party may have to go into opposition and re-group.

Turia will be heading to Auckland tomorrow to hold talks about the party's next steps. National leader John Key told supporters tonight he was keen to have both National and the Maori Party in government, and would talk to the leadership.

Turia said turnout was low in the Maori electorates. She believes many people weren't supportive of the Maori Party's message.

"We are looking for independence.

"I think that message was clearly what the people didn't want to hear. We are so dependent," Turia said.

"Mana saying we are going to give you breakfast, we are going to give you lunch everyday at school has resonated. It's very obvious to me. But it's not what's right for us as a people.

"If we don't transform are thinking about ourselves as a people, then I worry about what the future holds," she said.

- Fairfax NZ