The resignation of Pita Sharples is the icing on the cake for the demise of the Maori Party.

That Te Ururoa Flavell is likely to be the next co-leader of the Maori Party is irrelevant.

He will preside over a Maori Party collapse at the next election.

Why? Well, when your anti pokies bill is completely gutted by your coalition partner to the extent that the Gambling Harm Reduction Bill was, the benefits of being inside the fold are clearly non-existent.

Most Maori voters realise this – and voter apathy is high when much of the benefits of the Maori Party in government has flown towards the interests of the tribal elite.

That by no means implies that it is the end of the Maori seats – you’d have to be ignorant of how power in New Zealand is distributed to think that the Maori seats will ever be abolished.

It does mean, however, that the Maori Party’s embarassing failure in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election is just the beginning of the end.

The only winner in New Zealand politics at the moment is Winston Peters. In 2013 he has destroyed Peter Dunne and most likely has a hand in the destruction of the Maori Party.

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