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Written By: - Date published: 5:29 pm, June 20th, 2011 - 50 comments
Categories: hone harawira, Kelvin Davis, mana-party, Maori Issues - Tags:

The Te Tai Tokerau by-election has the potential to be a game-changer.  If it comes off for Kelvin on Saturday the result may shake up a few other predictions for the general election – another example of the wisdom of Harold Wilson’s famous remark that a week is a long time in politics.

Not so long ago all sorts of people were predicting a clean sweep for the Maori Party in the Maori electorates. Then when Hone broke ranks it was Hone was a shoe-in; a brilliant strategy according to  academic and outside-left media commentator Bryce Edwards. The change of expectations has also made another from the old Alliance, Matt McCarten, a bit snippy and seeing all sorts of dark plots in his Herald column.

What has made the difference? In my view Hone has committed two of the besetting sins of politics – falling victim to hubris, and believing his own bullshit.  Kelvin’s style is different from Hone’s, quietly assertive, with Hone’s jibe that Kelvin’s just a teacher showing how far off the mark he is. Voters aren’t silly and they don’t mind a choice. This by-election has given them a choice between a leader with a proven success record and one who promises far more than he can ever deliver.

Now it’s down to who goes out on the day. After the battle of the hustings will come the battle of the explanations – they will be fascinating.

50 comments on “Gamechanger? ”

  1. bomber 1

    LOL – Kelvin will win. That’s the worst spin Job I’ve yet to see on The Standard. What a Mana win means this week – http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-mana-win-means-this-week.html

    • I would not be so confident Bomber.
      And I speak as someone who admires quite a bit of what Hone says and does although as an admittedly died in the wool Labour supporter.
      The feedback out in West Auckland is remarkably good.  Hone’s negatives are well known.  And people are hurting and turning to Labour.
      I appreciate that Maori politics is very complex, the communitation between communities extraordinarily good and the participants are sophisticated.
      But it looks to me like it will be really close and election day may decide it.
      Guess who will have the better turnout strategy?
      Mike I believe the last Ipredict figure for Kelvin is 35c.

      Edit – probably a typo Lanth.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Eh? I look on Ipredict right now, and the odds are:
    Mana, if registered: 58.26%
    Maori Party: 0.021%
    Mana, if not registered: 9.98% (other)
    Labour: 35.43%

    Not sure where you got the 68/53 numbers, especially as that adds up to well over 100%.

    The contracts have been floating around the above numbers for the last few days. The ‘other’ contract is basically the chance that the Mana party is failed to be registered in time, but Hone still wins.

    Edit: Looks like the author simply clicked on Browse Predictions, the first contract showing Labour to win Ikaroa-Rawhiti at the general election at 68%, and the next contract under it being Mana to win TTT by-election at (currently) 58%.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    We’ll see Smithie this time next week, talk about hubris. Labour did not seem able to contemplate growing the left vote.

  4. Sookie 4

    Sorry, I disagree with the Standard party line on this one. I want Hone to win his seat back and I think he will scrape through. He’s not a sell out, he’s very entertaining, he drives right wing rednecks mental and Kelvin Davis is already a MP.

    [lprent: There is no ‘line’. Authors write their opinions.

    We get a wee bit annoyed with people who stupidly don’t read the about and policy and understand this. I give them educational bans to demonstrate with emphasis how much annoys me (the result of other innumerable trolls making the same screwup).

    The only reason you are not copping a ban is because I haven’t had to warn you before. ]

    • r0b 4.1

      There is no Standard party line, there are only the views of the individual authors.

    • If Davis wins (which I doubt and seriously hope not), it won’t be because the best candidate won and it certainly won’t be the best thing for genuinely Left politics in this country.

      As a Labour member I find the tone of Labour’s campaign against Hone Harawira offensive, short sighted and thoroughly disingenuous. It really pisses me off and just drives me further from Labour. (Still, I’m sure the party is just overflowing with offers of help and supportive voices to get the message out for the upcoming election, so what would that matter.)

      And I thoroughly agree Davis has all the charisma of a baked potato. A good person no doubt, but in all the years I have known him, he has never struck me as particularly talented or leftwing.

  5. It will be interesting and I expect a good win from Hone and that will be great for Mana, the left and this country – much better than if davis wins IMO.

    • I wonder if it is good for the left.
      If Mana win then:
      1.  They will run hard at the next election.
      2.  Greens will be hurt.
      3.  Labour may be hurt.
      4.  There is the risk that they lose in November and 2 or 3 % of the left vote disappears.
      If Mana lose then:
      1.  Labour gets a big boost.
      2.  Far left voters can support Greens.
      3.  Labour can make a run at the Maori Party held seats with some momentum.

      • IrishBill 5.1.1

        That’s some patronising bullshit you’re spouting there Micky.

        • mickysavage

          Don’t think so Irish.  And not sure what you are referring to.  Mana losing will help Labour and probably the greens.

          I see some have suggested that Mana will energise the dispossessed and persuade them to vote.  I do not think so.

      • lefty 5.1.2

        Labour is not part of the left. It gave up the right to describe itself that way a long time ago. It is a neo liberal party and as such frequently ends up hurting those who support it most. However it has many left members and is immeasurably better for the working class than its fellow neo liberal party National. Labour offers no long term future for either people or planet – unless you jettisson your support for markets over people. Worst of all you present a huge barrier to the growth of a genuine working class movement.
        You are quite right to want to see the end of Mana because they shame you in the same way the Alliance did. The Greens of course only pose a danger to themselves.

        • Draco T Bastard


          Been saying similar for awhile now. Labour are the centre-right party, Greens centre-left (well, they were back when Rod Donald and Fitzsimons(SP?) was in charge). NZ1st and the Peter Dunne parties are actually centre but tend to the authoritarian.

          A strong left party would be good but I don’t think that Mana will be it.

        • soadpaper

          True- I’m so sick of Labour and its hopeless middle class squishy neo liberalism. Hone may not be perfect but whats left?

      • davidc 5.1.3

        Mana winning can only be bad for the left. Mana will never take a Nat or Act vote and if Mana win it will harden a lot of mild center voters to vote Nat as they dont want to see Lab in bed with Hone.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    You are not wrong there Irish in my opinion. If Mana wins next weekend then the left pool potentially grows, even a little.

    • The Greens have hurt themselves with their blue/green teasing
    • Labour can only do better in some of the remaining Maori seats
    • “There is the risk that they lose in November and 2 or 3 % of the left vote disappears”. Contradiction Mickey

    • TM

      If Mana win 2 or 3% of the vote in November and don’t win TTT then the vote does disappear.  This could be an election result changing event.

      I am referring to the possibility that Hone wins on Saturday and loses in November which I accept is not likely.

  7. bomber 7

    Mickey – you can’t be serious?

    1: 2.34% of Maori Party vote is wasted, Mana would aim at that.
    2: If Mana ran candidates in the other Maori Electorates, Labour would almost certainly benefit from the split vote and gain them back.
    3: The last election was one of the lowest turn outs and Mana reaches out to those voters rather than cannabolize the Green vote or Labour vote.
    4: A sub 5% threshold representation gives a higher punt than just Kelvin winning one electorate.
    5: The Greens won’t get the left vote with their hunt for the mythical right wing environmentalist.

    Come on, Labour need better friends than Winston Peters and the alternative is a Brash – Key Privatization Government. Mickey, you’re kidding right?

    • Sookie 7.1

      Hi Bomber, I like your blog, and I miss Alt TV terribly 🙂 I’m a Green for this reason- take care of the environment, and everything else, including social justice issues, will follow. I’m a snotty urban liberal with little time for granola wafflers and anti fluoride, anti 1080, anti measles shots type tub thumpers. I like the way the Greens have smartened themselves up, and I don’t think they’ve sold out. I also don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of them aligning themselves with the Nats. If all the Nats were as cuddly and ‘progressive’ as Key pretends to be, then maybe, but they aren’t. They’re the same sad old bastards that made life so fun in the 90’s. There’s enough votes for Mana, the Greens and Labour to co-exist providing we mobilise all those ‘can’t be arsed’ voters. Why can’t we all get along eh?

  8. millsy 8

    Really. If the left believe that Hone Hawawira is their ‘saviour’ then were all fucked. We might as well concede to the right now. Save the bother of the election.

    June the 25th will be the date that Hone Harawira’s political career ends. And good riddance

    • Craig Glen Eden 8.1

      Exactly millsy Hone left wing what a bloody joke. While he might have a personality that appeals to some on the left, if this guy was left wing their would have been no way he would have gone anywhere near Tariana. Hone left wing yeah what ever! Hones a mummies boy and she sure as hell has no interest in promoting anything left wing or worker friendly.
      I suspect this will be close but one thing I know for sure Hone is no left wing worker friendly socialist.

    • Who is ‘left’ in your book millsy – if you don’t think Hone is – is Mana? Minto? Sykes?

      I think they all are and they aren’t the saviour but they will get into the machinery of power and fight for the people and we need everything to stop the shit that is about to hit the fan when the gnats get back in.

      • millsy 8.2.1

        There is no doubting that Mana is a ‘left’ party, but it is a party with a strong tino rangatiratanga tinge to it.

        Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but what the likes of Minto (who is on record as having strong sympathies towards Maori issue such as the TR movement) and the Workers’s Party, and every other ragtag band of Trotskyites and Marxist dont seem to get is that there are huge imcompatabilities between this and the broader aims of the left movement.

        I point to the aborted privatisation of Te Urerewa National Park for instance. Large parts of the far left supported Tuhoe’s claim, even though it would mean the transfer of one of our largest national parks into private ownership.

        I also refer to Whanau Ora. Does Minto, a supporter of the welfare state really want the transfer of the provision of social services, ie health, education, welfare, etc into iwi hands?

        I find Mana would be conflicted in the support for a social democratic welfare state with a mixed economy or a confederation of tribal cantons.

        • marty mars

          Well I know we agree on many issues e hoa and maybe this just isn’t one of them. Thanks for your considered reply I appreciated it.

    • Monty 8.3

      Damn – I agree with Millsy for the first time ever – John Hatfield is a hater and a Wrecker and left politics and in fact all politics will be better without this racist arrogant MoFo.

      But Labour are buggered for 2011 regardless – see the latest Roy Morgan Poll out last night? their last poll was a rogue result –

  9. daveo 9

    TTT where?

  10. fabregas4 10

    Kelvin has been less than inspiring on each of the debates – nothing much to say really. Appears to be a hollow man to me. Where is he (and the Labour Party for that matter) on the National Standards policy that can really hurt education in this country but especially in the North where social deprivation starts kids off behind the rest and almost certainly doomed to be below these mythical Standards – failures at five!

    Hone, like his delivery or not, actually says what many in the North are saying. Kelvin has quickly turned into a politician.

  11. gingercrush 11

    Well whatever happens turnout is going to be lousy. Turnout is lousy for Maori electorates in every general election. Just 63.25% in 2008. So someone will win Te Tai Tokerau with less than 40% of the population voting. Not very inspiring.

  12. I agree with Bomber. What would a Kelvin win mean? He can get in on the list anyway. Goff is not challenging Key, English and Brash in any meaningful way… a lot of labour members do not feel labour can win… if your own team does not feel victory… it ain’t over the horizon.

    Te Mana has a buzz, and a level of dedication not currently seen in the current labour party, or in the green party for that matter. Hone is not perfect, but he is a fighter… and as they say: who dares wins…

    It is worth reading this blog post by Morgan @ Maui Street:

  13. Milly.. the left does not need a saviour…

    it needs to get off its (far too fat middle-class white backside) and get out into communities and get organised… this is currently what Te Mana is doing. We will be having a similar debate later in the year post Hone being re elected as the Te Tai Tokerau MP and seeing what he and Kelvin have to offer the North and Aotearoa then…

  14. Mike Smith 14

    Thanks Lanthanide – my mistake. the odds are not as good as I thought. I’ve amended the post. I would still like to see Kelvin win – he’s no potato. As I said the battle of the explanations will be fascinating – and I look forward to it. We do need a debate that includes the broad left.

  15. “That’s some patronising bullshit you’re spouting there Micky” tautoko that Irish Bill

  16. the ‘broad left’ as in the non neoliberal ‘left’? let the debates begin….

  17. Maui 17

    What makes it even more interesting is that they will have to do it all again in a matter of months and will be able to learn from this round.

    The (public and private) post-mortems will be interesting.

    Amongst others, Crosby-Textor is watching with interest. Expect attack lines about wasting of public money in difficult times.

    Hone might run into difficulties in Ōtautahi (aka ‘Christchurch’),
    but they don’t vote in Te Tai Tokerau.

    • Lanthanide 17.1

      Why would Hone run into difficulties in Christchurch?

      Somewhat as an aside, but to do with Mana. John Minto mentioned possibly running in Epsom up against Brash et al. I think he should run in Wigram instead, far greater chance of winning there when really it’d be no hope in Epsom. I still don’t know for sure that Anderton is standing down (I haven’t seen any public statement that confirms he is not running again), but if he is, and Anderton put his weight behind Minto, he could possibly swing it. It would certainly give Mana a lot more credibility as a broad left-wing party if they won a non-Maori electorate seat.

  18. Peter Bains 18

    For once I am hoping for a Labour victory, Hone is a waste of space, he is like Peters, lion outside the ring, a mouse inside the governing tent.

  19. Bill 19

    When the leading representative of the (so-called) Labour Party can’t even hold a fucking hammer properly, it’s kind of indicative of something, duntyathink?….(TV3 ‘news’.)

  20. Irascible 20

    The argument that Mana & Hone are left wing is as erroneous as believing the John Key won’t sell off the State Assets. The myth makers are trying to present Mana & Hone as being genuinely concerned about social issues and having a focus the is opposed to the neo-liberal economic policies of NACTional when, in fact, the party is based on a single issue focused on a single individual whose political philosophy is one of selfish separatism developed from a single minded belief that he, and his hapu, have been the victims of deliberate social deprivation which as caused him to suffer from “post colonisation stress syndrome”. Hone’s politics are essentially conservative and reactionary, right wing rather than left wing.
    Davis, at least, knows that this by-election concerns all New Zealanders and not just the fate of one self-righteous ego bereft of policy or principle.

  21. ianmac 21

    Is it true that the Maori Party had no intention of trying to win? By choosing an unlikely candidate they leave votes open for Labour to win which gets rid of Hone. Strategic and Unscrupulous. (Steven Joyce the Adviser?)

  22. I can’t see it ianmac. Tariana is still not disposed towards labour. What a hatefest it is though. Hone and Mana must be really putting the fear into them because the lines against him and Mana have been unrelenting. If there was no other reason, that would surely be enough to sway the minds of ‘left thinking’ people – surely.

    • Jim Nald 22.1

      When you hear or read Tariana’s lines, listen very closely and carefully and you’ll get a sense they come from a dodgy place.

      • marty mars 22.1.1

        Indeed Jim.

        Hone bashing would have made a good drinking game but I suspect we don’t need any more of those games and anyway, after 5 minutes everyone would be reaching for the bucket anyway.

  23. North 23

    Well Mike I expect your explanations to be more predictable than elucidating or truly instructive.
    If Mana wins it’ll be justice, right, and common sense denied. If Labour wins it’ll be justice, right, and common sense vindicated.

    Either way, profoundly unenlightening and springing from an entirely Pakeha perspective. Like most of the comment here.

    Like it or not boys and girls you don’t have a vote in Tai Tokerau. It’s a little pathetic to pontificate as if Maori employing their own perspective in their voting is somehow non-legitimate. Yeah , OK, I know none of you ever actually said that, but that’s the tone.

    Get over it. It’s not your electorate and more or less pompously castigating Maori for not being acutely aware of the Labour Party’s immediate electoral advantage smells just a bit of post-colonial arrogance. That said it’s somewhat mitigating that it’s more subliminal than conscious. Still, your way or the highway ain’t good enough.

    Having been at the Native Affairs debate in Kaikohe Monday a week ago I have to say I was struck by the absence of viciousness which attended the whole event, before, during, and after. And the absence of the withering “look at me look at me I mock you so cleverly” articulation so fashionable in Pakeha political engagement and debate.

    No wonder Maori distrust and get hoha with “our” politics. And you buggers wail about Hone Harawira and his mouth ???

    Someone above, not caring to see what the mirror reflects obviously, actually mentioned “hubris”. The man seeks to be re-elected to Parliament as a representative of his own people in Tai Tokerau……..For God’s Sake……..Grow Up !

    Tough titty boys and girls, you fullas ain’t even got a vote on Saturday. It ain’t your patch…….get over it control freaks weeping about your disenfranchisement. Maori have lived with that forever.

  24. North 24

    It’ll also show the machine politicians inside or outside Parliament, such as Mike Smith,
    where to go……..go and get a remedy for their Captain Hobson “hubris”.

    “They’re a fine type ‘the Maori’…..as long as they know their place……..”

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