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Harawira vs Davis vs ?

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, May 11th, 2011 - 38 comments
Categories: by-election, labour, mana-party, maori party - Tags: , ,

Labour has decided to stand Kelvin Davis in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election. I wish they hadn’t. First, Davis strikes me as quality and you don’t tarnish quality by making it lose in front of a national audience. Look what happened to Melissa Lee, former National rising star. And Davis will lose, let’s be honest.

Hone Harawira beat Davis by winning over twice as many votes in 2008. Since then, Harawira’s profile has risen hugely and he has become a hero to a good many. Davis hasn’t made that impact. I don’t see some new, unknown, Maori Party candidate making enough of an impact to close that gap. If anything the anti-Hone vote will be split.

Sure, Labour can deploy the organisational structure of not only TTT but the co-located general electorates and Tamaki Makaurau but Harawira is the incumbent and he has stayed true to his people through-out.

Yes, Labour’s ability to get out the vote is fearsome but getting out the vote is much harder in Maori electorates even at a general election, let alone against a new party in a by-election. Who will Labour know to get out? In reality, a Labour get out the vote effort designed to get out all potential Labour voters, ie anyone left of centre (excepting people who have said they are a member of a different party in door to door canvassing, I guess). I don’t know how they can possibly know which TTT enrolled votes to target for a GOTV effort when there’s no socio-economic divide to go on and no canvassing data that would incorporate the Mana Party, and good odds that a Labour supporter backed Harawira as the candidate last time anyway.

Second, it’s a waste of resources. OK, you get to do a(nother) live test of your GOTV system but it’s not a typical one, so probably not very instructive and while by-elections are a good opportunity to excite the activists it also uses up their limited time that could be better used this close to an election.

Third, I want Harawira to win.

Now, don’t let that invalidate the rest of what I’ve said. I want Harawira to win for the wider Left’s sake. Harawira has a constituency. It is made up of Left people. What is better: for those people to be unrepresented, maybe not bothering to vote or maybe in the Greens or Labour trying to drag them to an extreme that they don’t want to go to, or for them to have their own party in Parliament, adding to the Left’s combined voice and there to deal with when agreement can be found, which is most of the time in reality? There is a place for the Mana Party and it works in Labour and the Green’s favour, just as ACT works in National’s favour. It would be a shame to see that wasted.

That’s why I hope that, behind the drama of the Harawira vs Davis vs ? fight the strategists from the parties of the Left will be keeping lines of communication open. We don’t agree on everything but we basically agree on most stuff, and we’ve got a nasty common enemy to fight.

38 comments on “Harawira vs Davis vs ? ”

  1. Um not sure Eddie on a few points:
     
    1.  If there is a MP candidate then there will be a three way split and anything can happen.
    2.  Harawira, who I actually like, is prone to make silly decisions and say dumb things although I agree that his latest supposed gaffe about Osama has been misreported.
    3.  Labour can use its machine for instance out west on by election day to doorknock individuals in a way that it can never do on a general election day.
    4.  Although I personally agree about the need and desirability of there being another party of the left Mana’s handling of it’s launch has not been good.  We do not even know if there will be a by election as Hone has not actually resigned and the loose ends he has left open is sloppy.
    5.  The danger is that Hone does not get up at the general election and a couple of percent of vote on the left is wasted.  This would all but guarantee the return of Key/Brash.

  2. Sally 2

    I would take a close look at a) the Party vote in TTT in 08, and b) where the population is based in TTT. It’s not as much a Northland seat as everyone makes out.

    Also, look at how the media are treating Harawira – they hate him, and he plays right into their hands. He’s damaged goods, and he’s not really going to do any favours to the Left with that sort of profile.

    It has to be Davis.

  3. Carol 3

    My views on Mana, Harawira, Davis etc are fairly open at the moment. I like Mana’s general platform, but am waiting for the party to show how well it performs. I have also been impressed with some of Davis’s speeches in the House. I am interested to see how the by-election and the main players perform in it. It does give Davis & Labour an opportunity to show what they stand for. I doubt anyone really has strong expectations that Davis will win, so it’s his performance that will count.

  4. DJ 4

    If Kelvin David is quality then why would he automatically lose? And Melissa Lee is not like Kelvin Davis at all Eddie. You can check out their historys if you like. They’re two completely different people.

    Harawira has become a hero but becoming a hero doesn’t win you elections.

    • Carol 4.1

      If Kelvin David is quality then why would he automatically lose?

      Because Harawira is the sitting candidate, has a strong following in the area, and many Maori are still not happy with Labour’s position over the Foreshore & Seabed.

      • adriank 4.1.1

        I also disagree that him losing will curtail his opportunities in the future… look at Hekia Parata (horrible shrew that she is): lost handily in Mana but not a cabinet minister as a direct result of her performance there.

        Unrelated, one of my favourite ever John Key quotes came out of the Mana by-election, something alonmg the lines of: “Anyway you look at [the result in Mana], it’s a win.” You know, unless you look at it in terms of who received a higher percentage of the vote and thus ‘won’ the by-election.

        • Tigger 4.1.1.1

          Agree. Davis is quality and what a great way to show off just how quality he is – all eyes will be on this race and he’ll get some national exposure which he wouldn’t get in a General Election. Unless he does a Melissa Lee he can’t actually ‘lose’ per se.

  5. Sam 5

    First of all, Hone needs to resign from parliament and he won’t or can’t do that unless the Mana party actually exists. I am not sure if that is the case yet.

    And remember that Hone’s stronghold is north of Whangarei, the further south you go, the weaker he is. Thus concentrating on voters south of that city should pay dividends for Labour.
    However that is also where the Maori party will be strongest.
    There is thus a danger that Labour and the Maori party vote will be split, allowing Hone to win because of his stronghold up north. Hone’s weaknesses south of Whangarei are also that he is having to rely on 1980’s activists like John Minto and Sue Bradford etc.
    These people are not going to be good for Hone if Labour starts to attack their presence within the Mana party.
    I also believe that the Mintos and Bradfords won’t even sign on with Mana, they are activists outside the system, they would lose “street cred” bigtime.
    So we will see what eventuates. But it will be interesting.

    [lprent: Have you read the policy yet. Read my note here. Tell me when you have done so and that you won’t waste my time in the future and I’ll drop the auto-moderation. ]

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    With Matt McCarten hitching his ‘anchor’ to yet another parliamentary party, the eventual outcome is certain.
    Mana party will be a washout , hone may yet linger on but his left credentials are built on shaky ground, himself. Phillip Field comes to mind, as far as left credentials go.

  7. The Voice of Reason 7

    I think Labour has made the right choice. To not stand risks being seen as endorsing Hone, which would make winning the seat in November much harder. Hone probably has the advantage of being the current MP, but the disadvantage of having put off many voters as well. Pem Bird’s comment about the ‘silent majority’ isn’t a fantasy. In a 3 way split, I’d say it’s 40/40/20 at the moment, with MP voters who don’t want Hone tactically voting for Labour, rather than Maori Party.

    Hone’s biggest problem won’t be getting support, it will be getting votes. At this point he hasn’t even got the numbers to form a party, which is the real reason he is delaying resigning. Then he has to get his supporters on the electoral roll prior to the cutoff date, which may only be a week or two after he resigns. It could end up with Hone being well ahead on the media polling prior to the vote, but failing to turn that into an actual winning margin on the day.

    Either way, the Maori Party are going to get a well deserved thrashing, which will be repeated nationwide in November.

  8. millsy 8

    I want Harawira to win for the wider Left’s sake. Harawira has a constituency. It is made up of Left people

    WTF?!

    Why the left would throw in their hope, dreams and efforts in behind a blowhard egotist like Hone bloody Harawira and his idiot family is completely beyond me. The guy hasant even resigned from Parliament like he said he was going to, and the deadline is getting closer and closer,

    John Minto, I can understand, but I thought that the likes of Bradford or McCarten (and even Nandor) would have more brains than to hop on Hone Harawira’s heap of shit band wagon.

    Kelvin Davis will win this one easily – Mana and Maori will cancel each other out, and the people of TTT will have someone with real mana representing them, not some loser who swaggers round like a gang member.

  9. vidiot 9

    3-way vote split – could be an interesting race – however I have my doubts on Hone actually standing down and calling a by-election.

  10. Graeme 10

    Millsy has it right. the folk of TTT deserve kelvin davis. The man has Mana. He is probably the closest thing the red team has to a potential Prime Minister.

    • Sam 10.1

      I would still go for Shane Jones as the next Labour PM, he has standing within the wider community, despite his porn movie saga.

      [lprent: Have you read the policy yet. Read my note here. Tell me when you have done so and that you won’t waste my time in the future and I’ll drop the auto-moderation. ]

  11. Daveo 11

    I don’t think labour had any choice once the Maori party decided to stand a candidate but I also agree with Maui Street: http://mauistreet.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-hone-will-win.html

  12. deemac 12

    Kelvin is standing because you don’t win by refusing to stand!
    (Plus he is clearly the best candidate IMHO.)

    • PeteG 12.1

      I agree, from what I’ve seen he’s a far more capable, positive MP than Harawira, hopefully enough in can TTT see it that way too. And if Davis does well – and maybe wins – then maybe Labour will get some confidence, model themselves on his sort of attributes and get their shit together.

  13. The Maori Party and the Labour Party are have become corrupted by allowing themselves to be used as tools of the corporate establishment, Hone Harawira’s Mana Party has not. I hope Hone Harawira wins a resounding victory in the by-election and that this victory will be the spring board from which the Mana Party can take a few more Maori party seats in the general election.

    The only thing I would disagree with in the Maui Street blog, mentioned in post #11, is the proposition that many Mana supporters might not vote as by-elections do not historically have a high turn out. I suspect that the interest being generated by this by-election will be significant enough to motivate big turn out.

    This by-election, more than any other past by-election, looks set to be one of the pivotal political events leading up to the next general election.

  14. well said Eddie

  15. Anthony 15

    LOL @ righty hard-on for Davis.

  16. PeteG 17

    This will be one of the most interesting by-elections – next step is to see who the Maori Party get to stand for them.

    Hard to know how much support will be based on party, and how much based on candidate.

    Harawira obviously has the most to lose. I think Davis has the most to gain, he and Labour will benefit even from an honourable defeat. The Maori Party may struggle to get much out of the exercise apart from Mama abuse.

    • Lanthanide 17.1

      I think the Maori Party, being widely seen as the underdog, both in this electorate and in most of the other Maori seats, have the most to gain – if they win.
       
      If they can beat back Mana they can say “see, we are the party that best represents Maori in parliament”, and if they can beat back Labour they can also say “see, people don’t mind that we shacked up with National – as long as we get things done”.

  17. U 4 United 18

    Davis will win!

  18. Jenny 19

    The poll in Tai Tokerau may also be a poll on the efficacy of on line polls.

    Stuff.co.nz have just run an online poll on who would in Tai Tokerau.

    Here it is:

    Who would win a Te Tai Tokerau by-election?

    Hone Harawira’s Mana Party
    199 votes, 10.6%

    Maori Party
    822 votes, 43.8%

    Labour Party
    854 votes, 45.5%

    Total 1875 votes

    stuff.co.nz Labour contesting Tai Tokerau

    • The Voice of Reason 19.1

      I suspect what that question translates to in people’s heads is ‘who would you like to win the Te Tai Tokerau by-election?’. The percentages are about right, but it’s going to be the Maori Party a distant third on the day.

    • PeteG 19.2

      That’s a more ridiculous than usual poll.

      The by-election is for a person to represent an electorate, it isn’t a party vote.
      The Maori Party candidate is unknown.
      Unless the poll was restricted to TTT voters it’s meaningless.

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        I wonder if everyone who voted in that poll is on the Maori Roll, and not the General Roll. Yeah I agree that’s not really likely is it.

  19. Rosemary 20

    That’s right mickysavage – and is why Labour shouldn’t be so anti-Hone – they’re going to need him. Or is this a trick to make sure they don’t lose votes by being seen as aligned with who they think the public regard as the most despised man in current politics, then come vote-counting time they’ll turn around and welcome him with open arms?

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