Latest News

Byelection Battle for the North – Labour Party

Byelection Battle for the North – Labour Party

Labour Candidate Kelvin Davis, a former principal, is unlikely to win outright on June 25.  Labour came second in 2008, gaining 6,000 votes to Hone Harawira’s 12,000. By-election history suggests there will be fewer overall votes’ recent newspaper polls indicate that won’t change.

Maori are no longer committed to playing a minor role within dominant Pakeha caucus. Labour’s 1980s economic restructuring, the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act and the increased mana Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia secured with ministerial positions alongside National remain fresh in the Maori psyche.

Labour’s opportunity rests on coming through the middle of a split between the Maori and Mana parties, although Labour  may be  reading too much on the 2008 party vote which  it won by 9,200 to 6,204 votes. Maori voters are especially strategic and that vote was in support of an alliance between the Maori and Labour parties rather than one for Labour. Party votes count for nothing in by-elections.

Labour risks losing out in a Mana versus Maori battle. Labour is polling poorly and Mana already appears to be making inroads into traditional Labour territory – the poor hurting under hikes in GST, food and petrol. The new party could well reach into the heart of Labour’s middle-class support in education and health unions. Davis will want to highlight the impact of Budget cuts on student loans, Working for Families and KiwiSaver. That may be in vain. Given the economic downturn, the Maori Party has done quite well setting aside more funding for Whanau Ora, more kura kaupapa, the Kotahitanga programme for secondary school teaching which is turning around Pakeha teacher attitudes, the upcoming constitutional review and treaty claims processes.

Davis might think twice about pursuing Shane Jones’ accusation the Maori Party has obscured statistics to hide the fact that new funding comprises only $20 million of the $200 million Maori vote. While that may be, it is $1 million more new money than Labour gave Maori in a vote of $170 million in 2007. At the time, Sharples described it as tokenistic at the time –proof that Maori politicians are as realpolitik as Pakeha.

The Maori Party can well argue that redirection is an ongoing and appropriate response to Labour’s mainstreaming of Maori funding following Don Brash’s 2004 Orewa speech.  Labour deputy leader Annette King has already said she supports the Whanau Ora concept.

Moreover, the $600 million the Maori Party claims to have secured in three budgets (2009-2011) is significantly more than Parekura Horomia secured in his last three.

More convincingly, Davis can argue that there is no direct money to address Maori unemployment.

Expect Labour MPs flying in to support Davis, although that could backfire as trendy city folk – even Maori ones – will not cut it in a district of high Maori unemployment.

Davis’ weakness is that Jones and biculturally awkward leader Phil Goff are doing all the talking. Goff often pre-empts Maori issues. Maori MPs Parekura Horomia and Nanaia Mahuta have already contradicted his decision not to work with Mr Harawira. Northerners prefer people who speak for themselves.

Davis has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He has a solid reputation for work in the community, and sound, if not yet stellar, record in parliament and he is high enough on the Labour list to ensure he returns in November. He will add mana by cutting into Harawira’s 6,000 plus majority. Topping the Maori Party would be a bonus.

If Labour does win they will sink Mana and set up the recapture of seats lost to the Maori Party in 2008.

Latest Tweets

  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky No it's not. Pakeha rich list, Pakeha only prime ministers. Who has all the power? Not us. Crying now cos u have to share. Lol. about 6 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky & if you're asking me personally, hell yea! If we can't eliminate poverty & racism, I'm totally for proMaori policies about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky race based? Read some history then get back to me. about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: In every community there are leaders who are willing to take on the challenge. We need to find & resource those people. L… about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky anyway I can hear of your your cows going mad out back. Must've heard about novapay. Better go check #mooove about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky @Olivefarmer yea any party. The night before he gave Annette the biggest hug. He's promoting his film &supporting his cousin about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@Megapope dang. And we were all hoping lol about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: Angeline Greensill talking on the Treaty and protecting our environment. http://t.co/jDS9Wmd0aT about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: We need to urgently address food sovereignty, climate change and protecting our environment. Angeline Greensill about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kaupapamaori: "What concerns me is that we win over 34 seats and we don't have enough on the list... Get on the roll and vote" Angeline… about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@dairycocky @Olivefarmer what you mean this guy? With Annette's Sykes. Oh that's right lol http://t.co/FlzMNIb2lt about 8 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Pu Konohi Art Auction http://t.co/ryDg0tt4aB #maori #indigenous about 11 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Amazing opportunity for Rangatahi wanting to work with Vodafone http://t.co/rfLsrQrq3Y #maori #indigenous about 12 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @kiwinerd: @DigitalMaori i think that article overuses the trope of indigenous nations dying out. about 14 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: Mauri Hauora Walk Talk 6 by Olly Ohlson http://t.co/im8LZW3dOr #maori #indigenous about 16 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @patsalwhk: @DigitalMaori you rock @InternetPartyNZ feeling star struck x http://t.co/3lCqHyVlcy about 18 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriMaori News: The M?ori Party dismisses Act Party claims of race-based privilege http://t.co/rH4AVMKeLh #maori #indigenous about 19 hours ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @TovaOBrien: This woman is a woman I've admired from a distance for most of my adult life - Laila Harre on Annette Sykes http://t.co/PAl… about a day ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @Sub_Strata: @DigitalMaori looks like @InternetMana landslide victory in the Most Fun Campaign category about a day ago
  • DigitalMaoriQ&A How do you tax the rich? @KimDotcom Build knowledge here, value youth, increase jobs. Transactional tax. Inheritance tax #ManaInternet about a day ago