Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Maori politics has a life of its own which I don't pretend to understand. Nevertheless, living up here in the Bay of Islands you can sense the mood change among Maori voters and I don't think it bodes well for Hone H.

Here is my take on it (for what it is worth).

The Mana Party campaign in Te Tai Tokerau is stuttering at best. Hone is defending a slim 2.200 majority (down from 6,300 in 2008) but he is hampered in doing so by his commitment to the Mana Party campaign nationwide. Money would appear to be a problem. Mana is being 'outsigned' by the Maori Party by what looks like 2:1. Nationally the Mana campaign has failed to ignite. Willie Jackson and John Tamahere have 'walked' and right now the perception is that they are a rag-tag bunch of losers. That will have an impact locally.

The Maori Party appears energised by their candidate Waihora Shortland. He is certainly much better known and much more articulate than his predessor in the bi-election campaign. Expect him to claw back votes from the Mana Party.

But watching (and I guess laughing all the way to the bank) is Labour's Kelvin Davis. He was an initial convert to the Maori Party but walked once Hone managed his takeover. Kelvin is one of the very few 'good guys' in Labour. He is hard working and has pretty wide cross-party respect (and support) up here. I would expect National voters on the Maori roll to give him their electorate vote given that National isn't standing a candidate. Kelvin Davis is an upset waiting to happen and I suggest this result will be one of the few that will cause Labour to celebrate on what will be a pretty bleak night for them.

You read it first.

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