Kelvin Davis really, really wants to win Te Tai Tokerau. You can’t really blame him for that. The vagaries of relying on the party list to get into Parliament mean that he missed out in 2011 and is only back thanks to Shane Jones departing for other climes.
And now Mr Davis is back in the danger zone. Yes, he’s number eighteen on the Labour list, but when you take into account those who will or could win electorate seats, Mr Davis is effectively between 32 and 34 on the list (depending on whether Labour hold Palmerston North and/or Port Hills).
In this site’s Poll of Polls, Labour are currently sitting on 27.7%, which gets them 36 MPs. That gives Mr Davis a little bit of buffer room, but only because NZ First are sitting on 4.6% and zero MPs. If we imagine NZ First taking 0.4% off National, and hitting the 5% threshold, it’s suddenly a very different story – Labour would have just 34 MPs, leaving Davis with little to no buffer zone at all.
Which leaves him in a spot of bother, given that his party doesn’t seem to want him to win Te Tai Tokerau. Although Labour are in public stating that they want to win all seven Maori seats, it’s plainly obvious that on current polling Labour has no chance of forming a Government without the Internet Mana Party bringing in two or more MPs. If David Cunliffe can’t lift Labour’s polling rather dramatically, then Internet Mana are vital to Cunliffe’s Prime Ministerial dreams.
So what to make of Kelvin Davis’ personal crusade against Kim Dotcom?
It’s been revealed that Mr Davis’ campaign team had sought head office approval to run a website taking aim at Dotcom and picking a fight with Internet Mana. Here’s the response from Tim Barnett, Labour’s General Secretary, taken from emails leaked to 3News:
This website and its messaging is problematic and presents a risk for the Party for the following significant reasons:
- Its’ overall tone is negative and not consistent with our Vote Positive message
- The first sentence uses the National Party slogan “Working for New Zealand”
- The cartoon of Kim dot com is could be viewed as offensive and the website picks a fight with Internet Mana. I know that is your local fight, but to present that nationally would not be helpful when both parties are presenting as progressive
- The messaging about anonymous donations is inconsistent with Labour Party policy and practice, both at Head Office and across electorate campaigns, and would be messaged by media as . [sic]
- The website has no Party Vote message and does not carry an authorisation statement.
The response from Davis’ campaign team?
I think we as a party need to realize that the battle we are fighting in the north is unique. Our opposition is not Keys and his party. We are fighting against Hone who is being funded by a multi- millionaire who is frankly trying to buy his way into parliament. The website is confrontational as it is a wakeup call, it’s not aimed at traditional supporters, honestly I think national supporters may contribute.
Having had the orders come down from on high to keep the Te Tai Tokerau campaign clean and positive, Kelvin Davis then publishes the following Facebook posts:
With Hone Harawira calling on Davis to resign for attempting to solicit funds from National Party supporters, Davis is unapologetic, as his above Facebook posts demonstrate. There may not be many Kelvin Davis hoardings up in the Far North, but he’s made it as public as he possibly could that he intends to win, which may well be a thorn in David Cunliffe’s side.
As Patrick Gower tweeted yesterday morning:
What will Cunliffe, McCarten & Barnett do about Kelvin Davis who is going hard, going negative and wants to win the Tai Tokerau?