24 Jun 2011

Last day of campaigning in Te Tai Tokerau

12:44 pm on 24 June 2011

What's being described as a tough campaign ends on Friday for candidates in the Te Tai Tokerau by-election.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, who won with a majority of more than 6000 votes in 2008 when he was with the Maori Party, resigned the seat to force a new mandate.

One poll showed the Labour candidate, list MP Kelvin Davis, only one point behind Mr Harawira, while another had the by-election as a three-horse race between the two men and the Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia got into strife this week for saying Mr Tipene does not understand politics and later apologised for her statement. She now says voters in the electorate should be voting for Mr Tipene if they want progress.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says it's going to be tough for Mr Davis to beat Mr Harawira, but he's confident that campaigning in the electorate is going to pay off for Labour.

Meanwhile Mr Harawira says in a statement it's been a tough campaign with $100,000 spent by the opposition to try to keep him out of Parliament and suppress the voice of the dispossessed.

In 2008, Mr Harawira captured 62% of the vote, winning the seat with 12,019 votes and a majority of 6308 over Mr Davis, his nearest opponent.

Voting in the 2011 by-election takes place on Saturday 25 June.