3 Aug 2017

Two-for-one deal for Te Tai Tokerau?

6:55 am on 3 August 2017

Kelvin Davis' appointment as deputy leader of the Labour Party has reinvigorated the race for his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

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Photo: RNZ

In the past, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, who held the seat for nine years, had successfully argued it was possible to get two northern Māori MPs for the price of one, by giving electorate votes to him, and party votes to Labour to bring Mr Davis in off the list.

This election however, all six sitting Labour Māori MPs took themselves off the party list, saying they would stand or fall with their electorate.

But becoming deputy leader on Tuesday has put Mr Davis back on the list, because the party's rules dictate that the leader and deputy hold first and second place on the list.

The two candidates met last night for the first time since Mr Davis' promotion, at an iwi radio electorate debate at Hoani Waititi marae in West Auckland.

Mr Harawira said Te Tai Tokerau voters had suggested to him they were keen to get two MPs for the price of one.

"It's an opportunity to ensure that we don't just have two Tai Tokerau MPs in the House, but two Tai Tokerau MPs on the front bench... It's a win-win for Tai Tokerau."

His party had good policies and he was ready for the campaign, he said.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge, but I'd like to think we can do it in a more positive way and I think the two-for-one deal is the deal that the people actually want."

Earlier, Mr Davis told RNZ he had received hundreds of messages of support since being chosen as Labour's deputy.

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