Poll results of Te Tai Tokerau electorate challenged

By Dean Nathan

The results of a poll of the Tai Tokerau Māori electorate released today are being challenged.  

Conducted in July, the poll found support for the incumbent Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis more than double that of the Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira.  It's a result that didn't go down well in the Mana stronghold of Ōtangarei.

Local kaumātua Hira Kopa told Te Kāea, "It's wrong!  It's wrong because many of our people are overjoyed at Hone's return to politics for Te Tai Tokerau."

Voters we spoke to in the Whangarei City Centre had another perspective.

Les Wakefield said, "I can understand that because I've always voted as long as Hone (Harawira) has been in there.  I feel that Hone had some huge opportunities right at the beginning, we all supported that.  And I think what our whānau is after some muscle in government."

Kaumātua Te Hari Clark also supported the results, "They've got it right!  Hone (Harawira) will not do the work and hence the swing in voter support behind Kelvin (Davis) to represent us.  And that's where I stand."

Meanwhile, Kylia Pickering liked what the Labour Party was offering youth, "I like Kelvin Davis more than I like Hone Harawira with the fact that Labour has promised a lot more things for the youth.  And I guess that's what the youth really want for the fact that a lot of people misunderstand us." 

In a media statement today, the Mana leader Hone Harawira rubbished the poll which was conducted by Māori Television prior to the appointment of Jacinda Ardern as the new leader of the Labour Party and Kelvin Davis as her deputy.  He said the political environment has changed dramatically since then and the poll doesn't reflect the current situation in the electorate.

Bella Waetford queried whether cellphone users were included in the poll, "A lot of young people, we use our mobile phones and a lot of people I know all support Hone.  So, I think that's probably what happened, yeah the survey is wrong." 

Ms Kopa also pointed out that voting strategically to gain more representation has become a major consideration for voters in the electorate since the poll was conducted.

"Even if Kelvin doesn't win, he will still be in Parliament with Labour.  So we've been strongly advocating to vote for Hone because he remains steadfast to Māori protocol within Ngāti Hine and across Northland."