Monday, June 20, 2011

Who will win the by-election on Saturday?

The Te Tai Tokerau by-election will go down to the wire and this time next week we`ll know if that electorate will have a politician or an activist representing them in Parliament. At the moment it has nobody.

Marae Investigates interviewed three of the candidates over the weekend. You can watch that here.

The polls have Hone Harawira and Kelvin Davis neck and neck. That’s a real closing of the gap since 2008, when Harawira was more than 6000 votes ahead of Davis. Harawira has dismissed the poll saying that poor people can’t afford to have a landline phone – “young people in particular”.

Young people can’t vote, either. Many supporters of the Mana Party are either young people who can’t vote, are not enrolled at all, or are enrolled on the general electoral roll and therefore cannot vote on Saturday. But many Mana supporters have an internet connection. Many appear to be ineligible to vote at the election so are getting active on Facebook and putting out media releases instead.

Much has been made of some in the Ratana movement who support Harawira. I personally think it's irrelevant. The group is led by Kereama Pene, a leader of Mangere East’s Ratana church. He organised a hikoi to support Harawira, but only got about six supporters away from their Facebook pages. Pene had publicly said that Ratana should abandon support for Labour. I guess that call will come naturally to someone who was expelled from the Labour Party.

Ratana church leaders have responded, stating clearly that the church supports Labour.

So, I think there is every chance that Kelvin Davis can win, even though the Mana Party vote is elevated due to a poorly performing Maori Party candidate. Nearly 10 per cent of voters in the electorate voted National in 2008 – and they`ll vote Labour on Saturday.

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