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Cunliffe seen 'absolutely open' to Harre, Harawira proposal to kneecap Davis

LATEST — Cunliffe: no pre-election deals

Less than a day back in politics, Laila Harre is showing she hasn't lost her strategic touch. Yesterday, she focussed on wiping student loans, giving her a point of connection with the large pool of Generation Y non-voters so coveted by Kim Dotcom. Now the newly-crowned Internet Party leader is pushing hard for a pact with Labour over Internet Mana's sole electorate.

Ms Harre and Mr Harawira have both been on RNZ calling on Labour to make a “strategic decision” about Te Tai Tokerau  — unsubtle code for high-polling Labour candidate Kelvin Davis to stand aside.

Asked whether Labour should throw the Northland seat, Mr Harre said,  "I would be very surprised if Labour wasn't thinking very carefully about the strategic opportunity that this alliance provides, and the opportunity it provides to ensure that Internet Party supporters, who are growing in number, are able to cast a valid vote against the current government."

And Labour leader David Cunliffe will be “absolutely” open to such a deal to ensure Mana leader Hone Harawira holds the Maori seat, political commentator Bryce Edwards says.

A pragmatic Mr Cunliffe is looking for the best options for defeating National, and “Labour’s got a head of staff (Matt McCarten) who’s incredibly strategic but also sympathetic to Mana and Laila Harre,” the Otago University lecturer and Politics Daily commentator tells NBR.

McCarten and Harre were close when both worked for The Alliance. Their  connection underlines that Internet Party CEO and recruiter Vikram Kumar made a savvy pick with the ex-Alliance MP.

The Internet Mana Party’s success hinges on Mr Harawira holding Te Tai Tokerau, which would allow other IMP MPs to come in on his coat-tails even if the party gets under 5% of the vote, thereby expanding the overall left wing presence in Parliament.

A TVNZ poll in October found Labour challenger Kelvin Davis with a slim lead.

Mr Davis has challenged Mr Harawira three times in Te Tai Tokerau: in 2008, and twice in 2011 (at the byelection after Mr Harawira defected from the Maori Party, and the general election).

Each time, the former school principal has trimmed Mr Harawira’s lead. At the last election, the Mana leader squeaked in by just over 1000 votes (Mr Davis is currently in Parliament by dint of being first-drop on Labour's list. He replaced Shane Jones after his resignation).

This morning, Mr Davis called the Internet Party a “scam to get votes” and “selfish” and said it had a “whakapapa that’s about 10 minutes long” in Te Tai Tokerau.

The Labour Party had been formed by strong men on the West Coast, he said. He had played rugby until he was 40, and had never gone onto the field with the aim of coming second.

But while Mr Davis is 100% committed to fighting hard in the electorate, and pouring scorn on IMP, Dr Edwards says “Labour will be seriously considering their options.”

“If it will ultimately help to form a Labour-led government, the party is very likely to make  a strategic decision to kneecap Kelvin Davis, or pull back on campaigning in Te Tai Tokerau … it will be extraordinary if Labour fights hard.”

It will be a pragmatic decision, Dr Edwards says. Mr Cunliffe cares more about winning the general election than Calvin Davis’s feelings.

“The worst case scenario [for Labour] would be for Internet Mana to get 3 or 4% of the vote but lose its electorate seat,” Dr Edwards says.

“That would be a spectacular own-goal for Labour,” given the 3 or 4% would effectively be a wasted vote for the left.

“It would be electoral suicide for Kelvin Davis to win that seat,” Dr Edwards says.

But couldn’t Labour face a back-lash from middle New Zealand if it’s seen to be doing a deal with the maverick Hone Harawira and accused-pirate Kim Dotcom.

“That’s the huge danger,” Dr Edwards says.

“Cunliffe will be stepping very carefully, but he will be trying to find a way to ensure Te Tai Tokerau will be safe for the Internet Party while not feeding the growing cycnicism about so-called MMP dirty deals.”

Deals upon deals
Dr Edwards notes that Labour already has big MMP strategic decision on its hands, whether to effectively withdraw in Wairiki, too — the electorate held by Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

"That's probably more critical. That decision could wipe out the Maori Party."

LATEST — Cunliffe: no pre-election deals

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Comments and questions

Kelvin Davis about to get thrown under the bus by his leader. Should be angry as hell.

So true. Unfortunate one of parliaments better reps.
Let the Internet Mana lollie scramble begin, wiping student loans first hey what's that? Only 4 or 5 billion eh..

Wake up.
The current method of tertiary education could refined to using the Internet for home study. Get rid of all the cost of facilities around the countryside with one major building housing the one University.

This is the problem with National supporters, they live in the old world.

Not everyone welcomes Marxist decrees - and most will want to study in the city of their choosing.

...and before attempting to sledge National supporters, you really should ensure adequate ventilation when using solvents in enclosed spaces.

Hes been their three times before so wont be any different. Labour puppet.

Time for the cup of tea that could kill a National Government.

An alliance of Illiberal Regressives such as these oleaginous quislings would then have time for the cup of hemlock that could kill New Zealand.

We do not need Harawira anywhere near any entry door to the Beehive!!!! the man is nothing but unwanted trouble!! to run our country.

Kelvin Davis should stick with his view and if he starts to get seriously "strong armed" then he should walk and go independent. He would walk in with the voters up North.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave: When first we practice to deceive!

David Cunliffe is all about mana and principles. He will never do a dirty deal like this. So move on.

Cunliffe is as slippery as a bag of jellied eels marinaded in KY.

Cunliffe has principles? Mana? Excuse me? He has none. He is only interested in himself. Period.

Must be taking the p... surely?

Happy days!!!!!

Well it will be interesting next time labour tries to climb into Judith Collins again for corruption, at least she has marital vows to back up her so called conflict of interest - these guys and guyesses are wallowing in it like pigs in mud. She will be rolling around on the floor laughing.

Starting with the leader of the labour party being primarily voted in by a a lobby group and now prepared to kill off the chances of one of his own people to aid a German who is fighting extradition charges and is spreading his money around trying to buy favours left and right alike

Then trying to pass off a unionist with basic internet skills to a bunch of young internet gurus; then a Maori trying to use his tribal affiliate backing to win favours with whoever is willing to pay for the favour.

So far with a single policy - like last time - last election it was no asset sales, this time it is no National - heaven knows what they would do if they won - mind you I am counting on it - always lots of money to make when Labour starts chucking it around.

National (no angel) is starting to look like the responsible party as if any political party could of course. But the Pot calling the kettle black cliche is out there in spades.

Oh what a lovely war - sorry election - this is going to be so exciting to actually see what the voters do. Notice last election the voters make quite sure not to allow any piggy back seats under the 5% what might they do this time. I would not be surprised if the Mana party ceases to exist after this election.

Kelvin Davis is looking pretty good at this stage - seems a decent guy which is rare.

That's a cute comparison : using ministerial office for personal enrichment is apparently better than taking a rich eccentric's money to kickstart a political party?

If National gave back all the money they got from rich donors and corporations... in return for unprovable but very real favours and advantages... the political landscape would be quite different.

So true.

The beauty about the internet age is that it makes alot more information available to the general public.

Governments dont like it, because they have to be way more transparent. They use to be able to hide the truth for long periods, but not anymore.

Power to the people.

Guess he's about to find out what it's like to be Paul Goldsmith.

Speaking of which, how's Act polling in Epsom in these days?

Who's the next one on the IMP radar? Willy Jackson for Ohairu?

Quick... everyone... take out a student loan!

If Internet/Mana even look like being part of a Coalition from hell capital will flow out of markets interest rates and inflation will soar. Markets don't like uncertainly and they definitely don't like LEFTIE nutwing pollies ruling the economy.

Expect interest rates and inflation in high teens plus maybe 20%.

Actually this is all a masterful economic policy by Cunliffe and crew: The collective 'Labour plus whoever wants to join them because they actually have no firm beliefs of political morals except looking after themselves' rabble form the next government, pretty much screw the country in terms of anyone who believes in excellence and wants to take self-responsibility for the success of themselves and their family, so lots of successful and hungry people leave the country, and there's your net migration and housing crisis solved!!! Is that actually brilliant or what?? Masterful!

Kelvin should team up with Brendan Horan, they would make a formidable pairing: intellect, ethics, selflessness, and tireless work ethic would never be in short supply.

Stand up, boys, the country needs you.

Kelvin Davis should join National and win the seat !

This is far from being a "Marriage of convenience" - it's more like an Omni-cluster orgi of self-interest.

...and all the socialists are rabid capitalists at heart - at the first sniff of coin...

I wonder if Cunliffe could assure us it was not Dotcom who was the mystery funder of his leadership campaign. I suspect he couldn't.

Being from the right, at least Kelvin has an open mind and ethics which is what is required to bet the Hori up north who can be best described as a loud mouthed gutter rat with no principals. Kelvin all the best for the position of labour leader.

It would actually be good to have some folk in parliament standing up for independence from the USA.

It's been such a shame to see how the govt has kowtowed at every turn.

And what's wrong with land of the free where every immigrant prefers to go.

All the poor National followers are crying in their soup.
You don't like it when the tables are turned.
Some of the rubbish written here by you lot is sour grapes and shows you for what you are selfish conservatives interested only in the status quo and the welfare of the 1%.
Well done Hone and Laila. Shows your innovative spirit.
Lets hope Cunnliffe sees sense and puts Davis on the Party list. No big deal.

Love it! Go IMP. You've got my vote and I'll be campaigning hard for you.

Cunliffe was very stupid to let Shane Jones go.

If hes smart, he'll put Kelvin Davis high enough on the list to get a seat in parliament, then tell him not to campaign to hard in his electorate.

I'm sure the Key government will be onto this, but its not as if they havent abused the system themselves.

Watch this space. Maurice Williamson will resign from Parliament, and be given a plum government job, so that it frees up his seat for the Conservatives.

Dont you love MMP!!

"Cunliffe was very stupid to let Shane Jones go."

Cunliffe had about as much say in that as he does with charming the ABC faction.

Lets be real, Leaders and major backer of Internet Mana are self centered egotistical clowns. Hone is all money now, Lila who used to stand by the poor, now states she has nothing against the finer things in and lots of it.
Dotcom will **** on them both if he can't get his way.

So far he has done this to everyone else.

Votes will be wasted on a German narcissistic megalomaniac dream of taking power.