Davis increases majority in Te Tai Tokerau recount

UPDATED 4PMThe Te Tai Tokerau recount result is in, with Labour candidate Kelvin Davis increasing his election night majority by four for a final tally of 9712, thanks to Mana leader and previous incumbent Hone Harawira losing two votes to settle on 8971. 

Meanwhile, The Maori Party’s Te Hira Paenga got a 14 vote bump to 2579 and independent candidate Clinton Dearlove’s vote increased by three for a total of 454. (see the judgment attached)

“Yeah, well, hopefully that’s the end of it," Mr Davis says, "and he’s not going to go to some other mechanism, which I think would be an extreme waste of time, effort and money for everybody.

“But it’s good that it’s been confirmed and I just have to get out there and do the work now.”

Mr Davis campaigned in the electorate on four priorities: the elimination of sexual and domestic violence, education, economic development and te reo Maori.

“I’ve set some targets and goals for what I want to achieve over the next three years that I can tick off, so I can be assured within myself that I’ve actually been effective as an MP,” he says.

Asked about the Labour leadership contest, Mr Davis says “it hasn’t really been taking up much of my headspace”.

“I’m just going to wait for whoever puts their hand up to put their hand up and then give each of them a fair hearing – I’m not going to predetermine anything – and when I’ve heard what they’ve got to say, I’ll make a decision as to who I’m going to vote for.”

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EARLIER: After requesting the recount, Mr Harawira said one of his motives for doing so was what he described as discrimination against Maori voters in the electorate.

Yesterday on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report, Mr Harawira rattled off a list of grievances: "Opening polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, I'm talking about people not being offered assistance to vote, Maori people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away because they didn't have their EasyVote card, Maori people having their identity questioned because of their different name, Maori people being treated like they just don't deserve to be in the polling booth.”

The allegations prompted some to wonder how – assuming he was right – that alleged racism would benefit any one party in an electorate where all the candidates were Maori.

On Tuesday Mr Harawira told TVNZ’s Marae programme he hadn’t conceded defeat in Te Tai Tokerau in order to have continued access to his parliamentary travel perks.

"One of the good things about not conceding, for those of you in politics, is if you concede on the night all your travel benefits stop at 12 o'clock. If you don't, you get to fly round the country and go and see all your people for the next two weeks," Mr Harawira said.

However, it seems that cunning plan was all for nought, as a Parliamentary Services spokeswoman has confirmed that declaration day – when the Electoral Commission declares the result of the election after special votes are counted – is when parliamentary travel entitlements are cut off for MPs who have been defeated.

The spokeswoman also confirmed that a defeated MP’s parliamentary entitlements are not extended by a recount process.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission expects the price tag for the recount itself to come to around $30,000 in staff and administration costs.

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