Voters’ two ticks determine tight race
North Shore voters on the Maori roll will cast their ballots in one of the most interesting electorate races in this year’s election.
Candidates in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate - which spans from Cape Reinga down to the North Shore - include Kelvin Davis, the incumbent MP and new Labour deputy leader, and Hone Harawira, the leader and only standing member of the Mana party.
Godfrey Rudolf, the Green Party’s first candidate to stand in the electorate, rounds out the pool of contestants.
Harawira marginally lost the 2014 election to Davis, ousted from the seat he had held since 2005.
But with Davis now assured a spot in Parliament, after his ascension to Labour deputy leader made him second on the party’s list, the race for the electorate seat is opening up as voters contemplate their candidate and party vote ticks.
A major factor in the outcome is the absence of a Maori Party candidate.
The party has stood for the seat in every election since its inception in 2004, with Harawira standing and winning as a Maori Party candidate in 2005 and 2008 before forming his own party.
Te Hira Paenga stood for the Maori Party in the last election, taking 2579 candidate votes, but with the party not offering a candidate in the current electoral race, the way those votes will split will effectively determine the seat’s winner.
In 2014, Davis captured 9712 of the valid votes for about 44.7 per cent overall. He won by a margin of 743 votes, with Harawira taking 8969 for a 41.3 per cent share.
In party votes, Labour had a clear mandate in 2014, with 8034 ballots worth of support.
Second in favour was the Internet Mana party - Harawira’s shortlived collaboration with Kim Dotcom - with 4246 votes overall.
The Maori Party ended third in the race, with 2300 votes.
North Shore voters were responsible for a quarter of the votes cast in the electorate in 2014.
Out of the 23,901 ballot papers submitted, 6004 of those came from the four North Shore electorates.
As of 31 July, about 34,000 people were enrolled in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate.
That included the 603 people on the Maori roll in the East Coast Bays area, 924 in the North Shore electorate, 1850 in the Northcote electorate and 2345 in the Upper Harbour area.
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