Kelvin blames Government not criminals – again!

December 16th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A convicted armed robber who has been deported from Christmas Island to Invercargill feels like a foreigner in his home town.

Andre Bishop, 28, who arrived back in Invercargill on November 4, hadn’t been to the city since 1997, when he moved to Brisbane as a nine-year-old.

“A few buildings looked familiar [in Invercargill] when I came back, but that was about it,” Bishop said.

“I feel like I’m in a foreign country. I was born here but it’s the same feeling as if I’ve been dropped off in China or England or somewhere.”

He amassed a criminal history “about seven or eight pages long” and including convictions for armed robbery, extortion and assaulting police before being deported.

Does anyone except Labour think it is unreasonable of Australia to deport someone with eight pages of criminal offending?

He committed his first robbery at the age of 14.

Bishop considers himself an Australian and has already lodged an appeal against his deportation.

Good luck with that. Those with one or two convictions may (and have) win appeals, but 14 years of criminal offending is unlikely to.

He felt let down by Australia’s new immigration laws, but he “wasn’t going to sit around in a detention centre for two years waiting for an answer” and elected to return to Invercargill where he had family, turning down the chance to go to Whanganui and live with his uncle because he feared he would end up joining a gang.

I’d say Australians feel let down by him. Good to see he is trying to avoid a gang though.

“I was living a lifestyle on the Gold Coast where I was robbing pubs and paying $250 a night for high-rise apartments for weeks on end.

Oh dear, and with an attitude like that where he sees that as a good lifestyle, no wonder he struggles to get a job.

Prime Minister John Key’s office declined to comment, stating it was a matter for Corrections and that the prime minister could not comment on specific cases.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said it was “absolutely ridiculous” the Prime Minister’s office did not want to comment on a problem they helped create.

Really Kelvin, how did the PM or his office create this problem? Did they force Mr Bishop into bank robberies in Australia? Do you think in the same situation, NZ should not deport someone who has 14 years of criminal offending?

If Labour MPs are going to get so offended over being labeled as defending killers and rapists (which has been apologised for), then maybe Labour MPs should not try and paint the Prime Minister as responsible for a recidivist bank robber.

“If they don’t get the social support, they’re left to sometimes resort to crime. It’s just shocking the prime minister’s Government has created this problem by not offering the social support and negotiating with the Australian Government.”

Here Davis blames society, instead of the criminal. In case he missed it, Bishop had all the social support in Australia – a family, school, job opportunities. Yet he did 14 years of criminal offending.  Yet in Davis’ world this is not his fault, but the lack of social support.

And he should stop lying about the Government not negotiating. The Government has – and in fact those negotiations are what allowed people like Bishop to file appeals from NZ rather than stay on Christmas Island – the exact thing Labour demanded an end to.

Corrections northern region operations director Lynette Cave said it assisted Christmas Island deportees just like other offenders.

“Corrections provides support to returning offenders in the same way it supports any other offender with re-integrative needs,” she said.

“Corrections contracts with Pars (formerly known as the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society) to provide services to returning offenders.”

Now known as People At Risk Solutions, Pars was given $100,000 by Corrections in October to assist offenders with re-integration into society.

Davis is the one who insisted these offenders be released from Christmas Island. If he is looking for blame, he could start with himself.

Prisoners do lie

October 2nd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Another Serco-run private prison is under fire after prisoner allegations that serious assaults are going unreported.

Labour’s Kelvin Davis told Radio NZ that an inmate at the Auckland South Corrections Facility at Wiri alleged prisoners were being locked down for long periods of the day and serious unreported beatings were happening in the prison.

Prisoners make lots of allegations, including that they are all innocent.

At Mt Eden some of the allegations have been proven false, while some have been substantiated, and there is an independent investigation into these.

But this does not mean allegations from a single prisoner at another prison are credible, especially when they appear to be contradicted by the evidence.

Davis told Radio NZ Wiri was well on its way to becoming like Mt Eden, which the Corrections Departments took over the running of when evidence of fight clubs and contraband were revealed.

Complaints about Wiri were detailed in an email to Davis sent from an inmate’s wife.

“He’s very concerned – he’s said there’s already serious beatings happening – and he doesn’t believe they’re all being reported.

“There are also units being locked down for 23 hours a day, there is no staff on the floor so you can never find anyone and no-one is ever observing what the inmates are doing,” Davis said.

Would be very easy to check if they are locked down for 23 hours a day. Has he checked, or just gone with the allegation?

However McNairn said all prisoners at Wiri are in work, education or training and “the majority spend busy purposeful days in vocational training, work or attending courses, as well as family and legal visits, sporting and cultural activities”.

In-cell technology means that prisoners can continue to learn even when they are locked up, he said.

Some MPs visited Wiri prison a few weeks ago and on the surface everything looked fine, Davis said.

“But we don’t know what happened once the gates were closed behind us.

So Davis himself has been there and saw nothing to back the allegation.

Prisoners have telephones in their cells and can use them to raise any concerns including contacting the Inspectorate and the Ombudsman to lay complaints via an 0800 number.

Wiri is also subject to “daily scrutiny from four experienced Department of Corrections staff working as prison monitors and a relationship manager, as well as independent oversight,” McNairn said.

I think the Corrections staff would have noticed 23 hour lockdowns.

Gower on Labour and charter schools

September 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Patrick Gower writes:

The next time you hear Labour hate on charter schools, don’t believe them.

Because the truth is a wedge of Labour actually thinks charter schools are all good. And this group is led by none other than its associate education spokesman Kelvin Davis.

The attendance of Davis and fellow MP Peeni Henare at a fundraiser for a Whangarei charter school is about much more than them defying the orders of Andrew Little.

It shows a major policy divide within Labour.

One side, led by education spokesman Chris Hipkins and the teacher unions have a pathological hatred for the privately run schools.

The other side, led by Davis, see that the schools can work particularly in Maori education.

Davis is not captured by the unions.

Charter schools are hated by the teacher unions because they are privately run and don’t have to use registered teachers or conform to the rules like other schools.

But this kind of independent schooling is not new to Maori – Kura Kaupapa schools have been a different model with different outcomes.

If you view charter schools with a Maori focus as an extension of this then it is not so controversial.



It is no surprise that the most progressive iwi, Ngai Tahu, is looking at setting up a charter school. So is Tuhoe, the most independent iwi.

Instead of listening to the unions, it seems Davis is listening to his people when it comes to charter schools.

And don’t forget that Davis is a former Northland principal with a deep understanding of the educational issues out there.

If Little was ballsy, he’d make Davis the Education Spokesperson.

Kelvin puts kids ahead of his leader

September 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s associate education spokesman, Kelvin Davis, has attended a charter school fundraiser – despite his party being bitterly opposed to the controversial schooling model.

The $250-a-seat fundraiser was for a school run by the He Puna Marama Trust in Whangarei.

Charter or “partnership” schools are publicly-funded but privately-run, and are strongly opposed by education unions.

Labour has pledged to scrap charter schools and its education spokesman Chris Hipkins has frequently attacked the model during Parliamentary question time.

Despite this, Mr Davis, the party’s associate education (Maori education) spokesman, attended the fundraiser with fellow Labour MP Peeni Henare.

That was despite leader Andrew Little asking them not to.

Good on them. They know that some charter schools are making a real difference with Maori kids who have been failing in the public school system. They decided to stand by their constituents, rather than their party.

He Puna Marama is considered by government as a successful example of the charter school model, used most recently by the Productivity Commission as a case study of why New Zealand should privatise social services.

It gained favourable NCEA marks last year, with at least 85 per cent of students achieving across all NCEA levels.

Yet Labour wants it closed down.

However, the trust has drawn criticism from the Labour Party and teachers’ unions, who say its schools are funded at a higher rate than state schools, which is unfair.


False. They get the same or less funding of a state school of the same size, decile and age.

Hone’s recount increases Kelvin’s majority

October 9th, 2014 at 2:16 pm by David Farrar

The recount results are out and Kelvin’s majority has increased by four votes to 743. What a waste of time and money.

This now means the writs can be returned and MPs officially declared elected.

Vote Bishop to save Davis!

September 18th, 2014 at 12:46 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs:

I voted today at the VUW advanced voting booth. I voted for the Greens and (strategically!) cast my electorate vote for the Labour candidate in Ohariu. But as I contemplated the ballot boxes for the other Wellington electorates I reflected that if left-wing Hutt South voters cast their electorate vote for the National candidate and Trevor Mallard loses Hutt South, then Labour will get a  list MP who will – probably – actually give a shit about the Labour Party. Vote out Mallard and you might save, say, Jacinda Ardern. AND in three years time you’ll get a new Labour electorate MP you can vote for who also, hopefully, will give a shit about their own party.  So that’s a strategic vote worth considering.

Ardern is at no real risk of not coming in on the list, but Kelvin Davis is on the cusp on current polls. He’s part of the future of Labour.

If Labour voters in Hutt South vote for Chris Bishop, then they help Kelvin Davis stay in Parliament. And this is what Trevor wants, by his own words:

Even Trevor says Labour needs Kelvin Davis in Parliament. So if you’re a Labour voter in Hutt South, vote for Chris Bishop to keep Kelvin Davis in Parliament.

Peters says he would vote for Kelvin Davis

September 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Winston Peters will spend Thursday campaigning in Northland, and while he will not be endorsing Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau, he isn’t far away from it. Peters yesterday rejected the idea of endorsing the Labour candidate, even though NZ First doesn’t stand in the Maori seats and his belief that Davis is a ‘‘fine man’’ who any party, and Maoridom in general, should be proud of. He said if he was on the Maori roll in the seat he would vote for Davis. But he wasn’t endorsing him, he said.

Hone has sold his party out to Kim Dotcom. It would be delicious if he lost his seat for doing so.

Glad to help

August 6th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis says he will donate money given to his campaign by National-aligned bloggers to Rape Crisis.

National’s pollster David Farrar and Whaleoil blogger Cam Slater both donated about $100 to Mr Davis’ campaign after a Facebook post Mr Davis wrote criticising Kim Dotcom and the deal with Internet Mana, and asking for donations.

Mr Davis said he had received the donations in his campaign account and would not return them, but nor would he use them on his electorate campaign.

“I’m going to donate it to Rape Crisis and thank them very much for their contribution to my anti-sexual violence campaign. I’m pleased people want to give so generously to the sexual and domestic violence campaign. It’s fantastic of them and it’s great that men are stepping up.”

I’m delighted I can assist a Labour MP to do something meaningful about domestic and sexual violence, as opposed to merely apologising for being a man!

Also give Kelvin credit that unlike Hone, Kelvin will be choosy over whom he takes money from 🙂

I understand Kelvin received well over $1,000 in donations from our blog readers, so we look forward to him actually putting some billboards up in Northland, from the other donations

Kelvin Davis on Dotcom and Mana

August 5th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Kelvin Davis writes on Facebook:

I was on 3 News tonight because my campaign team had a look at a proposed website designed to take down Kim Dotcom and stop him from buying the seat of Te Tai Tokerau with his $3million dollars.

We explored this concept, debated it, then along with the Labour Party hierarchy decided it wasn’t in line with our Vote Positive messages and ditched it.

It was all about Kim Dotcom.

This is the same Kim Dotcom who donated $50,000 to far-right wing disgraced politician John Banks.

This is the same Kim Dotcom who said the police turning up at his front door was as bad as the suffering Maori have endured for close to two centuries.

This is the same Kim Dotcom had nothing to do with Maori until he found a way to take advantage of some to try to keep himself out of an American jail.

This is the same Kim Dotcom who’s garage is bigger and flasher than 99% of homes in Te Tai Tokerau, and still cries ‘poor me’.

This is the same Kim Dotcom, who if he really cared about the people of Te Tai Tokerau, would have got out with all the Labour volunteers after the floods and storms and distributed food packages to those who needed them instead of staying tucked up in the mansion.

This is the same Kim Dotcom who turned up to hui up north in a limousine while kaumatua and kuia rode in a rattly bus.

This is the same Kim Dotcom whose interference in Te Tai Tokerau politics was described as a disgrace to over 300 people at the Ngati Hine hearings in Pipiwai yesterday.

I make no apologies about looking at a website that asked the public to donate $5, $10 or whatever they wish to koha, to bring down a fake.

I’m just an ordinary Maori living up north trying to stop the biggest con in New Zealand’s political history from being pulled against my whanau, my hapu, my iwi.

I make no apologies if there’s another Maori politician in the north feeling pretty sensitive about all the criticism he’s copping from hapu throughout Te Tai Tokerau because of the con job.

I’m prepared to cop the criticism from him because it’s just the price a person pays when he stands up for his people and his principles.

Great to see Kelvin call it as it is. Hone’s sell out to Dotcom is a turn off for many voters, and if Davis aggressively targets Hone, I have no doubt he can win the seat.

But Labour Head Office told Davis he can’t attack Dotcom, because they may need his pet party to form a Government.

Interesting that Kelvin’s Facebook post has been liked by Chris Hipkins,

Labour won’t allow Kelvin to run a website to fundraise for his campaign against the guy who has spent $4 million trying to get an election outcome to stop his extradition. But he has facebooked his campaign account for those who want to try and balance the fight a bit. Hone has Dotcom’s $4 million behind him. Kelvin only has his supporters. If you think Kelvin Davis will be a better MP for Te Tai Tokerau than Hone Harawira (and I do, regardless of the Dotcom issue) then you can donate to:


Account name: NZLP TTT Campaign Acc.

Every $10 or $20 can help.

Garner on Labour MPs breaking ranks

July 16th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes:

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Labour MPs call it the holiday highway; David Cunliffe has campaigned against it. Labour, until yesterday, was going to can the project upon taking office. Who knows where they stand now!

Labour appear to have now done a u-turn on it, saying their policy now is only to delay it not cancel it. I guess it took the floods for them to realise that campaigning against better roads into Northland isn’t too popular there.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

Who can blame them?

We may see more of this.

Kelvin Davis backs the highway his party wants to scrap

July 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Labour MP Kelvin Davis said:

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent Northland storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent Northland storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

“The bad weather has amplified how susceptible the North really is at times like this.

“Our roading infrastructure is a major source of concern. This weather event has shown that when the main road in and out of the north fails, the side roads are just not able to cope as detour routes.

Kelvin then went on Radio Live and said three things of interest.

  • That both Labour and National had not invested enough on infrastructure in Northland
  • That he was unaware of the announcement by the Government two weeks ago to invest in improvements for two local roads in Northland
  • That he supports the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway, which Labour have vowed to scrap. He calls it a lifeline, and says everyone up here supports it

Gerry Brownlee points out:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour list MP Kelvin Davis’s call today for the Government to “step up” and invest in Northland roading following this week’s damaging storms shows what a conflict-ridden shambles Labour is just 68 days out from the general election.

“Up to $1.66 billion worth of Government funding is currently committed to Northland roading projects, and the vast majority of it would be cut by a Labour-led government,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Only two weeks ago the Government announced up to $33.5 million worth of extra investment in upgrading two roading projects Northland councils told us were urgent – one of them on the very stretch of State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa which has been washed out by this week’s storm.

“National identified years ago that Northland’s roading infrastructure was vulnerable through underinvestment and has committed over $1.38 billion as part of the Roads of National Significance programme, and $255 million in the most recent National Land Transport Plan.

“We know that if Labour is in a position to form a Government later this year it would axe the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance and re-direct the funding to an immediate start on Auckland’s City Rail Loop, a project the Government has already committed to co-funding the construction of from 2020.

“You don’t have to convince the Government that Northland needs better roading, Mr Davis, convincing your caucus colleagues and the Green Party will be a much tougher task,” Mr Brownlee says.

There is a pattern emerging here of local provincial Labour MPs disagreeing with Labour on regional development. O’Connor and Tirikatene both voted against Labour on West Coast logging, and now Davis is saying his party is wrong on the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway. He even calls it a lifeline that everyone in Northland supports.

What this points to is a party totally out of touch with regional New Zealand. Urban liberals in Auckland who hate logging and roading, set the policy for the regions.

Incidentally who is the Regional Development Spokesperson for Labour? I’ll leave it to you to look it up.

Davis’ priorities

April 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Kelvin Davis will become an MP again, once Shane Jones resigns. Not certain how long he will be an MP for as Labour’s gender quotas means 47% of their caucus at least must be female.  So the top few spots on the party list must go to women.

However hopefully Davis will (this time) be given a winnable list place as he seems one of the better Labour MPs. He has written on Facebook what his four priorities are:

Priority 1: no surprises, improving Maori educational achievement, and more importantly, improving Maori achievements through education. I’ll argue to my dying breath that education is the road to Maori success.

I agree. I look forward to some education policy from Labour that is more than just promising to abolish national standards and charter schools – policies both designed to help under-performing students.  Where does Kelvin stand on National’s pledge to pay the best teachers and principals up to $50,000 more in return for them sharing their assisting other teachers? Is Labour going to abolish this also?

Priority 2: Regional Development for Te Tai Tokerau. We’ve got plans and strategies coming out our ears in TTT, but unless a Govt stumps up with some serious dough to implement these plans we’re wasting our time. Even a quarter of 1 percent of the money going into the Christchurch rebuild would go a long way to rebuilding the Tai Tokerau economy. Te Tai Tokerau has endured it’s own tragedy, but it happened over 40 years not 40 seconds. The effects on our people have been equally devastating in the long run. 

Shane Jones was a big supporter of mining for Northland, yet opposed by many in his own party. Where does Davis stand on mining in Northland? Also does he support the mandate for the Ngapuhi settlement, which could deliver hundreds of millions to the region?

Priority 3: Te Reo Maori, it’s in a sad state and one of the reasons is that it has been rendered down in most communities to a ceremonial language that had little relevance to most peoples everyday lives. We need to make Te Reo a transactional language so that if i wish I can walk into any business, bank, supermarket, service station or pub and conduct my business in Te Reo if I choose. It is a right English speakers enjoy without having to think about it. Those who wish to conduct daily transactions in Te Reo do not enjoy this right. There are a number of simple and relatively inexpensive practical activities that can happen to get people speaking Te Reo in the community. A lot of dosh is being spent on initiatives that have questionable impacts on improving Te Reo. They need to be reprioritised.

I’m glad he’s not asking for more money – just a reprioritisation. I’d encourage him to be specific.

The Government currently spends $77 million a year on the promotion of Maori language and culture. Where would he cut money from, and what would he spend it on?

Priority 4: Stopping sexual, physical and emotional abuse of women and children, and yes to men as well.

I was outraged with the Roastbusters scandal and the well publicized sexual abuse/ pedophile cases in Kaitaia over the last few years. 

I sat back and waited for a male MP especially any male MAORI MP to make a stand and say something along the lines of “What the bloody hell is going on that men can treat women and children like this?” I was waiting for a male MP to take a stand and tell all of us men that this abuse is (predominantly) a male problem, and that we need to sort our shit out ourselves. We need to have serious conversations with our sons, grandsons and nephews about how a real man treats a woman. But i bet this is just too hard for most males.  …

So I determined if no other male MP was prepared to stand up and start lecturing men on how we need to treat and love our women and children, and if I was ever in the position again to pick up that mantle, I will.

Some months ago I approached some people who work in this field and told them if i ever get back into parliament, tell me what I need to do to support them. I’ll give them a call soon.

So men, I don’t give a rats arse if I’m accused of not being a REAL bloke, I’ll still be a sports and rugby fanatic, get on the piss, keep up my fishing, shooting and getting lost up in the bush – but i love my wife, daughters, mother, sister, nieces,cousins, friends and colleagues too much to ignore sexual, physical and emotional abuse any longer.

Very supportive of Davis showing some leadership on this.

I support all of the four goals he has outlined (well not sure I agree you need Maori as a transactional language, but agree getting little return for the amount spent), but they key is coming up with specific policies and initiatives to achieve them. Hopefully he will detail these in weeks to come.

Kelvin Davis on Education

June 26th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Former Labour MP and principal Kelvin Davis blogs at Maui Street:

When the government says that national standards, charter schools, league tables, performance pay, quality vs quantity of teachers will all raise achievement, they might be right.

That’s because there are very few strategies that teachers (or governments) can implement that actually make students dumber. Teachers can rightly put their hands on their hearts and swear that what they do in class lifts achievement. Just about everything has some positive effect, but some have a large positive effect while others barely register. It would make sense to develop policy based on those strategies that have the greatest positive effect.

The much quoted Professor John Hattie’s research lists, from most effective to least ffective, 138 different ‘things’ that may be implemented in education, and all but five have a positive effect on learning. The five strategies with a negative effect are: Summer vacation (-0.09), Welfare Policies (-0.12) Retention (Holding kids back a year, -0.16), Television (-0.18) and Mobility (-0.34). So unless we prescribe longer Christmas holidays, keep kids back a year or two, or force students to watch an extra 8 hours of TV a day, almost everything else will have SOME positive effect on learning.

That’s quite interesting. I wasn’t aware of that.

Any ‘strategy’ with an effect size of 0.40 or less is practically pointless. Which makes sense. 

In Hattie’s list the strategy with an effect size of 0.40 (Reducing Anxiety) is exactly halfway through the list of possible strategies. Hattie is saying if any particular strategy is to be used it should at least be in the top 50% of strategies.

Also interesting, and I agree you want to focus on those most effective. In fact that was what the Budget announcement was meant to be about.

Charter Schools have an effect size of 0.20, or the 107th out of the 133 strategies that have some positive effect. Charter Schools are therefore an extremely pointless and expensive strategy. 

That’s a fair point the charter schools are not deemed significantly effective. But charter schools are being trialled only. They are not the major focus for the Government. They are something agreed to with ACT, and their future will depend on the outcomes. Davis certainly makes a valid point that charter schools should not be the major focus in education. I agree. But that is not to say I don’t think they should be trialled.

What does the research say about League Tables and Performance Pay? 

Nothing. They don’t rate or feature in any way in Hattie’s research. 

What then is the basis for League Tables and Performance Pay if there is no research evidence to show these two ‘things’ will make a difference? How does the government know these two ‘strategies’ won’t have to be included alongside the five already proven to make students dumber?

Here though Davis is not comparing apples and oranges. As far as I know no one in Government is saying league tables are being done to lift achievement. The reality is that assessment data of schools is public information, and league tables will be done by the media regardless of what the Government does. The issue for the Government is simply given the reality of the media and others doing their own league tables, is there merit in the Government setting up some sort of database or tables of its own which will give more meaningful tables and comparisons than what the media may compile. The Government could do nothing at all, but you will still have league tables – media ones. Unless Davis still subscribes to Labour’s line that school data should be classified as top secret and not made available to the public.

As for performance pay, I presume that is not assessed by Hattie as it is an input. Hattie has found improving teacher quality is the most important factor. Performance pay might help improve teacher quality. As far as I know the Government has not said it is going to implement performance pay. It has said it is one option it is looking at.

I’d be interested in hearing Kelvin’s view on whether he agrees with Hattie that teacher quality or their ability to connect with students is the most important factor, and what measures would he advocate to support and retain the best teachers, improve the performance of the average teachers and get rid of the bad teachers. As a former principal he would have first hand experience, and now he is no longer an MP he doesn’t have to follow the party line.

Davis endorses Shane Jones to be next Labour Leader

November 8th, 2011 at 2:59 pm by David Farrar

Whale reports:

Labour are just lacking even the most basic discipline. Every MP should know that you never offer an opinion as to whom the next leader should be, let alone doing it 18 days before the general election.

And this wasn’t even an oral interview, but one where Kelvin would have typed out his answer.

Someone should have asked a follow-up of whether the vote will be in December or in February.

If Kelvin wins

June 16th, 2011 at 11:46 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young at the NZ Herald reports:

A win in Te Tai Tokerau byelection by Labour list MP Kelvin Davis could free up a spot on Labour’s list but ex-MP Judith Tizard, who is next in line, is not likely to take it.

In fact, under the electoral law, Labour would have the choice between getting a new list MP or not.

If Mr Davis won the constituency seat, he could resign from the list and create another list vacancy.

This would allow Labour – which got 43 MPs elected in 2008 but has since lost Chris Carter – to return to having 43.

But Mr Davis would not be required to resign, as chief electoral officer Robert Peden told the Herald.

“There is no statutory obligation on a list member who wins a byelection to resign his or her list seat. However, by not resigning their list seat, the list member would be preventing their parliamentary party from benefiting from the byelection win through gaining an additional member in the House from the party’s list,” he said.

This confirms a point that Graeme Edgeler has often made – that a List MP does not have to resign as a List MP, if they win a by-election and become a constituency MP. They would not however get two votes in the House.

The person next in line after those five is veteran Labour candidate and former MP Lesley Soper, who is contesting the Invercargill seat.

She is not on Labour’s list and party sources have suggested she would not be inclined to take up a list seat and disrupt her campaigning in Invercargill.

Ha ha ha. Soper is hated by many in caucus as she is pro-life. They’d rather have Tizard back than Soper.

Statements by the Labour leadership suggest the party is leaning towards having no new list MP in the event of Mr Davis winning the constituency.

Deputy Labour leader Annette King said on Tuesday the party was seeking advice on the matter.

There are two ways they can do this. One is to have Kelvin not resign his list seat. The other is to have the House by 75% majority resolve not to fill a list vacancy as within six months of the general election.

Only Kelvin can win

May 27th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard blogs:

It has become clear over the last couple of weeks that only Kelvin Davis can beat Hone Harawira. The Maori Party want him out of parliament even more than we do. That might explain their choice of a low profile candidate yesterday. As the Herald said :-

…. old party launched Solomon Tipene’s bid to win the Te Tai Tokerau byelection.

The great-grandfather was the surprise pick for the Maori Party, which also interviewed lawyer Mere Mangu and actor Waihoroi Shortland, tipped by many in the north as the frontrunner.

I agree with Trevor and the Herald that the selection of Tipene is a surprise and the other two candidates were much higher profile. It may well be that the Maori Party are being tactical here.

So if you don’t want John Hart Minto to become an MP on the coat tails of Hone Harawira, you need to back Kelvin Davis to win. Even if you do not live in the electorate, you can make a donation to help Kelvin in his campaign. The details are:

Kiwibank Account  No 38 9009 0235341 01

New Zealand Labour Party – Te Tai Tokerau LEC

Just make sure you mark it as a donation in the reference field for Internet Banking, so you don’t accidentially become a Labour Party member 🙂

A rare endorsement

May 11th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Pagani on should Labour stand?

May 4th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

John Pagani looks at whether Labour should stand in the by-election. One of his reasons againgst is:

Even if Labour wins, we just get a re-run of the unhelpful list issues that followed Darren Hughes’ resignation. Kelvin Davis would have to be the candidate. He is absolutely top drawer as a candidate and MP and he will walk all over Hone. He speaks directly to Maori aspiration for better opportunity for their kids. So Mana won;t be able to attack Kelvin. Instead, opponents will run a ‘vote Kelvin get Mahara, or Dave Hereora, or even Lesley Soper’ line. They’re all nice people, but they don’t have a constituency in Te Tai Tokerau. 

There is a simple solution to this issue – not fill the list vacancy if Kelvin Davis wins the by-election. Under s136 of the Electoral Act the House by 75% majority can resolve not to fill the list vacancy as it is within six months of the election. I doubt anyone would disagree that it would be silly to bring someone in on the list for less than 20 sitting days.

Another option would be that Kelvin Davis simply doesn’t resign as a List MP. He wouldn’t get two salaries or two votes, but it would mean no list vacancy is triggered.

Balanced against all that though is a pretty big consideration: Labour would probably win, and in doing so it would knock Mana out of politics.

Labour and the Greens can’t afford to bleed a lazy one or two per cent to Mana, and both have an interest in minimising endless attacks from the tiny, but voluble, left. Taking out Mana in the by-election fixes an irritant.

Second, campaigns lift  morale and therefore increase the total contributions the party can call on. 

Managed the right way, total campaign energy is not a limited resource to be carefully apportioned between campaigns; If you do well in one hard fought campaign, then you inspire more enthusiasm. More people turn out everywhere to help. Enthusiasm is not a given, but in well-run campaigns this always happens. After all, fighting election campaigns is what political parties do. 

 So if Labour backs itself to do a good organisational job, then the campaign could be  worthwhile despite the potential cost.

Despite that, though, I think they’ll decide it’s best to stick to the main game.
Kelvin Davis is one of Labour’s future stars, and as Pagani says could do very well in the by-election. And if they don’t knock Mana out, then they face having John Minto sitting as an MP on their side of the house.

Labour’s future leadership

July 13th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

As I blogged yesterday, the chances of there being a Labour-led Government after the 2011 election is very remote. Not just because of the gap in the polls, but also because of their failure to rejuvenate, but more importantly their failure to mend bridges with the Maori Party who might hold the balance of power after the election.

So unless there is some big event such as a second recession, or a major scandal, Phil Goff is unlikely to become Prime Minister. So who will replace him, when and why?


Turning to the when, and I still maintain that Goff is safe until the election – even if Labour stay below 30%. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Lack of enthusiasm for the alternatives
  2. The shared delusion that the public will wake up to its mistake and restore them to power once they prove that John Key really is a nasty nasty man
  3. The impact of MMP, sheltering Caucus more than FPP did

The last point is quite important. Under FPP MPs got more panicked by the polls. If the polls showed they were in trouble in their seat, then they were facing the end of their political career, so they would desperately vote to change leaders to try and hold on to their seats – as Labour did in 1990.l

But under MMP, MPs can be protected on the list, so they do not fear bad polling so much. And even though the polls may show Labour losing as many as seven List MPs, the fact is no one knows which seven MPs may be toast until Labour ranks its list, and by then it is too late.

So I am quite confident that Phil Goff will remain Leader until after the 2011 election. But if they lose, I would expect he will retire from the leadership and politics within 6 – 12 months of the 2011 election.


I believe the next leader of the Labour Party will be David Cunliffe. And yes, of course I have my money where my mouth is and am backing that stock on iPredict.


It isn’t exactly a closely guarded secret that David Cunliffe isn’t the most popular MP with his colleagues. He probably isn’t the first choice for Leader of more than a handful of MPs. But he will become Leader, because he is basically everyone’s acceptable second choice.

Being the acceptable second choice can be a better position than a faction’s first choice. Similiar politics happened in the Waitakere selection – one faction was backing Twyford strongly and one faction (union) backing McCracken. Carmel Sepuloni came through the middle as the choice acceptable to all sides who could unify the electorate – either Twyford or McCracken would have left a significant minority disgruntled.

It is also worth remembering that Helen was positioning Cunliffe as a future leader, if she got a fourth term. She wanted to keep Goff out, and after Maharey retired and Mallard imploded, Cunliffe was her favoured candidate to succeed her. The 2008 loss, meant that Cunliffe did not have enough experience to be viable at that stage, so she let the leadership temporarily transfer to the man she she had worked so hard to keep away from it.

Why Not?

Cunliffe is basically the only acceptable alternative to the caucus. One can ascertain this by going through the others known to want the job.

Shane Jones – even before the hotel porn saga, Jones was not going to become leader. The women in Labour would rather slit their wrists than elect Jones, and while they are not a majority in caucus, they are a minority too powerful to ignore. Also Jones hasn’t shown the required hard work to become leader – he overly relies on his (quite considerable) natural talent. He is also too right wing economically to become Leader.

Andrew Little – Andrew has made a tactical mistake by combining the three roles of party president, union leader and aspiring MP. There is considerable resentment of this in the caucus, and he is blamed for the lacklustre fundraising to date. One Labour person commented to me that how can you expect the President one week to be getting donations from CEOs, when the next week he is delivering strike notices to them. Add onto that the resentment from List MPs that Andrew will be automatically given a high list ranking, knocking them down the order.

So Andrew will enter caucus with a degree of pre-existing hostility. While he may one day become Leader if he proves himself, he will not be given a Bob Hawke type coronation after just a year in Parliament.

Ruth Dyson – John Key would start going to church (to thank God)  if Labour elected Ruth Dyson as Leader. Nothing against Ruth’s skills, but she is a polarising figure strongly associated with the former Government.

Maryan Street – I rate Street as one of the smartest MPs, and she has the ability to be a strong Minister and maybe even Deputy Leader.  But I don’t see at all the charisma to become leader or prime minister. Maryan being elected as Leader would also see John Key, if not start attending church, at least sending his kids to Sunday School!

Grant Robertson – Grant is a very smart political operator. Too smart to try and become leader after just one term in Parliament. He has what I expect will become a fairly safe seat for him, and time is on his side. I think the bastard might even be younger than me! If Grant stood in 2012, he might do surprisingly well, but I think he knows he is better to wait his time and get more experience before he tries to ascend.

Ashraf Choudhary – just kidding 🙂

Then what?

It is dangerous to look too far ahead, but my best pick at this stage is David Cunliffe become Leader in 2012, and he contests the 2014 election.

Labour will have a challenge in replacing him as Finance Spokesperson, with a so few MPs having the necessary skills or background. To my mind, the only credible option would be David Parker. So the leadership team could be Cunliffe as Leader, Street as Deputy and Parker as Finance.

Like Goff, Cunliffe will probably be a one shot leader unless he wins the election. They call this the Mike Moore slot. He doesn’t have (at this stage anyway) the loyalty of enough MPs to keep him in the job if he loses.

If National wins the 2014 election (and no predictions this far out), then Labour will have another leadership change. I believe their post 2014 leader will be their long-term leader – like Clark they will be in the job for 10 – 15 years or so, and they will become Prime Minister.

This could see a Grant Robertson vs Andrew Little battle. That would be very interesting. I’ve been pretty impressed with David Shearer also, and wouldn’t rule him out as a contender also. Kelvin Davis has potential also – but I see him more as a future Education Minister.

Of course a John Key or Don Brash type candidate may enter Parliament for Labour in 2011, and also by 2014 become a potential leader. However the fact almost all their Caucus is standing again, makes it harder for them to parachute any stars in.

Time will tell if my predictions come true.

Tomorrow, I will blog on how I would “sell” David Cunliffe once he is Leader.

The biggest losers

July 1st, 2010 at 5:36 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports the winners of the weight loss challenge amongst Maori MPs:

  • Tau Henare – from 104 kg to 96 kg – 8 kgs
  • Mita Ririnui – from 100 kg to 92 kg – 8 kgs
  • Kelvin Davis – from 113 kg to 106 kg – 7 kgs
  • Shane Jones – from 109 kg to 103 kg – 6 kg
  • Simon Bridges – from 88 kg to 86 kg – 2 kg
  • Parekura Horomia – from 155 kg to did not report
  • Hone Harawira – from 107 kg to did not report
  • Paul Quinn – from 112 kg to did not report

Kelvin Davis on Truancy

March 18th, 2010 at 12:20 pm by David Farrar

Labour MP Kelvin Davis has said a lot of things on education, and Maori issues, I agree with. Labour will inevitably become Government again at some stage, and he looks to be potentially a better Education Minister than Maharey and Mallard were.

But I do take issue with his blog post on truancy:

So thirty thousand students a day are not at school. Sounds worrying. I guess 100% attendance is the aultimate goal.

But let’s look at that 30,000 figure. It represents 4% of the total number of students in compulsory education.

So far, so good. His maths is better than Trevor’s.

If a child is away for 4% of the school year that means they are absent an average of less than two days a term.

Now yes on average that is around two days a term, but expressed as eight days a year, and that is a lot – in fact it is around one day a month, excluding the four months of holidays.

I don’t think having a child truant one day a month is anywhere near acceptable.

But even if it was, I think with respect Kelvin misses the bigger issue. This will not be all 750,000 students equalling wagging one day a month. It is probably 50% of students never wagging, 40% wagging one day a month and 10% wagging nine days a month, or around half the year.

I don’t recall when Anne Tolley said she got the figures she’s quoting, but if it was last year we need to remember there was a swine flu scare and the Ministry of Health was asking parents to keep kids home if they had a sniffle.

When I was a Principal, teachers had to mark in the attendance register whether a student’s absence was justified or unjustified.

Justified meant the child was usually sick or at a bereavement. Unjustified meant they were truant.

I’d be interested in whether she’s done any analysis of justified vs unjustified absences. She needs to realise kids do get sick at times and some non-attendance is expected.

I think this is a red herring. Tolley’s press release clearly talks about kids being truant – not just absent.

Now the release links to the actual study, and the study is clear that the 4.2% absentee rate is for unjustified absences. The total absentee rate is in fact 11.6%.

And they even look in the study at the swine flu issue:

Therefore it is likely that the differences observed in the 2009 survey, compared to previous surveys in 2006 and 2004, are not likely to be due to the increased absence rates caused by the influenza (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu pandemic alert.

So Mr Davis really hasn’t done his homework here. He made wrong assumptions, and suggested the Minister did not know the difference between justified and unjustified.

One hundred percent attendance is desirable, but it appears Anne Tolley is trying to over-egg the situation, and my guess is she’s doing it to divert attention from her National Standards shambles.

Quite the opposite. Labour have under-egged the problem. The overall non attendance rate is in fact 11% – that means on average a kid is absent every fortnight!

I do hope Labour have a more inspiring truancy policy than saying it’s not a big issue.

Today’s MPs

January 22nd, 2009 at 1:59 pm by David Farrar

From the Herald series:

Tim Macindoe

Tim Macindoe set out to shatter any illusions that the road to Parliament was as smooth as his leader John Key had made it look.

Last year’s election was fifth time lucky for Mr Macindoe, who has been a National Party candidate in every election since MMP was introduced in 1996.

Fifth time lucky!

The former chief executive of Arts Waikato, deputy principal of St Peter’s School in Cambridge and prison tutor at Christchurch Women’s Prison said education and dealing with children at risk were among his priorities.

“I have been concerned for more than a decade that our country is in danger of losing its soul. Every tragic incident of child abuse or illegal drug sale to the young and the vulnerable or senseless violent crime that occurs in our country is an attack on our society as a whole and the values that most of us hold dear.”

Tim will no doubt be concentrating on holding the marginal Hamilton West seat. Hamilton West has been held by the Government of the Day for over 40 years, except from 1993 to 1996.

Kelvin Davis

Ngapuhi iwi, married with three children, lives in Kaitaia. A teacher in Northland since 1988, his most recent job was as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate from 2001 to 2007. Likes rugby, fishing, shooting and boating.

In his own words:
“It’s time we stopped wallowing in self-pity and instead looked for solutions … blaming the system implies we are too weak as a people to help ourselves, that we are victims.”

I was hugely impressed with his maiden speech.

Amy Adams

As a lawyer and farmer, she said she was recently called a “typical Nat”. She said before people stereotype her they should know she was brought up by a solo mother who struggled to put herself through a psychology degree before working with disadvantaged families.

In her own words:
“[Agriculture] was our past and it remains our future. It is the primary sector that will help us as a country find our way through these troubled financial times.”

Amy has a safe seat for life, but it won’t take that long for her to start moving up the ranks. She could be our first female Minister of Agriculture!

Kelvin Davis Maiden Speech

December 11th, 2008 at 9:04 am by David Farrar

Labour List MP Kelvin Davis delivered his maiden speech yesterday. Davis was a very respected principal in Northland before becoming an MP. Some extracts:

Prosperity of all Maori is necessary if we are to fulfil the words of our great Tai Tokerau rangatira Sir James Henare, when he once said, “It is preposterous that any Maori should aspire to become a poor pakeha when their true destiny, prescribed by the Creator, is to become a great Maori.”

What makes Maori great? I believe any Maori who achieves their potential or beyond and bolsters the standing of their whänau and community achieves a measure of greatness. As a former principal it was immensely rewarding to witness the joy and satisfaction on the face of whänau when their children achieved. I was acutely aware though of how thin those ranks of achievement are in many of our schools.

NZ history shows that Maori can succeed in the face of adversity. But this success needs to become the norm rather than the exception. The greatness of a nation is linked to the distinction of its people. Mr Speaker I come to the House seeking to make a contribution that enriches our nation through expanding the ranks of those Maori families who seek educational achievement. The lessons of the chalkface have value and ought to be borne in mind as we debate how to innovate, fund and improve our system of education.

Reducing the number of Maori who leave school unable to read and write, let alone achieving qualifications is a goal I am sure all parties share.

Educational engagement and achievement is vital to Maori greatness and prosperity. We will achieve more with one full generation of highly educated Maori, than we will from the last 168 years of grievance.

I’ve spent twenty years at the chalk face in education. I enjoyed a 14 year career as a Principal and am especially proud of the achievements of the Board of Trustees, staff and students of Kaitaia Intermediate School, which in seven years saw a school turn from almost total academic failure to academic success.

In my experience, while there can be several factors affecting a school, the quality of leadership from its principal has a great impact than all the other factors. I’d personally pay the top principals a lot more.

Conversely, we – Maori – have to realise one of our greatest weaknesses is to blame the system. We know that history has conspired against us; we know a heck of a lot happened to our people that set our progress and development back and has resulted in our struggle to prosper and achieve greatness.

But as critical as I am of those who deny the effects of the damage the system has done to Maori over the last 168 years, I am equally critical of Maori who only blame the system for their own failings.

Do we as a people have the courage to accept responsibility for our lives? It’s time for us to collectively step up and as we say – para te huarahi – blaze a trail.

I’ve sat in hui where the talk has all been about the injustices, the grievances, the excessive navel gazing that stagnates the mind and saps the energy and the soul.

It’s time we stopped wallowing in self pity and instead looked for solutions.

Excellent stuff. If this is the quality of the new Labour intake, they will do well.

I conclude Mr Speaker by stating that I have hope for the future, the future of my children and the future for us as Maori. I believe that by lifting Maori educational achievement, and by us as Maori having the courage to take control of our present, we will as a people achieve prosperity and the future greatness that is our destiny.

Hell, I’m almost looking forward to Davis as a Minister! A very different quality to the Mahara Okeroa’s and Dave Hereroa’s.

The full speech is over the break