Gower wants the old Kelvin back

Patrick Gower writes:

Kelvin Davis is a “wounded man walking” who better watch out, says Newshub national correspondent Patrick Gower.

The Corrections Minister on Wednesday announced plans for a new prison, but appeared to be unaware how many of its inmates would be double-bunked.

Corrections boss Ray Smith interjected after Mr Davis froze, confirming Newshub’s suggestion it would be around half.

“I get nervous before interviews,” was Mr Davis’ explanation, when asked about it on The AM Show.

Mr Gower, who was Newshub’s political editor for several years, told The AM Show he’d never seen anything like it.

“Only in New Zealand would a deputy leader of a governing party come on after a major policy announcement in his or her portfolio and say, ‘You know me – I get nervous and I forget things.’ I’ve never seen that before.”

You might expect that from a new backbencher or even a very junior Minister. But Davis is the most senior Labour Minister after the PM.

Let’s look at the list of recent Deputy Leaders of the major governing party, and see if we can imagine any other being nervous before interviews:

  • 2017 – Paula Bennett
  • 2009 – 2016 Bill English
  • 2000 – 2008 Michael Cullen
  • 1998 – 1999 Wyatt Creech
  • 1991 – 1996 Don McKinnon
  • 1989 – 1990 Helen Clark
  • 1985 – 1988 Geoffrey Palmer
  • 1984 Jim McLay

Quite the contrast.

He said Mr Davis is “battling and he’s lost his confidence”.

“Kelvin is not a dead man walking, but he’s a wounded man walking. The media are after him, the Opposition are after him, probably people in his own party want the deputy leader job at the very least – they won’t want the Corrections job.”

Surely Labour should put Kelvin out of his misery and make Grant Robertson the official deputy leader. It is obvious he is the deputy in all but name anyway.


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