Whakatau 2023 | Te Tai Tokerau

Davis’ election to win or lose; younger voters key

It’s not quite neck and neck but Te Tai Tokerau MP and Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis will have to work hard to keep his seat this election, an exclusive Whakaata Māori poll of the electorate in the last week has shown.

Voter turnout will be critical, the poll shows.

Te Tai Tokerau voters gave 32% support to Davis and 26% to his Te Pāti Māori rival, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi.

Greens candidate Huhana Lyndon is still to make her mark in the electorate and picked up only 7%, while Legalise Cannabis’ Maki Herbert polled at 6%. Excluding those undecided or refused, Davis has 39% and Kapa-Kingi has 31%.

But those figures are a far cry from Davis’ previous election result in 2020 when he rode Labour’s red wave and was 8,164 votes ahead of Kapa-Kingi on her first outing. The Greens did not put up a candidate at that election.

This poll has a margin of error of 4.4% - and 14% of respondents said they were unsure, meaning the electorate could go either way.

Asked what parties they would vote for, the respondents opted for Labour at 35%, ahead of Te Pāti Māori on 22%, Greens 9%, National 8%, New Zealand First 8%, and ACT 4%. But 9% were undecided and 2% refused to say.

Excluding those undecided or refused, Labour has 39%, which, if compared to the last actual electorate result shows a 22-percentage point drop in voter support. Te Pāti Māori has 24%, 14 points higher than its election result, National 9% (seven points up), Greens 10% (four points higher) and ACT 3% (four points higher than the election result).

By age group Labour does best with older respondents and Te Pāti Māori with younger respondents.

In fact, among over-60-year-old voters, Davis gets 42% compared to 12% for Kapa-Kingi. Among the 18-39-year-olds, he gets 27% to Kapa-Kingi’s 34%. That means the turnout of voters will be critical.

Asked how likely they were to vote, 80% said they would definitely vote, 12% were very likely to vote and 8% somewhat likely. But, by age, a staggering 91% of over-60-year-olds said they would definitely vote while younger voters were back in the seventy per cent area, possibly helping Davis keep his seat.

Nevertheless, he will be back in Parliament since he is No.2 on the party list.The question is how much strategic voting will be done by this electorate’s voters who will take that into account.

On coalitions, these voters had similar attitudes to the other Māori electorates polled so far.

If Labour won, they favoured Te Pāti Māori as a coalition partner on 52% but the Greens were close at 46% and NZ First a distant third at 17%. Older voters favoured Greens ahead of Te Pāti Māori, and the reverse was true for the 18-39-year-olds and 40-59-year-olds.

They had mixed views on whether they would be better or worse off under a Labour-Greens-Te Pāti Māori coalition, with 45% saying better off, 22% saying worse off, 21% saying no difference but 12% unsure.

If National were to form the next government, 33% saw Te Pāti Māori as the most popular coalition partner, 25% favoured NZ First and 22% chose the Greens.

Some 57% thought they would be worse off under a National-Act government and 20% better off.

If Te Pāti Māori held the balance of power, 57% wanted it to support its coalition with Labour, 19% National, 16% neither and 7% unsure.

Cost of living was the most important issue at 34%. Other major issues were the economy at 9% and honouring the Treaty at 6% Youngest voters (18-39) and women were most concerned about the cost of living, at 43% and 38% respectively.

Asked to pick a prime minister, 27% chose Labour’s Chris Hipkins, followed by Te Pāti Māori’s Rawiri Waititi on 12%, National’s Christopher Luxon 11% and NZ First’s Winston Peters 10%.

Polling was completed on Tuesday, October 3. A total of 500 registered voters in Te Tai Tokerau were polled by landline, mobile and online with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 per cent at the 95% confidence level.

More Māori electorate debates will be held on air and online, MĀORI+ and