Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Davis says he's suited for the job

Davis says he is not a second Shane Jones. Photo / NZ Herald
Davis says he is not a second Shane Jones. Photo / NZ Herald

Kelvin Davis has bought a new suit and quit his job for a return to Parliament following the resignation of Shane Jones, but says people needn't expect him to take over Jones' mantle as one of the bluntest, more colourful characters in Parliament.

Mr Davis, a former school principal, was an MP for Labour for a term and although he was regarded as a promising politician he did not get back into Parliament in 2011 because of Labour's low result.

Mr Davis, who is also Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate, has quit his job at the Ministry of Education to return, even though Parliament will rise before the election only 6 weeks after he returns.

"It gives me a platform and the resources of an MP to campaign. Otherwise, I would have just been an unemployed bum trying to be a candidate. So it helps my profile and there are more opportunities to get in the media."

He said he was not a second Shane Jones. "There is no way I would try to be like Shane Jones, because I would be an abysmal failure."

He said he was blokey "but I probably hide it better than Shane does".

There were some similarities between the two men of the North. "We enjoy a beer, we enjoy sports and fishing and going to get pipis and those things you do in the North."

From Northland, Mr Davis was originally headhunted for Labour by Mr Jones and said he was sad his own return was due to Mr Jones' departure. "I owe him a big debt of thanks, not only for helping me get into politics in the first place but in leaving at a time that allows me to come into Parliament before the general election so I can get my hand back in."

Mr Jones' resignation may also help Mr Davis by opening up a higher slot on the party's list for a Northland-based Maori. If Mr Davis does not get in, Labour will have no Maori representation in Northland, leaving it to Mana leader Hone Harawira.

However, Mr Davis said he still intended to fight hard to win the seat back off Mr Harawira, saying it was important to him to be an electorate MP.

Mr Jones said he was happy that it was Mr Davis - another Northern Maori - who was replacing him as the next on the list.

Mr Davis admitted he may have outgrown the suits he wore when he was last in Parliament, having become more "muscular".

- NZ Herald

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