Claire Trevett 's Opinion

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

Claire Trevett: Perfect storm of contradictions blows from North

14 comments
Kelvin Davis. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Kelvin Davis. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Come the rains, come the politicians. When the winds and rains wrought havoc over Northland, it was Labour MP Kelvin Davis who got stuck in. He set up his office as Disaster Central and lambasted governments of both hues for neglecting Northland.

It would be unfair to say Davis was primarily motivated by political advantage - it was his own home turf around Kawakawa and Moerewa that was most affected. But it may well be to his political advantage.

Labour is on fairly shaky ground when it comes to criticising National for neglecting Northland. For a start, the only current Labour MP based in Northland is Davis. Should Davis not return after the election, Labour will have no MPs in Northland at all. To return he needs to win the Te Tai Tokerau seat off Hone Harawira or rely on Labour getting about 29 per cent to get in on the list. In 2011 Davis learned the hard way not to assume the second will happen. That may explain why he broke ranks to say he supported the Puhoi to Wellsford extension. Helping his case was the comparative invisibility of Harawira, who was embarking on a roadshow with Internet leader Laila Harre and Kim Dotcom.

The roadshow kicked off in the Far North where Dotcom spoke in a windblown tent and told those gathered there that the alliance brought together the three Big Ms - "the Mana, themind and the money".

He went on to explain that what he had in common with Maori was "a great injustice". Had it not been for that third "m", Harawira could well have challenged whether the injustice suffered by Dotcom was really comparable with the injustices suffered by Maori.

But Dotcom was also there to talk about another who had succumbed to the siren cry of the third "m" - the National Government which had granted his residency. The latest bout of trouble for National was the release of emails from 2010 relating to his residency case from the SIS. Those emails referred to "political pressure" on Immigration NZ. The Prime Minister and Immigration Minister were both conveniently on holiday when all this came out. Initially rumour (and an Instagram photo posted by John Key's son Max) indicated Key was in Maui. However, it became clear both Key and Jonathan Coleman had actually travelled to the Dark Ages where telephones did not work. So they were "unavailable for comment" although Coleman managed to get out a line, presumably by smoke signal, that he had not put pressure on Immigration NZ.

Up north, there was a bizarre scene in which Laila Harre said Dotcom should have been rejected while simultaneously defending her decision to get in cahoots with the person she didn't think deserved to be in the country at all. If this looked at first as if she was biting the hand that feeds, Dotcom backed her up. He said even his own mother would not have given him residency. He reheated his argument that New Zealand had welcomed him only at the behest of America so they could more easily extradite him - although such is the string of stuff-ups that if that was the case the US must be wondering at the accuracy of this assumption.

Rather than a request from Hollywood, the more likely reason for National's enthusiasm to grant residency was money. National had mocked Labour's failure to attract wealthy investors and needed to rack up its own numbers to prove it was better. Dotcom was a $10 million beacon and was threatening to take his money to more welcoming climes if his residency was not accepted by a certain date. Dotcom also set a date for the big reveal of the Kim Dotcom Bomb: his long-promised "evidence" Key lied about when he first knew of Dotcom. That will be at the Auckland Town Hall on September 15 - five days before the election. Whether waiting until then is healthy for the democracy he has chosen to take part in is apparently irrelevant. Dotcom is making it blatantly clear that for him the election is personal, not political.

Meanwhile the Greens have suffered a flurry of pick-pocketing. Yesterday Labour's Trevor Mallard filched the policy to ban the import of animal-tested cosmetics. Last weekend the Internet Party released an environmental policy almost identical to that of Greens. Harre worked for the Greens recently and, when asked about it, said she had invested a lot of her own intellectual property into the Green Party. All is fair in love and politics. But it presented yet another in the ever-growing list of contradictions Harre has had to contend with since linking up with Dotcom.

The Internet Party policy railed against the evils of oil drilling, Auckland's traffic jams and big trucks. There was a call for better public transport to save on the nation's fuel bill and a picture of two children staring forlornly out at an oil rig off the coast.

It appeared to escape her notice that on the very same day Dotcom was tweeting selfies of himself in his own solution to traffic jams: the fuel-guzzling big daddy of private transport-dom - the personal helicopter he was flying back to Auckland after a holiday in Queenstown.

- NZ Herald

Claire Trevett

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

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor and joined the Press Gallery in 2007. She began with the Herald in 2003 as the Northland reporter before moving to Auckland where her rounds included education and media. A graduate of AUT's post-graduate diploma in journalism, Claire began her journalism career in 2002 at the Northern Advocate in Whangarei. Claire has conjoint Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Canterbury.

Read more by Claire Trevett

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 28 Dec 2014 06:57:01 Processing Time: 670ms