An ex-Mana Party candidate is running against his former leader in Te Tai Tokerau in the coming election.

However, Whangarei's Clinton Dearlove, who stood in Te Tai Tonga in 2011, said his decision to stand as an independent was not aimed at unseating Hone Harawira after the Internet-Mana Party deal.

Instead, he urged voters to use their electorate vote strategically to give Te Tai Tokerau three Maori MPs - himself, Mr Harawira, and Labour's Kelvin Davis. Mr Dearlove's campaign slogan is "Vote Dearlove Get Three".

"Kelvin's high list placing for Labour and Hone's access to over $3 million with his list placing shall see them elected to Parliament," he said. "If the voters of Te Tai Tokerau vote strategically it is possible to have three MPs for the electorate. We shall only be seeking the electorate vote ..."


However, for this to work, Internet-Mana will need a big lift in the polls. It had 1.4 per cent of the party vote, a Herald-Digipoll survey released this week indicated. That would be enough for two MPs if Mr Harawira held Te Tai Tokerau. If not, the party must get 5 per cent of the party vote to get into Parliament.

Mr Dearlove said there were no hard feelings between him and Mr Harawira, despite an earlier barb directed at the Internet-Mana alliance in which he said many Te Tai Tokerau voters didn't even have internet access: "I look forward to helping Papa Hone feed the kids and am quite excited about also helping Koro Kelvin with educating our kids."

On his social media page yesterday, Mr Harawira said: "He is my whanaunga [relative] as is Kelvin, and I send my best wishes to them both, unconditionally."