Winston Peters backs Labour's Kelvin Davis
NZ First's Winston Peters has endorsed Labour's Kelvin Davis, the first time in his long career that he has backed a candidate from another party.
At a street corner meeting in Paihia this afternoon, with Davis at his side, Peters declared the Labour candidate for Te Tai Tokerau "the man in the far north to vote for".
Although he urged voters to split their vote and give their party vote to NZ First, Peters was strong in his support for Davis.
"We do not want anybody to misinterpret this meeting. But up here we need to ensure that Mana-Deutschland does not win and that Kelvin Davis does. I wouldn't be speaking on behalf of any other candidate of any other party but my own but I think it's that important."
Davis is locked in a head-to-head battle with Mana MP Hone Harawira in the electorate.
Peters said Mana's tie up with Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party undermined the reason for the Maori seats and was the reason behind his endorsement.
"He [Harawira] sold out to a person who'd been here for five minutes. I think that's enormously destructive not just of New Zealand politics but it's very destructive of Maoridom and what it stands for and what it needs."
Peters said Davis had what it takes to be "a fine representative in the North".
"I'm from up North and I see the need to have some consistently strong Northland force that speaks for the interests of this province that is being largely Cinderella-ised, marginalised and forgotten."
Davis welcomed Peters' approval.
"I'm happy for an endorsement from anybody and I'm up here to get every vote I can," Davis said.
"Every vote counts for me and I'll take them from everywhere."
During Peters' street meeting Davis was invited to speak and he urged supporters to party vote Labour and vote for him as candidate.
Peters' tour of Northland has had a strong Labour theme. In Kaitaia he was greeted by Shane Jones' mother who according to a source pledged the support of her whanau.
In Kaikohe he was escorted on a walk around with former Labour MP Dover Samuels who said he not only supported NZ First on the party list, that he preferred for NZ First to go into coalition with National.