I'm glad Labour's standing a candidate in Te Tai Tokerau. Kelvin Davis would be a good MP for the electorate, one who gets on and does things rather than grandstands.
Many are saying that Harawira will romp home, simply because he did so last election, and because he's had a lot of publicity recently. But Harawira was a Maori Party MP back then, whereas it's likely that some of those who voted for him won't do so this time because of his changed allegiances. It won't be a two-horse race if the Maori Party stand, though I suspect if they do they'll come third.
So I'm not convinced Harawira has it in the bag - assuming he gets around to resigning at some point. According to Matt McCarten Harawira is going to resign this week. I suppose it's only Wednesday.
I don't share the view expressed by many on the left that Harawira's defeat would be a bad thing. Harawira continues to show he is an erratic and unstable force. He can't even turn up to a crucial vote, won't take advice before making important decision, and can't be relied upon to do what he says. In short he would be a disaster as a coalition partner and as a party leader. I'm surprised someone as supposedly smart as Matt McCarten hasn't run a million miles away by now.
So every vote Harawira takes is probably a gain to National. Not just because he'll be taking votes mostly from Labour and the Greens, but also because they probably won't be able to work constructively with him.
If Davis wins the by-election it might just be the end of Harawira's political career, and not just temporarily. Could he win back the seat in November if he is defeated in this by-election? Perhaps if the by-election result is close. But a win by Davis would boost Labour's profile, especially among Maori, and would leave the Maori Party in a state of near panic.
In short, given Harawira's instability and the likelihood that Labour wouldn't be able to work with him, there's nothing to be lost by Labour having a crack. And tactical voting (as suggested by David Farrar in this post) may work in Davis' favour.