Kelvin Davis (politician)

Last updated

Kelvin Davis

Kelvin Davis.jpg
18th Deputy Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
Assumed office
1 August 2017
Leader Jacinda Ardern
Preceded byJacinda Ardern
12th Minister of Corrections
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded by Louise Upston
20th Minister of Tourism
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded by Paula Bennett
Minister for Crown/Māori Relations
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byOffice created
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
In office
1 August 2017 26 October 2017
LeaderJacinda Ardern
Preceded byJacinda Ardern
Succeeded by Paula Bennett
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Tai Tokerau
Assumed office
20 September 2014
Preceded by Hone Harawira
Majority4,807 (19.95%)
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
In office
23 May 2014 20 September 2014
Preceded by Shane Jones
In office
8 November 2008 26 November 2011
Personal details
Kelvin Glen Davis

(1967-03-02) 2 March 1967 (age 53)
Kawakawa, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Website Labour website

Kelvin Glen Davis (born 2 March 1967) is a New Zealand politician and a member of the House of Representatives who has served as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party since 1 August 2017.


A former teacher, Davis served as a list MP from 2008 to 2011 and again in 2014. He won the electorate of Te Tai Tokerau in the 2014 election. Davis was elected as Labour Deputy Leader two months before the 2017 election, becoming the first deputy of Māori descent in the Labour Party. Currently the third ranked member of the Sixth Labour Government, Davis serves as the Minister of Corrections, Minister of Tourism and Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, in addition to an Associate Minister of Education portfolio (Māori Education).

Early life

Born in Kawakawa on 2 March 1967, [1] and raised in the Bay of Islands, [2] Davis affiliates to the Ngāpuhi iwi. [3] He received his secondary education at the Bay of Islands College from 1980 to 1984. [4] He obtained a Diploma of Teaching from Auckland College of Education (1985–1987) and taught at Koru School in Mangere (1988–1990), Bay of Islands Intermediate School in Kawakawa (1991–1993), before becoming principal of Karetu School (1994–1998). [4] He then held employment with the Education Advisory Service (1998–1999) and the education improvement and development project Te Putahitanga Matauranga (2000). He was then principal of Kaitaia Intermediate School from 2001 to 2007. [4]

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
2008 2011 49th List 33 Labour
2014 50th List23 Labour
2014 2017 51st Te Tai Tokerau 18 Labour
2017 present 52nd Te Tai Tokerau2 Labour
Davis in 2009 Kelvin Davis, Labour party MP (cropped).jpg
Davis in 2009

In the 2008 general election Davis stood for Labour in the Te Tai Tokerau seat. He was defeated by the incumbent Hone Harawira of the Mana Party, but was still elected into the 49th New Zealand Parliament by way of the party list. [5]

He was the Labour Party's candidate in the 2011 Te Tai Tokerau by-election and was again defeated by Harawira. He unsuccessfully contested the seat at the general election later in the year. [6] After placing second to Harawira three times and losing his seat in the 2011 election, Davis announced his retirement from politics, which ended up being temporary. [3]

Davis was selected as Labour's candidate for Te Tai Tokerau in the 2014 election. [3] As a result of Labour's Shane Jones' resignation from Parliament at the end of May 2014, Davis was eligible to assume Jones' place as he had been the highest ranking non-MP in Labour's 2011 party list. [7] He entered the House of Representatives on 23 May 2014. [3]

The Mana Movement formed a coalition with the Internet Party prior to the 2014 general election. The coalition was registered with the Electoral Commission as the Internet Party and Mana Movement in July 2014, allowing it to contest the party vote. [8] This strategic coalition resulted in Davis getting endorsements from Winston Peters of New Zealand First [9] and the Prime Minister, John Key of the National Party. [10] Even the electorate's candidate for the Māori Party, Te Hira Paenga, reminded voters of the importance of strategic voting. [11] In this election, Davis ousted Harawira, which ended the representation of the Mana Party in Parliament. [12]

Following his election, Davis became Labour's corrections spokesperson. [13] In 2015, Davis criticised private prison provider Serco's management of inmates, alleging 'corruption' at the Mount Eden remand facility. [14] Following an inquiry, Serco lost its contract to run the facility and Minister of Corrections Sam Lotu-Iiga was relieved of his post. [15] [3] Davis also criticized the Australian government for its incarceration of New Zealand expatriates facing deportation. [16] Davis has also drawn attention to the disproportionately high number of Māori in the New Zealand prison system; with Māori comprising 50.9% of the prison population despite making up just 15% of New Zealand's population. [17] [18]

Deputy Leader

On 1 August 2017, Davis was appointed as the new Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, serving under Jacinda Ardern. [3] On 1 September 2017, Ardern corrected Davis after he publicly stated that Labour would campaign on a capital gains tax policy during the 2020 general election rather than implementing it mid-term. [19] [20] On 19 September, Davis indicated that he was willing to sacrifice his position as Deputy Prime Minister in order for Labour to form a coalition government with either New Zealand First or the Green Party. [21] During the 2017 election on 23 September, Davis was re-elected in Te Tai Tokerau and defeated Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira by 4,807 votes. [22]

Following the 2017 election, Davis was appointed Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Tourism, and Associate Minister of Education in the Sixth Labour Government. [23] As Minister of Corrections, Davis has stressed the need to address the high rates of incarceration of Māori people. In August 2018, he called for a change to "a level of imprisonment that is simply devastating our Māori whānau and communities". [24]

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  1. Taylor, Alister (1998) [1991]. New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa. Wellington: Alister Taylor. ISBN   0-908578-24-5.
  2. "Kelvin Davis". New Zealand Labour Party . Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Davison, Isaac (1 August 2017). "Who is Labour's new deputy leader Kelvin Davis?". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 "Kelvin Davis". Ngati Manu . Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  5. "Final Results for the 2008 New Zealand General Election - New Zealand Parliament". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  6. Chapman, Kate (10 May 2011). "Labour contesting Tai Tokerau by-election". . Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  7. Vernon Small and Michael Fox (22 April 2014). "Shane Jones 'to quit Labour'". Stuff.
  8. Manhire, Toby (23 August 2014). "The whale that swallowed New Zealand's election campaign". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. Bennett, Adam (21 September 2014). "Election 2014: Winston Peters hits out at National after big poll surge". The New Zealand Herald . Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  10. McQuillan, Laura. "Key's subtle endorsement for Kelvin Davis". ZB. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  11. "Davis picking up endorsements". Radio Waatea. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  12. Smith, Simon (20 September 2014). "Davis' win a critical blow for Harawira, Internet Mana". . Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  13. "Hon Kelvin Davis". New Zealand Labour Party. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  14. "Urgent Debates — Serco—Decision to End Contract for Mt Eden Corrections Facility - New Zealand Parliament". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  15. Moir, Jo (28 July 2016). "Labour's Kelvin Davis says Mt Eden prison guard revelations are 'corruption'". . Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  16. Medhora, Shalailah (16 October 2015). "New Zealand MP says deportations make a mockery of Anzac relationship". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  17. White, Di (8 August 2017). "Kelvin Davis is NZ's best hope for prison reform in decades". The Spinoff. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  18. Roy, Eleanor Ainge (29 November 2018). "The man on a mission to get New Zealand's Māori out of prison". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  19. Kirk, Stacey (1 September 2017). "Jacinda Ardern tells Kelvin Davis off over capital gains tax comments". . Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  20. "Kelvin Davis says he's clearer on the party's policies now". Radio New Zealand. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  21. "Kelvin Davis will sacrifice top job". Māori Television. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  22. "Te Tai Tokerau - Official Result". Election Commission. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  23. "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet . Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  24. "Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis issues heartfelt call to change level of Māori imprisonment". New Zealand Herald. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacinda Ardern
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Paula Bennett
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jacinda Ardern
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Hone Harawira
Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau
Political offices
Preceded by
Louise Upston
Minister of Corrections
Preceded by
Paula Bennett
Minister of Tourism
New ministerial post Minister for Crown/Māori Relations