Coalition NZ will destroy Labour's 'Māori mandate' - campaign manager

The campaign manager for Hannah Tamaki's new party says Labour's Māori MPs need to watch out.

Jevan Goulter was previously involved with both the Mana Party and the Labour Party before joining Coalition NZ which launched this week.

He told The Hui's Mihingarangi Forbes potential candidates are still being discussed, but there are some exciting announcements coming up that will challenge the Government's "Māori mandate".

"You probably know how many Māori MPs they've got in the Labour Party, I don't know because I never hear from them so it's hard to do a head count."

He singled out Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis as a target.

"Kelvin Davis is not safe in his seat, we're certainly looking at that one. I think he's been disappointing in the roles that he's been given. My understanding is the Tourism Board don't want him as part of his Tourism portfolio. His Corrections portfolio, I think we've seen what's been going on there.

"I think people in the Far North are coming to terms with the fact that we had a really strong person in Opposition and now we've seen nothing."

Forbes reminded Goulter that the prison population has decreased under Davis, but he claimed those numbers had "gone back up again".

"I actually don't agree with using that statement when you're transferring more people into home detention. I don't really think that's an achievement when you move numbers from one list to another."

Goulter sais he himself would "absolutely not" be running in Te Tai Tokerau, but repeatedly refused to rule out standing as a candidate for other seats in future.

However, he stressed that as campaign manager, his primary role is to support other candidates.

"The sort of Māori candidates I like are Māori that have mana and are courageous and not afraid to forge a pathway forward and actually put their values of tikanga and things in front of party values. I don't think we seeing any of those MPs in the Māori seats at the moment, so those will be the sorts of candidates I'll be looking at to run in those seats.

"Māori like fierce leaders, and there's no doubt Coalition NZ has some fierce Māori leaders in it already."

He says Coalition NZ, which was launched by the Tamakis at a much-hyped announcement event on Thursday, hasn't come out of nowhere.

"It was a party that was born out of frustration at the fact the policies the Labour Party campaigned on have not come to fruition."

He said the Government campaigned on housing but called KiwiBuild a failure, and claimed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is too focused on attending overseas conferences rather than local New Zealand affairs.

"We want to see action when we walk down the street... I don't think she can claim that sort of successes yet."

Forbes asked Goulter how he feels about the Tamakis' homophobic beliefs as an openly gay man.

"I think a lot of people in New Zealand think a lot of different things are sins," he replied.

"I've had a close relationship with them for eight years, and have never once felt anything they might have thought was condescending towards myself or vice versa."

He says in the last few days he's spoken with other gay people who are excited about Coalition NZ.

"We get silenced in the LGBT community and it's purely because within the gay community there's racism and discrimination as well so there are voices that don't actually get heard."

He says Brian Tamaki will meet with members of the LGBT community next Saturday.


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