Former Labour minister Dover Samuels says he won't be
voting for the party at the election.
He cited the party's opposition to the Puhoi to Wellsford
extension and Leader David Cunliffe's "prima donna
grandstanding" over the issue of sexual violence.
The former Maori Affairs Minister who now serves on the
Northland Regional Council confirmed the Herald this morning
he did not intend giving his party vote to Labour.
"Labour's moved away from me, I've never moved away from
Labour. I'm as staunch of the principles of Labour as I ever
was, since the days of Mickey Savage."
He indicated he would be voting for NZ First.
"Winston Peters has been somebody that certainly has been an
advocate of the regions and I'm a regional councillor and I
find that spokespersons for the Labour Party have really
turned their backs on some of the initiatives that the
Northland Council have been advocating."
He pointed to Labour's plan to indefinitely postpone the
Puhoi to Wellsford extension which it derides as "the holiday
" I don't know where they got that from but the Puhoi road is
integral to Northland's economic future."
Labour's Te Tai Tokerau candidate and serving list MP Kelvin
Davis this week broke ranks and said he too backed the
highway as important infrastructure for the region.
Mr Samuels said he welcomed that.
"Kelvin's got my electorate vote. Simple as that."
"Kelvin has been to all of our council meetings. He's in
touch with the feelings of the people here, we've done an
analysis of the benefits. If the Labour Party has done an
analysis and come up with different figures then come up and
talk to us. But they've never come near us."
Mr Samuels said his advice to Labour was "come back to the
grass roots principles".
"I was a minister and a Member of Parliament under Helen
Clark. She recognised you never become Government if you
don't take middle New Zealand with you.
"Shane Jones saw that and unfortunately this idea of "rich
prick" and this idea of "I'm ashamed to be a man" and all of
this kind of prima donna grandstanding does not actually
resonate well with middle New Zealand at all."
Mr Samuels said he was hearing many Labour Party supporters
of long standing asking "what is happening to our party?".
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald