Te Tai Tokerau electorate candidates

Here are the responses from the candidates for the Te Tai Tokerau electorate in alphabetical order.

  • Kelvin Davis, Labour
  • Hone Harawira, Mana
  • Godfrey Rudolf, Greens

Kelvin Davis, Labour


1: What do you think your role as an MP or potential MP is in our region’s food system? 

A Labour Government is one that will have a pro-active and collaborative approach with food producers across the country.

As the MP for Te Tai Tokerau, I have the same values. I want anybody involved in the food industry (or anybody generally for that matter) to feel free to approach my office and sort out a time to chat about concerns they have, ideas, or proposals.  If I can help, I want to help.

2: Should NZ be protecting prime agricultural/horticultural land from urban sprawl? What’s your position on how best to do this?

Labour believes we need to replace urban growth boundaries with better spatial planning that sets aside land of special value such as prime agricultural and/or horticultural land. We recognise the need for more housing, however there is no reason this needs to come at the cost of valuable land for food production.

3: The World Health Organisation recommends implementing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure of reducing childhood obesity. NZ has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD.  Are you in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages?

Labour is not considering this at the moment; however, we are always open to the views of experts. Our priority commitment is to set reduction targets for additional sugars being put into everyday processed food for the industry to implement because we think that will make a significant difference

4: Do you support Local Councils having the power through the Resource Management Act to declare Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)/Genetic Engineering (GE) free growing zones in their regions? 

Labour endorses the approach recommended by the Royal Commission of Genetic Modification. That is, we must take a precautionary approach to GE to protect our environment, but also take advantage of the science where it is safe and brings benefits to the regions.

In regards to councils powers, Labour believes that councils should remain having the ability to decide on economic grounds whether (and where) release or commercial use of GMO plants or animals is allowed.

5: How will you ensure that food system policy, such as the Food Act is scale-appropriate for small and medium scale farmers, growers and producers (e.g. on farm meat processing). 

Labour firmly believes that we need a system whereby small and medium scale producers can thrive. Labour supported the passage of the Food Bill passed recently. We were given assurances repeatedly at select committee that the regulations and the implementations would not be an excessive burden on small innovative food producers. A cheese maker, subsequent to the passage to the bill pleaded with the select committee on two occasions to intervene and reduce costs to small players. The National Government has chosen to not address these concerns. Labour has committed to introduce a scheme to lower the costs and be more flexible for more small food producers.


Hone Harawira, Mana

1: What do you think your role as an MP or potential MP is in our region’s food system?

To protect the health of the whenua, moana, awa and tangata of this region. Healthy, sustainable food and water is vital to the health of the people. Responsible production of food meat, fruit and vege is important to the environment and economy of tai tokerau. Huge potential here to provide high quality kai Maori under the Hua Para Kore (Maori organics) label for national and international markets. Hort NZ and Organic Export NZ cannot get enough supply for their markets

2: Should NZ be protecting prime agricultural/horticultural land from urban sprawl? What’s your position on how best to do this?

Rural land is unique but we are connected to the cities with 70% of Ngapuhi living in Auckland city. We are not so isolated as we believe, as a small group of islands in a vast ocean mass, we need to be supporting each other and working together to improve the lives of everybody in this country. The urban have high economy while Tai Tokerau has a lot of Maori land (over 150,000 hectares pre settlement of whenua returned).

3: The World Health Organisation recommends implementing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure of reducing childhood obesity. NZ has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD.  Are you in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages?

Yes absolutely agree with a high sugar tax, even 50%. But also start putting the squeeze on the producers of this stuff to clean up their act or get out of the market. Start cutting back too on the places it can be purchased.

4: Do you support Local Councils having the power through the Resource Management Act to declare Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)/Genetic Engineering (GE) free growing zones in their regions? 

Tai Tokerau is a GE free zone and unique in the world. It would devastate the potential for Maori land production to introduce GE production here. A law should be written to stop GE engineering in this country. And the people of Tai Tokerau need to always be on their guard to ensure GE doesn’t sneak in the back door.

5: How will you ensure that food system policy, such as the Food Act is scale-appropriate for small and medium scale farmers, growers and producers (e.g. on farm meat processing)

Tai Tokerau has a very high primary production level. Small producers are an important part of this economy. More support for them through tax breaks, and assistance with marketing and transport costs. Adopt Fair Trade principles and Hua Para Kore principles.


Godfrey Rudolf, Green

1: What do you think your role as an MP or potential MP is in our region’s food system? 

Supporting local producers e.g. through Buy NZ Made and buy local campaigns, making sure trade agreements protect local industries, and stricter biosecurity controls. The Green Party has proposed mandatory country of origin food labelling so consumers have the information they need to choose local products.

2: Should NZ be protecting prime agricultural/horticultural land from urban sprawl? What’s your position on how best to do this?

Yes. The most efficient, cheapest, and greenest way to fix the housing crisis is through building medium density housing close to where people work, study, and play – not through urban sprawl.

3: The World Health Organisation recommends implementing a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure of reducing childhood obesity. NZ has the third highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD.  Are you in favour of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages?

Yes. The Greens are the only party in Parliament consistently advocating for a tax on sugary drinks.

4: Do you support Local Councils having the power through the Resource Management Act to declare Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)/Genetic Engineering (GE) free growing zones in their regions? 

Yes. Local communities must have a say in GE issues.

5: How will you ensure that food system policy, such as the Food Act is scale-appropriate for small and medium scale farmers, growers and producers (e.g. on farm meat processing). 

We need to make sure there’s a balance between food safety and enabling local food producers to play a part in feeding their communities.

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