About six months ago, I was frustrated with Chris Hipkins missing an opportunity to expose a serious fault in Hekia’s education system. The title of the posting was: If Chris Hipkins can’t do it give it to Kelvin Davis. Chris and I have since made up and, except for the terrible error in not restructuring the review office (to use principals on short term contract as done in Australia), I am very pleased with the Labour manifesto.
What follows was part of that posting.
In many respects Kelvin Davis is more conservative than Chris Hipkins but Kelvin Davis listens and that is all we are asking.
I want to make it clear these postings are entirely my initiative. If Kelvin asked me to stop I wouldn’t.
He first came to my attention many years ago when I was at Waitangi on Waitangi Day taking photographs for a social studies resource. The word spread like wildfire that Helen Clark had continued north to speak to a promising potential Maori candidate – that promising potential Maori candidate was Kelvin Davis.
In the last three years we have probably communicated four or five times. In a posting, I pushed him and Stuart Nash for leadership material, and that Christmas (after the election), in walking down to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, I met him and his new secretary who had been taken north to meet his family and visit the electorate.
We had a very good discussion.
I urged him to put in bid for the leadership of the Labour Party (against David Cunliffe).
Since then we have communicated about four times, usually when he sought information about a school and principal he thought might be able to help. Please note: not to work together but to do what he could do from his position.
Kelvin Davis was decisive in protecting Opua School from the very bad behaviour of the education review office.
Two times, after reading my postings, and then ringing me, I could sense his deep concern about the bullying of two women principals.
The questions he asked were always direct and quite tough: summed up, he didn’t want to be caught defending an incompetent. Kelvin is not someone to be trifled with.
I did ring him on one occasion to do with his visit to a charter school in Whangarei. He said he did not support charter schools, and I believed him, and so should you – Kelvin Davis does not tell lies.
The circumstances were that he was asked to visit the school for a special occasion by the principal, a close member of his whanau – that member had worked to start a school for Maori children, one she intended to have within the public system. That was the originating plan, but the ministry would have none of it, and insisted it be a charter school or nothing.
In the end Kelvin Davis decided to serve one loyalty while transgressing another.
Kelvin Davis would disagree on a lot of things with me about education, I don’t care; he is a listener. I see him as a future prime minister.
… and then I continued with the education case I wanted to put to Kelvin Davis (to get up Chris Hipkins’ nose).