Tai Tokerau MP name-dropped on Shortland Street

By Talisa Kupenga

Tai Tokerau Labour MP Kelvin Davis has had a boost in notoriety after his name and stance on medicinal cannabis was plugged on prime time TV.

Last night Shortland Street character Dr Chris Warner said he needed to “get Kelvin Davis on the phone” after his Doctor explained the MP's views around growing versus importing medicinal cannabis in New Zealand.

Dr Warner had consumed a chocolate brownie laced with cannabis by-product to cope with nausea from his chemotherapy.

Davis says he was “surprised” at the mention, which he was alerted to by a phone call from his wife during the Highlanders vs Lions Game.

“I said ‘why are you calling me I’m watching the game!?’ she said ‘You’re famous I just heard your name mentioned on Shortland Street!’”

The plug can be seen as timely given it is an election year, but Shortland Street’s South Pacific Pictures spokesman Nick Malmholt says the name drop was not politically motivated, rather it was topical given recent discussions around potential decriminalisation of cannabis.

“Shortland Street tells stories set in a fictional hospital and a fictional community, but its drama and humour are grounded in the truth and issues of real-life New Zealand. Davis is a  public figure at the vanguard of the nationwide debate around this subject and it felt truthful and appropriate to acknowledge his efforts through the show’s storytelling”. 

Davis says he was unaware he was scripted into the story line and was yet to receive his phone call from Dr Warner.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson says the content of the programme would not contravene the election advertising rules because it is editorial content.