In New Zealand it’s easy to get caught up with party politics and never really learn about the people standing in your own electorate. This election I’ve tried to give every candidate (in Auckland and Wellington) a voice by asking them 5 questions. Read more about the series here.
Incumbent: Hone Harawira // Mana
Standing in 2014:
Kelvin Davis | Labour
Clinton Dearlove | Independent
Hone Harawira | Mana
Te Hira Paenga | Māori
What do you think characterises the Te Tai Tokerau Electorate?
The Te Tai Tokerau electorate is characterised by the greatest people struggling to do well for their families against the greatest of odds. There is so much ‘people potential’ in Te Tai Tokerau but in too many cases that potential struggles to flourish. This will change if we focus on the issues that matter most to the people – safe, warm secure homes, well paid work and strong families. Education is the pathway to success for all people of Te Tai Tokerau. Successful people together mean successful whanau. Successful whanau together mean successful hapu. When hapu are successful whole communities will be successful. That means our economy has the best chance of being strong, and with successful people living in successful communities we create an upward spiral of success where everyone benefits and disparity and poverty are eliminated.
What do you think is the most important issue for Maori living in your electorate?
The most important issues for Northland are threefold. Firstly the lack of well paid jobs is driving people into poverty. Poverty inhibits hope, and without hope people become desperate. Labour will put more money in people’s pockets by increasing the minimum wage by $2 by April next year. The second issue is the lack of warm, dry, secure housing. This is less of a building issue and more of a health issue. Too many are suffering preventable illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma, strep throat and rheumatic fever because of overcrowding and living in damp, cold homes. In a first world country such as New Zealand in the 21st century, this is inexcusable. I believe Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee, that will make sure every rental home is warm and dry, will make a huge difference in Northland. The third issue is sexual and domestic violence which is rampant across communities in Te Tai Tokerau. They are the number one cause of youth suicide and a driver of poverty as they affect (usually) a woman’s ability to rise above her circumstances, earn a living and contribute to the financial well-being of her family. The best way we can feed our children is to love their mothers. Labour will take decisive action with the aim of being world leading in eliminating violence against women and children focusing on prevention, support services and justice.
Why are you standing in a Maori seat? What is the value of Maori seats in your opinion?
I am standing in a Maori seat because I want to help all New Zealanders but in particular Maori have happy, successful lives. I want other Maori to enjoy the success I have experienced through growing up amongst a strong, loving family. Success doesn’t come down to luck, it comes down to creating the conditions where everyone is allowed to flourish according to their own strengths and passions. The Maori seats are hugely important to ensuring the Maori voice is heard in parliament and to ensure our interests remain priorities in the eyes of the country and our law makers.
How will you improve the lives of Maori living in your community?
I will improve the lives of Maori living in my community by having an unapologetic and relentless focus on my four priorities: 1. Education, 2. The economy (homes, jobs, families), 3. Te Reo Maori, 4. The elimination of sexual and domestic violence.
People should vote for me because if they want their children to be academically successful, they need to vote for me as a former principal who turned the ‘school most at risk north of Auckland’ around in just three years to the extent we had almost 80% of students achieving in above the New Zealand median, whereas previously we had 96% failure. We need a politician in parliament who has a track record of making students learn.
Why Should I Vote For You?
People should vote for me if they want good jobs, warm, dry homes and strong families.
People should vote for me if they want Te Reo to be spoken, heard, read, and used as a working language.
People should vote for me if they want a politician serious about eliminating sexual and domestic violence from New Zealand.
The candidates featured in this post are those who have responded. If you are a candidate in Rongotai and would still like to be included, it’s not too late. Flick me an email at email@example.com and I will slip you in.