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Maaori candidates answer call for local body elections

Maaori candidates answer call for local body elections

Waikato-Tainui is celebrating the record number of Maaori candidates who are standing for this year’s local body elections and urges citizens to vote.

“It is time to acknowledge our emerging leaders who have put themselves forward for public office to serve their local communities, which includes thousands of Maaori citizens in Waikato,” says Te Whakakitenga o Waikato Chair Parekāwhia McLean.

“Councils dismissed the idea of Maaori wards and insisted Maaori back themselves in the elections, and they have accepted that challenge, which takes real courage and commitment.

“We now urge ratepayers to match that commitment by voting.”

Te Arataura Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen said critics of Maaori candidates couldn’t have it both ways.

“It’s untenable for people to say Maaori need to compete on the same footing as non-Maaori candidates and then say they can’t campaign for votes.

“Local politicians have insisted on a level playing field and our people have taken that on board. They have turned out in record numbers to compete for local representation, which is healthy for our democracy and our communities.”

Waikato-Tainui tribal leaders say they encourage all candidates to campaign positively and to promote their policies to voters.

ends

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