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Nadja Embacher: Will Faith Move Mountains?

Will Faith Move Mountains?

by Nadja Embacher
Article courtesy of Merge Magazine

“Nothing is easy,” says Ravi Musuku. That seems an understatement coming from the man who is National’s candidate for Mt Albert, competing against none other than Helen Clark in her electorate. A relative newcomer to the political game, he is seen by many as a clever chess move by National to divide votes on the PM’s own turf.

Ravi Musuku is a Baptist pastor by calling and is now trying to combine his religious work with a political agenda. With catch phrases like “fighting against the ills of society and the rising crime rates”, the move from the pulpit to parliament seems not such a stretch anymore. Seeking to widen the circle of his congregation to the electorate and beyond was his motivation for going into politics. “Politics affects everyone. That is why I want to be involved in the decision-making process and I want the right decision to be made. I’m helping a small group of people in church, now I want to help a larger group.”

Why he is standing for National is easily explained, “National and my values are quite similar.” When the National Party invited him to join the party and become a candidate, he was not surprised. Although never having previously been involved in political work, he does not question the motive behind summoning him to mount an attack on the PM’s home seat. He rests in the faith that National “will have done their research” before putting him up against the country’s toughest candidate.

Thus, his decision to take up the challenge was quickly reached and his congregation is definitely excited about his campaigning. But he admits “people feel religion and politics don’t mingle.”

One has to confess that “creating strong families that are the backbone of any healthy society” and offering “good family values” is a sermon that sounds just as hollow from the pulpit as from the political podium if not followed by sound policies and, above all, action. And in politics words usually speak louder than action.

Unsurprisingly, the first thing on Musuku’s and National’s list is fighting crime which is apparently “growing out of proportion”. “National will fix that first, then education, then create strong families,” he believes.

For immigration, Mr Musuku is convinced National has as comprehensive a policy. He declares, “It was a National government that opened up the nation for immigrants and it’s Labour that has tightened it with their policy.”

Personally, as an MP, he says he will achieve these things by means of an open door policy. “Making a difference in small ways and helping one person will have consequences”, he believes. Surely, getting “personal satisfaction from helping people” must be an added bonus.

“NZ is my country of adoption, my home, my dreams are here,” he states and, who knows, he might be on the way to fulfilling them.

“Among politicians the esteem of religion is profitable; the principles of it are troublesome.”

Benjamin Whichcote


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