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Progressive's Auckland Candidates Selected

Entrepreneur, MP, specialist & barrister campaign for Party Vote '05

The Progressive Party today selected four talented individuals to campaign for the party vote in four Auckland electorates in next year's general election.

"Progressive will be campaigning for the party vote in next year's election as a pro-growth and pro-jobs insurance policy," says Matt Robson MP, selected today to campaign for the party vote in the Tamaki electorate.

"Jim Anderton and I are proud of our achievements in coalition government over the past five years, but there remains work to do to ensure we achieve our full potential as a society and as an economy," Matt Robson said.

"In government so far we've put in place a comprehensive regional and industry development framework, significantly upped the investment in skills training, established Kiwibank to deliver affordable banking services around the country, delivered four weeks annual leave and paid parental leave to encourage working parents to stay in the workforce and out of welfare.

"We've put in place a comprehensive framework to help communities combat the evil of drug and alcohol abuse and we're proud that unemployment is down to its lowest level in a generation.

"But we want New Zealand to perform much better still. We want a full-employment economy. We want to move toward universal access to tertiary and pre-school education. We believe there is significant scope to improve the housing of all New Zealanders and we think our economy can perform even better than it already is," Matt Robson said.

"I think it is significant that the four candidates selected to campaign for the party vote in Auckland today are either bilingual or multilingual. Progressive is a party that reflects the bright, positive future which is New Zealand," Matt Robson said.

"Voters will next year be asked to consider which party should be in coalition with Labour. We believe a party tick for Progressive is a vote of confidence in a brighter, more confident and strong future," he said.

Progressive candidates for Tamaki, Epsom, Maungakiekie and Pakuranga.

Matt Robson MP – Tamaki electorate

As the Minister in charge of the prison service in the 1999 – 2002 Government, Matt Robson has had to oversee the building of more prisons, thanks to the failed policies of any previous Minister, which resulted in soaring crime rates and overcrowded prisons. Yet, just as importantly, he has also focused on turning the crime statistics around by actively promoting early intervention and re-integration strategies for inmates. As Minister for Courts, Matt introduced the victim-centered restorative justice process into the court system. In his role as Minister responsible for overseas development aid and specialist professional development agencies, NZAID was established.

He is currently a List MP and Deputy-Leader of the Progressive Party. In this term of government, Matt has successfully promoted and won four weeks annual leave for all New Zealanders with his private members bill and is currently campaigning for a return of the drinking age to 20. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and chair of the Privileges Select Committee.

Prior to entering Parliament in 1996, Matt was a barrister, specializing in immigration and labour law. He formed the Union law Centre in South Auckland 1989. Part of his legal studies was undertaken at the International Court of Justice, The Hague, (the World Court). Previous to that he had been a teacher in Otara (1980 – 1984). He is married with two teenage boys, speaks three languages apart from English and is passionate about rugby league.

For further information, phone Matt Robson on 021 909 936.

Dr Fatima Ashrafi – Epsom electorate

Fatima Ashrafi is a specialist doctor in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She was born in Bangladesh and has worked and trained in Iran, Ireland, United Kingdom and now lives with her family in Epsom and works as the Senior Registrar at High Risk Maternal Foetal Medicine in the National Women’s’ Hospital.

Fatima is married with four sons and is committed to working hard to make New Zealand a place where aspirations meet opportunity. Fatima speaks Urdu, Persian and Bengali as well as English fluently and enjoys reading and films and is a fan of ‘Shortland St’.

For further information, phone Dr Ashrafi on 021 175 9985

Sione Fonua – Maungakiekie electorate

Sione Fonua is a Barrister and Solicitor and has a sole practice in Freemans Bay, specializing in General, Family and Employment Law. Sione is a Tongan by birth and gained his Honours Degree in Law in 1985 at the University of London.

Sione Fonua is a member of the Legal Aid Review panel in Auckland, a trustee of his church and was a founder of the Auckland Tongan Rugby Association. He is married with three children and is keen on rugby, squash, tennis and reading.

For further information, phone Sione Fonua on 0274 163 150

Meng Ly – Pakuranga electorate

Meng Ly arrived in New Zealand as a refugee from the Cambodian ‘killing fields’, escaping through Thailand and finally onto New Zealand. Although he trained as a pharmacist in Cambodia, he was initially employed in New Zealand as a machine operator. Meng Ly is now a success business entrepreneur and investor.

Meng is on the Board of Social Services in Auckland, Deputy Chairman of the New Zealand Chao Zhou Association and is chair of the Progressive’s 100K Club for fundraising. Meng speaks Cambodian, Chinese, Thai and English.

Meng and his wife Sue live on Ti Rakau Drive, in the path of the Eastern motorway. They have four children, three at university and one still at school.

For further information, phone Meng Ly on 0272 845 077

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