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NZ First candidate for East Coast announced

NZ First candidate for East Coast announced

New Zealand First today announced the party's endorsement of Mere Takoko as the candidate for the East Coast electorate in the 2014 General Election.

Mere Takoko is a business journalist and communications specialist who recently gave up her marketing role at the Eastern Institute of Technology to take up the opportunity to campaign for New Zealand First.

She is of Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Whanau a Apanui, Te Arawa and Hauraki-Waikato (Tainui) descent.
"I am elated and I'm looking forward to rejuvenating the ranks of New Zealand First and providing a fresh set of ideas to the party as well as a new and younger voice to advocate for the concerns of the East Coast electorate," says Ms Takoko.

"There is an obvious swing from National that is occurring in the East Coast which is a strong indicator that our electorate feels 'shut out' by a central Government that is out of touch with farmers, foresters and our primary sector in general.

"If you're running a country, you've got to try to create an opportunity for all of your business sectors to be competitive not just those that prop-up Wall Street or the Shanghai Stock Exchange. What we need in our electorate is a long-term economic strategy that can not only boost our manufacturing and export industries but also our SME sector.

Ms Takoko says her focus campaigning with New Zealand First will be to identify ways to recreate a thriving SME sector so that ex-pats living in Australia, Auckland, Christchurch and other urban centres can come home and raise their families.

"I'm on a mission to bring talent back to the East Coast and believe New Zealand First will negotiate the best deal for the regions. Some of the key policy platforms I plan to campaign on include:

* An investment back into public transport to lower the country's carbon footprint. That includes railways of national significance and bringing back the Gisborne-Napier railway,

* Stimulate the manufacturing and export sector by bringing the New Zealand dollar down against foreign currencies and to support the forestry sectors NZ$2bn proposal to create 50,000 new jobs to the regions,

* Stop National's big sell off of strategic assets in oil and gas, energy, transport and farming. That includes reviewing current MBIE and NZP&M negotiations for developments on the East Coast where few royalties or jobs are coming back to the region.

"There's a lot of things to be critical about the way the National Government has managed the economy and its prime focus on big business, and there's a lot of things that aren't working in Government including its inability to protect our export sector which is being pounded by our high dollar.

"New Zealand First has a plan to boost regional development and keep the interests of Key's wall-street fraternity at bay. I refute the idea that farming and our primary industries are sunset industries and plan to advocate for centrist economic policies that bring not only high wages but sustainable jobs back to the East Coast.

"If we can fix the economy of the East Coast then all our social and cultural wellbeing indicators will rise. People can't dedicate themselves to voluntary work, higher learning or partake in cultural activities and the arts if they are stuck in low-wage jobs working up to 14 hours a day just to make ends meet. A low-wage economy is the reason why our traditional institutions and values are dying off.

"I believe that New Zealand First is the only party that uses a common sense approach to transitioning this country to a clean tech and low carbon economy. That means a significant R&D investment into our key export sectors to ensure they can meet the future obligations of the global market.

Ms Takoko says that she is optimistic of New Zealand's chances for social, cultural and economic prosperity which has been blighted over the years by National's ideological experimenting.

"I cannot accept the notion that neo-liberalism has been good for New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses. We cannot let any more of our lands, waterways or ocean and mineral resources fall into foreign ownership.

"That is why I am really clear about the reasons that I am standing for New Zealand First.

"New Zealand First will put the concerns of New Zealand citizens first not the interests of foreign multinational corporations," says Ms Takoko.

END

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