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Seven Pasifika MPs elected - highest number ever

Seven Pasifika MPs elected - highest number ever


Monday, September 22, 2014

Item: 8983

Jenny Salesa, Manukau East (Labour)
Carmel Sepuloni, Kelston (Labour)
Su'a William Sio, Mangere (Labour)
Poto Williams, Christchurch East (Labour)
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Maungakiekie (National)
• Alfred Ngaro, Te Atatu list MP (National)
Kris Fa'afo'i, Mana electorate (Labour)

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch / The New Zealand Herald): The highest number of Pasifika MPs elected in New Zealand's history were voted in at the weekend general election.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that seven Pasifika MPs hasd been elected - up from six in the 2011 election and four in the 2008 election.

The conservative National Party, which won the elections for a hird term in office, largely failed to "influence electorates with a high Pasifika population", the Herald said.

However, only two of the Pasifika MPs were National Party candidates while the other five were from the Labour Party, which has traditionally had strong ties with the Pasifika community.

The MP for Mangere in South Auckland, Su'a William Sio of the Labour Party, told the New Zealand Herald that he was proud to see more Pasifika people become MPs:

"The fact we have these seats is a very significant achievement and reflects that this is our home. We're also getting a lot of support from working class communities and people from many other ethnic groups as we share the same values."

While Pasifika candidates made progress, the election results were a blow for grassroots Māori activism, with anti-eviction, anti-poverty activist MP Hone Harawira of the Internet Mana alliance losing his seat in Te Tai Tokerau to the Labour Party'sKelvin Davis.

Fairfax Media reported that "the significance of the battle for Te Tai Tokerau was cast into sharp relief in the last few days of the campaign, with both Prime Minister John Key and NZ First leader Winston Peters urging their supporters to vote for Labour Party candidate Kelvin Davis to defeat Harawira and shut Internet Mana out of Parliament".

John Minto of The Daily Blog also explored the issue, writing that "Davis and the right wing of Labour saw changing the government as a second priority to driving MANA out of Parliament. Davis preferred to be a MP on the losing team rather than a supporter of the winning team".

Davis told Māori Television that the Labour Party "needs to take heed of how Māori have come back and supported us and without the Māori vote we'd be really struggling."

The Labour Party won six of the seven Māori seats overall.

The Māori party, which is in an alliance with National, lost votes and now has just two MPs, down from three in the last election.


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