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‘In it for you!’ That’s the Labour Party’s slogan for this election and it’s the message that all the party’s Pasifika candidates are campaigning on.
But what is ‘in it’ for the Pacific Islands communities?
Running in the Kelston electorate, Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni says Labour has a lot to offer.
“Certainly, things like the free dental care for under 30s and we have a younger demographic and so our people will benefit from that,” she says.
“We’re also more likely to be in low-income households and so that cost is often out of reach for our people.
“We’ve committed to the free public transport for children and half price for young people and half price for community service card holders.
“These are all things that make a difference to the amount of money that households have that’s at risk from some political parties.”
Further afield, in his first term as the MP for Takanini, Dr Anae Neru Levasa, as a GP, is naturally big on health issues.
“More recently we put out the scrapping of the $5 prescription fee. I think that’s been a huge plus for us as Pasifika,” he says.
“You know, as a medical doctor, I’ve seen many of my patients go without even asking us clinicians, is the medicine within the clinic?”
In the suburb of Otara is MP Jenny Salesa’s office. The Labour candidate for Panmure-Otahuhu says she’s busy in her constituency with her campaign team.
“We invest a lot in our people. Labour is the party that looks after our people,” Salesa says.
“When you talk about housing, state houses, you know, that’s something that was started by a Labour government. And when you look at the numbers of houses that’s been built under this government, over 13,000 have been built.
“This electorate in South Auckland, there are so many people that live in those public houses or Kainga Ora houses. And so that’s one reason why, you know, people should vote for Labour in terms of investment in general.”
Across in Papakura, Labour List MP Anahila Kanongata’a is standing for the Party in this electorate.
“Kids, stop me on the street to say, ‘Can you thank the Prime Minister? My Dad said, we can turn the heater on because of the winter energy payment,” says an emotional Kanongata’a.
“That is another reason why we need to tell our stories more, because that’s relatable to people than just saying winter energy payment.”
There is no mistaking the emotional commitment of these MP’s but, Sepuloni admits that this election has brought out the best and worst in the community.
“It’s been heated at times. This campaign feels a little bit different from some of the others that I’ve been involved in, unfortunately a lot more race-based baiting from some political parties,” she says.
“Makes me feel a bit sad, actually, you know, especially considering Māori and Pacific are often on the receiving end of some of the negative rhetoric. But we were out there to fight and win this.
“We’re just going to keep working hard. We’re really trying to bring home to our communities, our Pasifika community, on why it is important to vote.”