Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

From red to green – Fa’anānā back in the political arena

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Photo: Simon Maude/Stuff
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Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

Former Auckland City mayoral hopeful and Manukau Ward councillor Fa’anānā Efeso Collins has secured a spot relatively high on the Green Party list for the 2023 general elections.

The list is a draft and ranks Fa’anānā at number 12 from a list of more than 32 potential candidates. It will go to a membership vote before the final list is published near the end of May, where there could be some movement in rankings.

However, on current polling, Fa’anānā’s position puts him close to the cusp of becoming an MP.

Fa’anānā’s spent much of his career in local body politics under the Labour Party banner or with the party’s endorsement.

Speaking with reporter John Pulu, earlier this week, he says he is honoured and humbled to get the nod from the Green Party.

“I see it as a real expression of trust and confidence in me to be able to serve them the way I continue to serve the community,” Fa’anānā says.

The father of two says the key pillars of the Green Party were similar to what he campaigned on during the Mayoralty race, describing it as a natural fit.

“Deep ambition and aspiration, dealing with inequality and getting charged up when it comes to climate action and ensuring we are looking after the environment,” he says.

Housing transiency, housing unaffordability, low rates of social housing are some of the areas Fa’anānā will campaign on and he is well aware of the impact these issues have, not only the wider community, but for Maori and Pacific.

He says his focus during the campaign will be to bring awareness to the community about what the Green Party stands for.

“I want people to think seriously when it comes to voting for the Greens… it’s important we walk the talk when it comes to tackling the implications of rising sea levels for the Pacific and the increase of climate refugees from Pacific Island States in the future.”

Issues that are closer to home, Fa’anānā says, “we have to get our young people through schooling, to ensure they are moving into good jobs, good training opportunities.

“Strong advocacy is going to be needed at the government table in order for us all to flourish,” he adds.

Of Samoan and Tokelauan heritage, Fa’anānā is well aware of the work he has in front of him in the lead up to election day, October 14.

He is hoping that the party will also confirm his candidacy in the coming weeks to stand in the electorate of Panmure/Otahuhu. The seat formerly known as Manukau East has been held since 2014 by Labour MP Jenny Salesa.

Fa’anānā says he is excited by the prospect to stand in the electorate he and his wife Fia and their two children call home. While the seat is considered a safe seat for Labour, Fa’anānā says it gives the community a chance to see there are other options.

Also of Pacific heritage and representing the Green Party is current list MP Teanau Tuiono.

Ranked at number six, the Greens spokesperson for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples will contest the seat for Palmerston North.

Fa’anānā says this election is a significant one and encourages people to register and make their vote count. He says he is excited to campaign on the policies and work for what the Green Party stands for.

“Here is someone who has a strong advocacy record, and people know I have been a councillor, people know me. I shop locally, my children go to school locally. I think it’s important you’ve got someone local, a strong local voice.”

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