Maori Party to run candidate for Botany seat
The Maori Party’s first Asian candidate wants to ‘‘make New Zealand great again’’.
Wetex Kang, of Chinese and Malay descent, invoked United States President Donald Trump’s favourite catchphrase at the party’s campaign launch at Manurewa Marae last Saturday.
Kang is contesting the Botany seat, held by National’s Jami-Lee Ross, and says he wants voters to consider a two-for-one deal and vote for him to bridge both parties. He also wants to introduce Maori wardens to East Auckland.
‘‘A lot of voters in Botany will look at this as an example of a celebration of diversity and bringing all cultures together,’’ Kang says.
‘‘If a Chinese person can stand for the Maori Party then Pakeha can and other Asians can stand. It’s not about Maori or Chinese, it’s about New Zealand being great again.’’
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell told the press conference that having Chinese and Pacific candidates in the party is a natural fit.
‘‘We have come together in the same waka in the absolute belief that we can represent their interests,’’ Flavell said.
‘‘Their voice has been marginalised and they have not had that space in parliament.’’
The Maori Party’s campaign launch was attended by a strong contingent of supporters, as well as the party’s 20 candidates, including Carrie Stoddart-Smith, standing in Pakuranga.
Co-leader Marama Fox said the party, whose campaign slogan is Make it Maori, Make it Happen, was willing to go into coalition with either National or Labour, despite their wariness of Labour’s treatment of Pacific and Maori in the past.
With the upswing of the party’s Pacific and Chinese whanau, Fox is confident the party will get to seven per cent of the party vote at the election.
‘‘We’ve never had more than four per cent of the party vote since our inception but we are growing, we feel the swing, and we know we can do it,’’ she said.
Education, housing, water, and economy were among the party’s key policy announcements, and it’s pushing for its own Maori and Pacific housing minister.
Fox said the party wants a rent freeze on social housing accommodation, with pathways for home ownership, and low interest home loans.
‘‘It's not about Maori or Chinese, it's about New Zealand being great again.’’
The Maori Party’s general election campaign was launched at Manurewa Marae on August 12.
Wetex Kang is the Maori Party’s first Asian candidate. He’s contesting the Botany seat.