Two Māori women have made it into Labour’s top 20 on the party list and they are pushing for more support in their communities.
Far North District Councillor Willow-Jean Prime and Whakatāne lawyer Kiritapu Allen spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters about their goals for the elections.
Prime says poverty is rife in Northland and most young people there are unemployed.
So she wants to transition from local Government to Parliament because she believes that’s where she will have the mana to make change.
“What I want to do is develop Northland. My experience in regional councils will help improve the road, trains, ferries and the airport,” she says.
Prime also wants to work with the youth and create tourism opportunities in Northland.
She says, “You saw the incident in Kaikohe last month. That was spurred by a lack of employment.”
Kiritapu Allen wants to work hard to include the community in politics.
She says, “We need to earn back the trust and confidence of our whānau out there on the ground.”
But she’s also realistic that it all relies on the votes at the September elections.
Allen says, “Last election as you all know, we got our lowest ever ranking – 24%. On that poll, no I’m not in the house. I go in at about 27%.”
Allen grew up in Whakatane and says there was never any homelessness until now.
“Our whanau that are living in tents – this stuff isn’t made up. It’s really real.”
“The role of Government is to make sure that we are looking after every single person that is a part of our community. That means, by making sure people are getting into half decent homes.”
The 2017 elections will be held on Saturday September 23.