Election 2014

21 Nov 2011

Tamaki Makaurau candidates focus on jobs, housing and economy

8:01 pm on 21 November 2011

Jobs, the economy and housing are prominent policies among candidates in the Maori electorate of Tamaki Makaurau.

The urban electorate includes central Auckland and parts of Waitakere and Manukau cities.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and the sitting MP for the electorate says his deal struck with the National Party is still to deliver jobs for Maori through opportunities from the roll-out of high-speed broadband.

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Radio New Zealand's Te Manu Korihi News asked Dr Sharples what he wanted to do for the people in his electorate, but he chose to focus on national issues fundamental to all Maori: the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi today and the future of Te Reo.

"To complete this review of Maori language, to put into place the blocks to ensure that the teaching of Maori is strong and co-ordinated and the resources are available to it, and that iwi who own the language have a major say in it.

"The other thing is the constitutional review and in the main this is a very important thing for Maori, to see where the Treaty lies in our time."

Labour's candidate, list MP Shane Jones, also took a national focus, saying his top priority is the economy.

The party's spokesperson on Maori Affairs, Fisheries, and Transport, envisages the export sector will provide a boost to the economy, which he expects will lead to more employment and work training.

Mr Jones says it has an innovative policy for companies to recruit young beneficiaries as apprentices and for their dole money to be paid to the company.

He says the policy will upskill rangatahi (youth) and will also financially allow businesses the to bring more in employees.

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Also competing for the seat is Mana candidate Kereama Pene. A political newcomer, the senior minister for the Ratana Church and a Treaty of Waitangi advocate is more focused on the Auckland region's priorities.

Mr Pene says a pressing matter is housing.

"We're actually short of something like 20,000 state houses and that's part of our employment policy. We are looking at jobs in terms of building houses for state tenants. There's a desperate housing shortage in New Zealand and we also need jobs."

Another contender vying for the Auckland seat is the Greens' Mikaere Curtis, No 26 on the party's list.

In a recently released poll, Pita Sharples is well ahead of his opponents. The Te Karere Digipoll shows he has picked up 58% support, while Shane Jones has 23% and Kereama Pene has 14%. The poll of 400 voters from the Maori roll was taken over the last three weeks of October and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.