18 Nov 2011

Oil drilling, jobs debated in Ikaroa-Rawhiti

11:25 am on 18 November 2011

Oil drilling off East Cape, job creation for school leavers and reducing poverty, are some of the issues candidates vying for the Maori seat of Ikaroa-Rawhiti are debating.

The electorate takes in the eastern side of the North Island from just north of Wellington to East Cape and is home to the second and third largest iwi in New Zealand.

Labour's Parekura Horomia, who has been in Parliament since 1999 and held several portfolios including Minister of Maori Affairs is being challenged for the seat by two political newcomers.


Mr Horomia told Radio New Zealand's Te Manu Korihi News that there are significant contrasts in the employment rate and the income range between cities and small towns in the electorate, which needs addressing.

He says the ugliness of unemployment has been rearing its head in the electorate over the past 18 months, and he's never seen so many families under such financial pressure.

His goal if re-elected to Parliament is to improve the lives of young people in the electorate.

He says about half those between the ages of 16 and 24 don't have a job nor the educational qualifications to get one, and they're not on a benefit.

Maori Party candidate Na Raihania is a former PSA president and the current Gisborne Maori Relationship Board Chairman Na Raihania.


He has taken over a year off from his job with the Corrections Department at Hawke's Bay prison to concentrate on his election campaign.

Na Raihania says of all the issues which need addressing in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, reducing family violence is one of the most important.

He says there is far too much violence in Maori society and people such as himself have to not only stand up against it but encourage others to do so.

Another first time candidate is the Mana Party's Tawhai McClutchie, who runs a manuka honey business.

He says 15 years of working on oil rigs off the coast of Scotland and New Zealand has cemented his opposition to oil exploration off East Cape or on land in Ikaroa- Rawhiti.

Mr McClutchie says the first rig he worked on - the Piper Alpha in the North Sea off Scotland - burned down to below sea level and killed more than 160 men and he's worked on other rigs that have had explosions due to the lack of control of gas.

He says any accident as a result of drilling in the Raukumara basin off East Cape would be disastrous.

Mr McClutchie says if elected to Parliament he wants more emphasis on addressing the issues of poverty and lifting the economy on the East Coast.