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The Conservative Party has announced its first two candidates, two Pacific Islanders, both with ties to the South Auckland community, a traditional stronghold for Labour votes.
Dr Edward Saafi will stand in Mangere, and Elliot Ikelei will stand in Manurewa, the party says in a just released statement.
The electorates are two of Labour's safest seats. Louisa Wall, who introduced the private member's bill that lead to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in April 2013, won 14,961 votes in Manurewa at the 2011 election. Sua William Sio won Mangere with 18,117 votes. The second-placed contender, National list MP Claudette HautiI, got 3018
The newly announced candidates plan to campaign at the Mangere markets from 10:30am tomorrow.
Dr Saafi unsuccessfully ran for Auckland’s Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board and the Auckland District Health Board in 2010.
Although the National Party is arguing for the Pacific vote on religious grounds, the Conservative Party says in a statement it can better represent the values of the Pacific Island community better than either National, Labour, or any other party.
“You don’t have to look far to realise that National are not a party that are looking out for Pacific Islanders. National have supported the legalisation of synthetic cannabis, they have refused to cap short-term loan rates, and John Key himself went against his electorate to support gay marriage, which the Pacific community rejects,” Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig says.
“While many Pacific Islanders still have an allegiance to the Labour party, awareness of Labour’s policies is now growing in the community, and Pacific Islanders are considering the differences between the National Party and the Conservative Party,” he says.
“We are very confident that South Auckland is a community that will be voting for the Conservative Party both in the coming election, and in the future,” Mr Craig says.
Candidates in two key electorates still to be named
The Conservative Party is still who will stand in the new Upper Harbour electorate in Auckland, where some pundits think it has a shot (National has already named who will run in the seat - Paula Bennett, effectively ruling out a cup-of-tea accommodation).
No has it said if leader Colin Craig or another Conservative will run in East Coast Bays, where some are hoping the incumbent Murray McCully will retire (so far, the National MP has given no indication he will step down).