Candidate wants to stir public interest

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 17/07/2014

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Labour's candidate for Te Tai Hauauru is trying to tackle voter apathy by contacting everyone enrolled in his patch.

That's no small task in a Maori electorate that stretches from Porirua and the Wairarapa up through Manawatu and Taranaki to Tokoroa.

Adrian Rurawhe was in Palmerston North yesterday with the city's Labour MP, Iain Lees-Galloway.

He said by August his campaign team would have rung every Maori voter with a landline in the electorate.

That's about 68 per cent of his potential voters; to get to the rest he's going door to door.

Politics has been a part of Rurawhe's life since he was a child. He is the descendant of two Labour MPs and first volunteered for the party at the age of 11. He stayed with the party until 2005, when he was working for Tariana Turia, and followed her from Labour to the Maori Party, which she formed in the wake of the Seabed and Foreshore Act.

Rurawhe said he rejoined Labour "some time after 2008".

"I believe definitely the Labour Party has acknowledged what happened and what could have been done better."

The benefits the Maori Party had promised through being in government with National had not rung true for Maori, he said.

Wages were too low, unemployment was too high, poverty was too rife and too many young Maori were leaving the country to find work in Australia, Rurawhe said.

"I have to acknowledge the gains but the price that we have paid as a people under National has been significant."

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- Manawatu Standard

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