Maori passport advocate runs for Tai Tokerau

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 16:15 31/05/2011

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The man behind the issue of "Maori passports" 10 years ago will stand as a candidate in the Tai Tokerau by-election next month.

Registration for candidates closed at 12pm today and the by-election will be held on June 25.

As expected Hone Harawira will stand for Mana, Solomon Tipene for the Maori Party and Kelvin Davis for Labour.

Maki Herbert will represent the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and Kelvyn Alp with OurNZ Party.

Alp was part of the Armed Intervention Force group that surfaced in 2000, threatening a series of attacks in Wellington and issuing its own Maori passports on behalf of the 'Maori Government of Aotearoa'. He used the passports himself to travel to the Solomon Islands.

Alp was also allegedly involved in a campaign of threats against a BNZ boss and later formed the Direct Democracy Party which stood in the 2005 election. Former National Front leader Kyle Chapman stood for the party in Christchurch East.

Now the leader of the OurNZ Party, Alp is campaigning on  the need for a series of binding referenda to form a constitution and a tax of one percent on all financial transactions to replace existing taxes.

In a press release to announce his by-election candidacy, Alp said it did not matter that he had white skin and was not from the electorate.

"All representatives to date have been from the area, so how has that worked out for you all so far? You either want solutions or you want egos. I am not aligned to any particular hapu or iwi, so can serve all equally. I also know probably more about the system and how it really operates than those that will also contest."

The by-election was sparked when Harawira resigned last month. Harawira could have stayed on in Parliament following his split with the Maori Party because he was the Tai Tokerau MP.

Instead he chose to resign and force the by-election saying it would allow him to return with a mandate.

He won the seat in 2008 with a majority of 6308.

Electoral Commission chief electoral officer Robert Peden said they would now begin printing and distributing ballot papers to be ready for advance voting which starts on June 8.

There will be 133  polling places open on election day.

"Te Tai Tokerau voters who will be outside their electorate on Saturday, 25 June, should vote in advance, because polling places will only be available inside the electorate on election day," Peden said.

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