Samoan minister to challenge for Auckland mayoralty

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 08:38 01/07/2013

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A Samoan minister is preparing to take on Len Brown for the Auckland mayoralty in a contest which is likely to divide traditional loyalties for the current mayor.

Reverend Uesifili Unasa joins Brown, activists John Minto and Penny Bright and millionaire businessman John Palino in the race for the top spot.

Unasa said today that the first term had been a "huge challenge" for the mayor and council to bring together the many different legacy councils, but Aucklanders needed to consider whether people or projects were being put first.

"I think it's important when we have elections that we are able to contest ideas. I believe that the issues now are very profound and important for Aucklanders to consider.

"The vision that was set out that Auckland be the world's most liveable city has to be tested again.

"Is the vision about people or about what we can build on roads and tunnels and trains? We have got to get the issues right and the priorities right and it seems to me that we have got to ask the question again of our leaders. Are people being put before the projects?"

Unasa said the contest was not a personal one between he and Brown, who is revered amongst the Pacific community, but a contest of ideas.

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