Clergy switch from Labour to National

Last updated 15:31 01/04/2014

Relevant offers


New Zealand and Australia condemn Japan for resuming Southern Ocean whaling Education Minister Hekia Parata announces Marlborough colleges decision Jenny Shipley: Why we need a silver fern flag Faces of Innocents: Too many children are dying, are we about to break another promise? Children's flag referendum views are being heard by voters in their families 'Our job is not to censor. We're not serving the political elite, business or corporations' Stacey Kirk: Strewth! Join Australia? They're a bunch of flaming galahs! 'I don't want to be prime minister' – Jacinda Ardern Jacinda Ardern in da House – from red carpet celebrity to green leather politician Former Australian detainee burglary arrest not a surprise - Andrew Little

A small group of influential Pacific Island clergy have sparked fierce debate in South Auckland after they declared they would switch their support from the traditional Labour Party to the National Party.

The action, taken at the Manurewa flea market on Sunday, is under fire on Pacific Island social media.

The ministers involved have been criticised for not consulting their parishes.

The move has also sparked another meeting next Sunday when, under the auspices of a Samoan Catholic Church, 23 churches will meet to discuss political parties and Christian values.

The South Auckland electorates are traditionally Labour thanks in large part to church-going Pacific Islanders.

A Seventh Day Adventist minister, Teleiai Edwin Puni, said he and five other Seventh Day Adventist ministers – all recognised in the Pacific community – met National MP Cam Calder on Sunday.

"If we are to defend our Christian values and build a brighter future for New Zealand families, we need to engage our Pacific people and vote National," Puni said.

Fundamentalist pastor Sooalo Setu Mu'a said they had been supporting Labour.

"To change from wearing red to blue is not an easy thing for our Pacific communities who have been voting Labour over the years."

But on Pacific Facebook and Twitter sites the declaration has drawn criticism, with several noting that the ministers had worn blue T-shirts stating: "I'm a KEY person".

"Is this the same John Key who voted for same-sex marriage?" one person commented.

Another was critical of ministers being involved in politics.

"Jesus didn't say just love a certain group of people. Gonna stop now ... "

A former Labour voter said he believed "both parties have let our people down many times".

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media


Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?



Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content