Hoping for a bigger Maori turnout
Candidates vying for the seat of Te Tai Hauauru all have one thing in common - they want more Maori to vote in next month's election.
This, along with several other topics were robustly debated when the three hopefuls took part in a political debate held at Witt last night.
A crowd of about 50 people turned up to listen to what the three candidates - Chris McKenzie from the Maori Party, Adrian Rurawhe from Labour and Jack McDonald from the Green Party - had to say.
Although none of the potential MPs live in Taranaki, all said they were committed to the region and Rurawhe and McKenzie both promised to establish an electorate office in Taranaki.
After each candidate introduced themselves, a number of wide-ranging topics were discussed including the foreshore and sea-bed issue, oil and gas exploration and Treaty of Waitangi claims.
Members of the audience also had a chance to ask questions of each candidate, with several focused on the future of Te Reo Maori.
The debate, which was recorded live, is the first of the seven which will take place in each of the Maori electorates between now and the election.
Broadcaster Willie Jackson, who hosted the debate, said the series of programmes would be broadcast on all 20 iwi radio stations and were designed to encourage more Maori to engage with the political system.
"We do this sort of thing so our network is engaged and our people are informed," he said.
The full debate, including political analysis, will broadcast this Friday from 9.30am on Te Korimako o Taranaki 94.8FM.
Included in the programme will be a live talkback session hosted by Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.
Taranaki Daily News