Maori Party's first Asian candidate targets diverse communities
The Maori Party's first Asian candidate wants to "make New Zealand great again".
Wetex Kang, of Chinese and Malay descent, invoked United States president Donald Trump's favourite catchphrase at the party's campaign launch at Manurewa Marae in Auckland on Saturday.
Kang is contesting the Botany seat in East Auckland, held by National's Jami-Lee Ross, and said he wants voters to consider a two-for-one deal and vote for him to bridge both parties.
He also wants to introduce Maori wardens to East Auckland.
* Recap: National's EV pledge, Labour on equal pay, and Maori party launches campaign
* Maori Party offers olive branch to Labour, who could vanquish them
* IwiRail: Maori Party want mothballed tracks reopened in regional NZ
"A lot of voters in Botany will look at this as an example of a celebration of diversity and bringing all cultures together," Kang said.
"If a Chinese person can stand for the Maori Party then Pakeha can and other Asians can stand. It's not about Maori or Chinese, it's about New Zealand being great again."
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell told the press conference that having Chinese and Pacific candidates in the party is a natural fit.
"We have come together in the same waka in the absolute belief that we can represent their interests," Flavell said.
"Their voice has been marginalised and they have not had that space in parliament."
The Maori Party's campaign launch was attended by a strong contingent of supporters, as well as the party's 20 candidates.
Co-leader Marama Fox said the party, whose campaign slogan is Make it Maori, Make it Happen, was willing to go into coalition with either National or Labour, despite their wariness of Labour's treatment of Pacific and Maori in the past.
With the upswing of the party's Pacific and Chinese whanau Fox is confident the party will get to seven per cent of the party vote at the election.
"We've never had more than four per cent of the party vote since our inception but we are growing, we feel the swing, and we know we can do it," she said.
Education, housing, water, and economy were among the party's key policy announcements, and it is pushing for its own Maori and Pacific housing minister.
Fox said the party wants a rent freeze on social housing accommodation, with pathways for home ownership, and low interest home loans.
A Maori and Pacific housing minister will ensure there's someone in government who understands the issues that affect Maori and Pacific people, she said.