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Green Party to contest Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election

Published: 9:56AM Tuesday May 21, 2013 Source: ONE News

The Green Party says it will contest the upcoming Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.

The Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat was left vacant following the death of Labour MP Parekura Horomia.

Nominations for the Green Party candidacy have opened and a candidate selection meeting will be held on May 24.

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said the party has attracted support from Maori communities and it can "return that support with a campaign to win Ikaroa Rawhiti with a great candidate".

"We know that there are many exciting opportunities for Ikaroa Rawhiti, not the least being sustainable economic development to provide decent jobs, instead of risking the environment with dangerous mining."

She said the candidate will work closely with whanau, hapu and iwi to provide affordable and healthy housing, good jobs that pay a living wage and education.

"Te Reo is under threat and we need more support to retain our taonga. Similarly there are many challenges with our whenua, Maori land issues are complex but real opportunities for positive change also exist."

Turei said the party honours Horomia's years of commitment.

"He too focused on the fundamentals, housing, employment and education for rangatahi."

Shane Taurima joins race

Yesterday Shane Taurima announced he had joined the race for the Labour Party candidacy for the by-election.

The General Manager of TVNZ's Maori and Pacific Programmes said Horomia, who died last month after battling a number of health issues, had spoken to him about entering politics in 2007 about the 2008 election, and then again in 2011.

"Given my career choice and the absolute need to be impartial, apolitical and professional I would politely decline his approaches and he respected me for that. It wasn't my time back then. I wasn't ready. But I am ready now."

Taurima is now on leave from TVNZ until the by-election is completed.

Taurima will first need to secure the party's support against Hayden Hape, a board member of Ngati Kahungunu, who also announced his intentions today.

The CEO for Ngati Kahungunu, Meka Whatiri, also announced last week that she intended to stand for Labour in the by-election.

Other runners

The Maori Party has announced union man Na Raihania will be its candidate in the by-election. He ran against Horomia in 2011, and took 23% of the vote.

Raihania says big issues such as jobs, education and health with be important in his campaign, as well as some smaller local problems.

The Mana Party will also be putting forward a candidate for the seat and is expected to announce its nomination this week.

The by-election has been set for June 29.