It will soon be time to vote for a Mayor for Auckland Super City and for members of Community Boards and Health Boards.
This is an important responsibility for all Auckland residents.
However, the percent of voting in the past local elections has not been high. We must resolve to exercise our franchise because the ensuing election would be the most important for the future of Auckland than any of its predecessors.
It will determine who will lead our Super City, who will hold Crown Controlled Organisations to account and who will ensure the candidates participate in the governance of the City.
This is also the first time that many people from ethnic communities are among the candidates seeking election.
We have probably the largest number of ethnic candidates who are contesting in the local Boards. It seems that the ethnic communities have discovered the importance of participation in the political process.
It is however not clear what many ethnic candidates represent.
What is not widely known for instance is that the Citizens and Rate Payers ticket is essentially that of the National Party. Why they do not stand on that ticket is a mystery; or perhaps it is a disguise for some odd reason.
The Labour Party has a small number of people standing on its ticket but there is no Auckland-wide Labour ticket.
I urge Indian Newslink readers to attend candidate meetings and question the candidates. They should get an assurance that the Super City Mayor will keep the Ethnic Advisory Panel as a permanent feature and not close it after two years as provided in the current Act.
Readers should specifically ask candidates of their views on empowering Community Boards with a real ability to influence and not to leave them without any real power to represent local interests.
I support current Manukau Mayor Len Brown as the first Mayor of the Super City.
He has a long-held interest in the community, commitment to real diversity, and extensive experience in business.
Len is a genuine and sincere person who has successfully led the largest multiethnic city in Auckland. He will construct an effective team to foster effective and efficient governance of the City.
I know many other able candidates, who are genuinely concerned about the interests of the ethnic and Indian communities.
Richard Northey is standing in Maungakiekie (where my Auckland office is based) on Labour Ticket. Daljit Singh, contesting in Papatoetoe also on Labour ticket, is hard working and has served the community well for many years.
This is a critical time for Auckland and I know that people will make the right decision.
Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament and Labour Party’s Associate Spokesman for Ethnic Affairs and Social Development (Child, Family & Youth). The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink ©