Electionlink launch events bring stakeholders to the centre stage

Grant Robertson, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Dr Deborah Russell, Labour MPs, candidates and supporters at the Electionlink Launch on July 10, 2023

Venkat Raman
Auckland, July 15, 2023

Despite the cold blast, unrelenting rain and painful traffic bottlenecks, hundreds of people gathered at the Swaminarayan Complex in the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe to lend their ears and support to three political parties on as many days.

Monday, July 10 witnessed the presence of Acting Prime Minister and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Statistics Minister Dr Deborah Russell, Member of Parliament, new Candidates and supporters at the Electionlink launch for the Labour Party. They were joined by many others who had either no political inclinations or had yet to decide on the Party of their choice. They were present partly to strengthen democratic ideals or to listen to the promises and performance of the Labour Party.

Christopher Luxon, Sylvia Wood, Judith Collins, National MPs, candidates and supporters at the Electionlink Launch on July 12, 2023

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 was National Party Day, accounting for the largest gathering of National MPs, candidates contesting in the general election on October 14, 2023, and supporters. Christopher Luxon, the Party Leader stole drew continuous applause as he spoke with passion for New Zealand, while Sylvia Wood, President of the Party, appearing for the first time at an Indian Newslink event was optimistic- she was kindness itself, as a guest mentioned. This launch evinced the larger interest of the younger members of the South Asian Communities including people of Indian, Fiji Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepali origin.

Winston Peters, Shane Jones, Prithi Pal Singh, New Zealand First candidates and supporters at the Electionlink Launch on July 13, 2023

Winston Peters was the star attraction on Thursday, July 13, 2023 as we provided the stage for the New Zealand First Party to showcase its policies and programmes, candidates contesting in the ensuing general election, and its prominent members and supporters. Shane Jones, a former Cabinet Minister and the Party’s candidate for Northland was present at the event with former Member of Parliament Mahesh Bindra, popular community worker and contestant Anne Degia-Pala and others. It was a satisfying evening.

Monday, July 17, 2023 will bring together the Act Party Leader David Seymour, President Henry Lynch, Members of Parliament, contestants and supporters. As the most promising ‘Third Party,’ ACT has been registering impressive performance at every Opinion Poll for more than a year.

Grant Robertson, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Dr Deborah Russell with Labour MPs and candidates at the Electionlink launch on July 10, 2023

About Swaminarayan Complex

While the approach to politics, policies and programmes differed between Leaders and supporters who attended the three launch events this week, there was consensus on the venue. Everyone was awed by the ambience of the Swaminarayan Complex, its aesthetically designed conference hall (which has been an increasing choice for weddings, conferences and other social and community events since its opening earlier this year).

National Party candidates at the Electionlink launch on July 12, 2023

Dr Kanti Patel and Ranjna Patel, the Trustees of the Swaminarayan Temple Trust (ISSO) have invested millions of dollars in creating a facility that has not only become a landmark in Auckland but also a legacy for peace, harmony, spirituality and comfort. The Complex boasts state-of-the-art facilities, complete with digital technology, audio and visual equipment and a wide range of stage and furniture settings. Complete with carpeted floors and a well-designed ceiling, the auditorium has walls with paintings that depict tales from Indian epics and mythology, sayings of famous people and decorative designs.

The Swaminarayan Complex also has an extensive commercial kitchen with all the equipment, utensils (pure stainless steel), cutlery, crockery, serving dishes, moveable platforms and other essentials to provide quality banqueting services.

Winston Peters with New Zealand First candidates at the Electionlink launch on July 13, 2023

The highlight of the venue however is its people. While Dr Patel and Mrs Patel are at hand at every event to ensure the smooth provision of services and facilities, the management is fortunate to have the services of Event Manager Vishwesh Mendiratta, who brings to his assignment decades of experience gained in the hospitality industry including Pullman Hotel, Millenium Hotel, Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland University of Technology (Auckland) and James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel (Wellington). He is ably assisted by Dhaval Pandya, a master in customer service with extensive experience in the exacting real estate sector.

Under his motivation, the Mendiratta team of men and women provide impeccable services that rival those of the seven-star variety.

Auckland is singularly lucky to have a Community Centre such as the Swaminarayan Complex.

Forestry and Engagement with India

The woes of the forestry industry and the apathetic approach of the current government towards India were the topics of discussion at the Electionlink launch events held thus far for Labour, National and New Zealand First. Indian Newslink Managing Director and Publisher Jacob Mannothra, who has led the forestry industry with the export of timber to India (through his company Zindia Forestry Limited) over the past 28 years, bemoaned the neglected state of the sector since the Labour Party came to power in 2017. We believe that he made Ms Sepuloni understand the failure of her former colleague to address the issue.

Acting Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni with Jacob Mannothra, Indra and Manasa Sirigiri at the Electionlink Launch on July 10, 2023

Mr Luxon was upbeat about his engagement with India, saying that if elected to form the next government, he would ensure that New Zealand makes a fresh start to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with New Delhi.

Stating that he understands the importance of fostering closer bilateral relations with the world’s fastest-growing economy, he said that trade and investment opportunities can benefit people in both countries. This sentiment was expressed by the National Party’s Agriculture and Trade Spokesman Todd McClay during his visit to our office recently.

Vino Ramayah on the importance of self-management of health

ManageMyHealth

Vino Ramayah, Executive Chairman of ManageMyHealth and his team have been closely associated with the Electionlink launch events to encourage politicians and decision-makers to understand the importance of self-management of health and download the ManageMyHealth, a free App on smartphones. A detailed story on this service will appear shortly.

Professor Anil Thapliyal underscored the need to address mental health issues

Mental Health

Professor Anil Thapliyal, Chief Executive of Health TRx and Executive Director of eMental Health International Collaborative underscored the importance of mental health and the challenges that New Zealand and the rest of the world faces and the solutions needed to address them. An international expert, he advises several governments in Australasia, Europe, the USA and Canada on mental health.

Shivani Arora with Christopher Luxon and her sons Abhinav and Pawan

Better Future Trust

Shivani Arora, whose vegetarian restaurants in Auckland (Papatoetoe and Mt Eden) and Hamilton have been serving exquisite dishes to thousands of customers, launched her charitable entity, Better Future Trust New Zealand at the Electionlink launch events.

The Trust has been established to promote the ideals of governments and governmental agencies to lift the downtrodden, support programmes to eradicate child poverty, empower women to be more effective political, social, community and business leaders, support families to raise their children with better social and community values, reduce truancy and improve school attendance, assist in the efforts to promote a more efficient and accessible public health system, provide timely service to elders and ensure better geriatric care and most important of all assist in the creation of safer home and safer communities.

Pictures for INL by Narendra Bedekar (Creative Eye Limited). Additional Reading: Pages 6 to 8.

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