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South Asians seek a bite of the political cake

While the General Election in 2008 saw for the first time a number of candidates of Indian origin evincing interest in politics (eventually ushering in two political debutantes in Parliament), the ensuing Local Government Election has a larger number keen to make an entry as lawmakers.

These are not lesser mortals, since local administration in many ways is more important than the debating chamber in Wellington.

With discretionary funding resting in their hands and the communities they serve geographically in their neighbourhood, Councillors, Local Board Members and those in the District Health Boards have a larger influence on people (although restricted to wards and cities) than their Parliamentary counterparts.

We apologise for having focused our study to Auckland, although all New Zealanders will be choosing their Mayors, Councillors and Local Board Members in various parts of the country at the same time.

Our concentration here is driven by the fact that for the first time in its history, the Auckland Region will have one Mayor with one Council.

Thirty-two people of Indian and Pakistani Origin are in the race, eager to represent the people of their neighbourhood and ward.

That alone is a laudable move in the right direction.

Just how the results will pan out and how many of them would get a bite of the political cake is not known but the fact that they have stepped out to serve the people through a public office is a significant development.

Their future, as well as of those who succeed them, will be determined by their conduct and level of commitment and service.

We await the outcome with abiding interest.

Read related story on Page One and our editorial A veritable chance that should not be lost

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