There is exaggerated speculation that the south of Auckland is about to turn dark blue at the upcoming election with the majority Pacific population reportedly dissatisfied with the Labour Party and it’s new social liberal stance. But how has National capitalised on this?
If National were to the play the social conservative card, they would obviously have to ditch it’s candidate for the 2011 general election; Claudette Hauiti. National has absolutely no connection with the people of South Auckland, it has no desire to work with unions and trade councils. It has no desire to stop problem gambling, and it’s trumpeting of ‘economic success’ doesn’t resonate with the Southern communities.
So if that doesn’t work – social conservatism will. It is one value the Right-wing faction of National and the Pacific communities of South Auckland share. The politics of family values and tradition. For this to work, National would have had to discuss the validity of standing Hauti again.
Hauiti entered parliament in 2013 following the resignation of disgraced MP Aaron Gilmore. She entered shortly, and conveniently, after the gay marriage law was passed. Had she been in parliament during the process, she would have supported it. Hauiti is gay herself.
The local Labour incumbent, Su’a William Sio voted against the gay marriage legislation out of the interest of his highly-religious community. As did neighbouring Manukau East MP Ross Robertson.
You can now see why National and Hauiti have made a joint decision not to stand her again – she would have voted for gay marriage, and Sio didn’t. She is openly supportive of gay rights, Sio appears to be not. Had she been chosen to stand in Mangere at the up-coming election, the Right-wing National faction would have lost crucial ammo to fire at Labour.
They couldn’t have blamed Labour for the legislation, had their candidate supported it.
For the voters of South Auckland, against the gay marriage legislation, it is probably worth referring to the results. The gay marriage act, presented by Louisa Wall (Labour, Manurewa) would not have passed with the support of the majority liberals inside Labour and the Greens. It needed National. Whilst a majority of National MPs voted against the redefinition of marriage (by one), it was because of National;s liberal faction, persuaded by the Young Nationals, that the bill was passed into law.