1 Oct 2004

Samoa Opposition promises to let citizens vote from NZ

10:34 am on 1 October 2004

Samoa's Opposition party, the Samoa Democratic United Party (SDUP), has promised Samoan citizens living in New Zealand they will allow them to vote from New Zealand in Samoan general elections.

Recently back from a fundraising visit to Wellington and Auckland, SDUP leader Le Mamea Ropati said Samoans there wanted to be able to vote in Samoan elections.

Le Mamea said Australian citizens in Samoa - and other countries - may vote in elections back in Australia through their High Commission in Apia.

He said that Samoans overseas should be allow to do the same thing.

But acting Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, says the issue has been discussed for many years and since she became an MP in 1985.

She says there are many difficulties in elections in Samoa itself and is a big job.

Fiame said the electoral process must be well-protected and this would be made more difficult if it was extended to overseas voters.

The acting Prime Minister also said she doubts the SDUP has the amount of support amongst New Zealand Samoans that it claims to have.