28 Sep 2011

Tirikatene says sale of state assets big concern in Te Tai Tonga

8:54 pm on 28 September 2011

The Labour Party candidate for Te Tai Tonga says one of the main concerns among constituents in his electorate is the partial sale by National of some key state assets.

Rino Tirikatene is the grandson of the first Ratana MP, Eruera Tirikatene, who held the seat for 35 years, and the nephew of Whetu Tirikatene Sullivan, who was the Southern Maori MP for 29 years.

He says Maori communities in the South Island are keen for heritage sites of cultural significance to remain in New Zealand hands for future generations to enjoy.

Mr Tirikatene says one local issue dear to people's hearts is the possible selling off by the National Government of dams in North Otago.

He says in the Waitaki region there are eight dams and deep historical connections to the rivers and lakes in the area.

He says people are worried that more assets like these will be passed into private or foreign hands.

Mr Tirakatene believes he will get more support than the incumbent because of the Maori Party's decision to side with National after the 2008 election.

He says this has fragmented Maori voters in Te Tai Tonga - giving him the advantage to bring those votes back to Labour.

He says he hopes to continue his family legacy by winning the seat and serving his people in Parliament.