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August 5, 2019 | by  | in News Opinion | [ssba]

Brown Body Elections

There is a common myth that you can just “engage” with young people and get them to engage in local body politics. But who is the local government trying to engage? I know it’s not me, or people like me. How am I supposed to see an orange stick man and be inspired to go and participate in democracy, when he’s as irrelevant as Boom Bullet?


Just putting it out there, the local government is not good at engaging young people in politics, let alone young Pasifika people. Local government pretending to engage with young Pasifika people is like the youngest sibling needing to go to the toilet when it’s time to do the dishes after to’ona’i. But I’m going to point out why we all need to engage: 


  1. RATES!! – If not relevant to us, it is to our parents, who have homes in the council area. Rates are basically more bills that run the city you live in. If rates are low, that’s more money your parents get back to buy new clothes for ‘Lotu tamaiti’ or ‘Fakame’ (White Sunday). If not, then it’s toasties for dinner and some of us know that struggle. We will all be ratepayers one day, but for now, let’s make it easier for our parents by committing to councillors who will commit to looking after our parents’ bread and butter.
  2. REPRESENTATION – Fa’anana Efeso Collins, Izzy Ford, Marie Laufiso, Josephine Bartley, and ‘Ana Coffey. These are influential Pasifika people from all over Aotearoa that are representing our interests. Wouldn’t it be nice if you saw people that looked, sounded, and acted like you making decisions on your behalf which reflect your values and upbringing? We need to support and vote in more Pasifika people, because very soon, this country is going to get more brown and there needs to be more visibility of Pasifika people who respond to Pasifika issues.
  3. FUTURE – Young Pasifika people need to think about their future. Or if not their own, thinking about the little siblings we think of as our own children, or our nieces and nephews that will grow up in the cities we vote in. Our councillors decide on our parks, our events, and the long-term plan for the city. We need to get involved with the planning processes and structures to actually make change in our cities. We need to prioritise plans that focus on our young Pasifika people thriving, and on the environmental challenges our cities face. For example, let’s focus on cleaning up dirty harbours and looking after cities where under 24s make up 40% of the population. Let’s not focus on new private developments and gentrification of Pasifika-dense communities.


The future is brown and will only get browner. To the young Pasifika people, we have so much at stake in our cities and communities. We already volunteer and physically serve our families, churches, and communities. Now it is time to bring that energy to local body elections. We can do this by voting for people who will advance our agenda and the things Pasifika people need. It needs to happen NOW.



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