Greens' first ever Tai Tokerau candidate

By Heta Gardiner

Godfrey Rudolph, the Green Party's first ever candidate in Te Tai Tokerau, wants to bring the issue of water pollution to the fore.

“We need to care for the rivers and the ocean and not pollute them,” says Rudolph.

According to co-leader Metiria Turei, the move to stand a candidate in the Te Tai Tokerau seat stems from growing Māori support for the party.

Turei says, “In the past few years we have made a big effort in focusing more on Māori issues and it shows.  A third of our MP's are Māori, we have a Māori caucus, and our party vote in Māori electorates has tripled in years.”

The battle for the Māori vote is expected to be a fierce one with the Māori Party showing alignment with the Kīngitanga and the Mana Party.

Labour is strengthening its relationship with Rātana and possibly the urban Māori vote with the inclusion of Willie Jackson.

But the Green Party is also making some noise. Last week, they announced a policy to make te reo Māori compulsory in all schools. It's something the Te Tai Tokerau candidate is strongly in favour of.

“I am a Māori teacher,” says Rudolph, “It is very important to me that the Green Party has a strong focus on te reo Māori and has released a policy to have te reo Māori in all schools.”

But could this be enough to affect Kelvin Davis of the Labour Party?

“We, in the Green Party, focus on the party vote,” says Rudolph.

Turei is in agreement, “Our goal is to get as many party votes as we can, not railroad Kelvin's candidacy.”

While this is his first taste of national politics, the Green candidate says he welcomes the challenge.