Kiri Allan wants 'decent jobs' for East Coast electorate

By Heeni Brown

32-year-old Kiritapu Allan is set to run in the race for East Coast in the general elections next year.

The recently appointed Labour candidate says she wants decent jobs for the electorate that has a median income less than $15,000 a year.

Allan says, "We need investment in strong infrastructure to enable regional growth. We need regional growth to create decent jobs. We need the decent jobs to give people enough cash in their back pockets to be able to be in affordable homes."

Allan who is a lawyer and business consultant was raised in East Coast township Paengaroa, west of Whakatane.

"I was a child of the 80's and I grew up in a small town called Paengaroa and the most important values in our community were working really really hard but also making sure we were looked after our neighbour."

"I lived through a time when Dad was laid off at Rangiuru at the meatworks over at Affco. I remember the pain that many of the families went through and I remember the real political, politicisation of our families at that time. I guess for me all of those experiences shaped the way that we see the world."

Of all the general 64 electorates the East Coast has the highest percentage of Māori at 48.3%.

"One of the unique things is about this region is that 48% that's on the general role are Māori and I think that our electorate wants to see our candidate somebody who's comfortable and confident around the board tables just as equally as being out the back at the marae peeling potatoes."

From Te Puke in the west, through to the entire East Cape down to Gisborne, the electorate also has the largest land area than any other general electorate.

Social Development Anne Tolley is the current East Coast MP and has been since 2005.