Waiariki share concerns regarding unemployment and education

By Heeni Brown

Te Kāea is in its second week following Māori Television's Reid Results Polls, which gives us a clearer picture of what lies ahead for the General Elections on September 20.

Despite their differences, the three Waiariki candidates have one goal in common - to lift the economic status of the Waiariki electorate.  This comes after what statistics for 2013 say, that 6400 Māori in Waiariki were unemployed.

Political commentator David Jones says, “Despite statistics saying this is a region of poverty, it actually isn't.  Just look at the quality and strength of the Māori candidates for this electorate.

No matter who gets into Parliament, or which party makes it in, in my view the responsibility and issues facing the Waiariki would be in the hands of whomever is the Govt.”

Last week, Jones looked at the candidates and concerns in the Te Tai Tonga and Te Tai Hauāuru electorates, and in his view, he says there's been a common theme in all of Māori Television's polls and debates thus far, and that's whether Māori should continue to sit at the table with National.”

“In previous years, we've seen the Māori Party sitting at the table with the full knowledge that this is how things have and will improve for Māori.  We've seen both the benefits of that and disadvantages.  But despite the criticisms, there is one lingering question; if National wins outright and remains in power, what will this mean for Māori?" says Jones.

Over in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate where the elderly are still working, one elderly gentleman says there's no way he can survive on the pension alone. 

“In Ruatōrea, the cost of basic needs is expensive, the price of food and petrol is ridiculous and families just can't afford it.  This is an issue that all politicians need to look at how to relieve the costs, either lower the age of superannuation to 60, but this an issue that needs to be looked at nation-wide, the possibility would be to lower the cost of food," says Jones.   

In relation to the promises made by candidates and political parties, Dr Wayne Ngata says, "They're big words, but putting those big words into action is something else, we'll see.

We know ourselves what our own needs are what the solutions are that lie in the area of education.  However, with regards to the politics and politicians, things will be the same.”

According to Māori Television's Reid Research Poll, education is the most important issue for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.

At Tologa Bay Area School, there are children still waiting to be enrolled at the school.  However the Ministry has already said that this is not permitted. In addition, while they only have 53 students, they are funded for only 36.

Special votes were cast as booths opened earlier this week, though there are still two weeks until Election Day.

We'll see tomorrow whether Māori Television's Reid Research Poll will show us more interesting figures for the Tāmaki Makarau and Hauraki-Waikato Electorates set to be revealed over the next few days.