A small group of influential Pacific Island clergy have sparked fierce debate in South Auckland after they declared they would switch their support from the traditional Labour Party to the National Party.
That is basically unheard of.
The action, taken at the Manurewa flea market on Sunday, is under fire on Pacific Island social media.
The ministers involved have been criticised for not consulting their parishes.
The move has also sparked another meeting next Sunday when, under the auspices of a Samoan Catholic Church, 23 churches will meet to discuss political parties and Christian values.
It’s not an issue for me, or most people, but they may have noticed that not only is Labour’s caucus already over-represented with LGBT MPs, they’ve selected a further four LGBT candidates and inevitably Taurima also. There has always been a tension between their socially liberal activists and some of their more conservative supporters.
A Seventh Day Adventist minister, Teleiai Edwin Puni, said he and five other Seventh Day Adventist ministers – all recognised in the Pacific community – met National MP Cam Calder on Sunday.
“If we are to defend our Christian values and build a brighter future for New Zealand families, we need to engage our Pacific people and vote National,” Puni said.
Cam Calder converts South Auckland to National – well done Cam!
Fundamentalist pastor Sooalo Setu Mu’a said they had been supporting Labour.
“To change from wearing red to blue is not an easy thing for our Pacific communities who have been voting Labour over the years.”
No party can take any group of supporters for granted.
National has two excellent Pacific Island MPs – Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Alfred Ngaro. I suspect their hard work may also be a factor in some Pacific voters reconsidering their traditional allegiances.