Tension in Mangere

Michael Field at Stuff reports:

Labour’s Mangere MP Su’a William Sio is facing a rebellion from a big group of his own Samoan people who plan to stand their own candidate against him.

Sio, who holds the seat with a 15,159 vote majority, recently went on ethnic radio and spoke out against fundraising efforts by Samoan groups in his electorate.

Many, mainly church groups, routinely visit to raise money from Auckland Samoans.

Sio said the fundraising was an economic burden on Samoan families in New Zealand.

His comments coincided with a fundraising bid by the people of Safotu, in Savai’i, who were in Mangere to raise money for hospital improvements.

Around $110,000 was raised for the hospital that serves 50,000 people in the powerful Gagaifomauga political district in Samoa, which has three seats in Samoa’s parliament.

According to the Talamua news website (www.talamua.com) Sio’s comments outraged one of Gagaifomauga’s tulafale, or orators, Tuilo’a Anetele’a.

He called on all descendants of the Gagaifomauga district who were eligible voters for the Mangere seat not to support Sio anymore, and in the 2014 election.

“Rather, we will find a candidate to support and to run orator against Su’a in the upcoming general elections,” he told a large gathering in Mangere.

I have to say I don’t think Sio’s comments were unreasonable. It is good to give, but when it becomes an expectation it can prove difficult for some families in New Zealand. It is all about a balance.

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