Sunny Kaushal is a well known Indian community leader in Auckland who has been leading a campaign to get more protection for Indian shopkeepers faced with violent robberies. …
The Indian Weekender website said that Kaushal had been with Labour for the past nine years, and many in the Indian community believed that he had become the face of the Labour Party.
The Indian Weekender says that Kaushal’s defection meant that the leaders within the community who had first hand connection with the Labour Party during the Helen Clark and Phil Goff leadership were gradually slipping into political oblivion under the current Labour leadership.
“Only time will tell if the current Labour leadership has done a major miscalculation in sidelining Mr Kaushal from the Party in building bridges with the Kiwi-Indian community,” it says.
However, it singled out Labour’s Maungakiekie candidate, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, as being one Labour person who was in touch with the Indian community.
National is clearly revelling in the defection and arranged a lunch for Kaushal last Friday with Party President, Peter Goodfellow and Auckland Regional Chair, Andrew Hunt at a Khyber Pass restaurant.
Kaushal has led a campaign calling for tougher action to combat dairy and small shop robberies in Auckland – an issue important to the Indian community, many of whom are shop owners.
He told POLITIK that he was getting a lot of support for his stance and more and more members of the community, which had historically backed Labour, were now turning to National.
“For the community, the law and order issue is Number One,” he said.
Kaushal is very well connected in the Indian community and his defection could be quite significant.