Māori Party candidate Wetex Kang accused of offering cash credits

  • 07/09/2017
Wetex Kang with other Māori Party candidates.
Wetex Kang with other Māori Party candidates. Photo credit: Wetex Kang/Facebook

Māori Party candidate Wetex Kang is being investigated by the election watchdog following complaints his campaign has been offering cash credits online.

Mr Kang, the party's first candidate of Asian descent, is contesting Auckland's Botany electorate.

The Electoral Commission on Thursday confirmed it was looking into complaints about him offering virtual credits on popular Chinese social media app WeChat as part of his campaign.

"The Electoral Commission has received complaints about the use of 'hong bao dollars' on WeChat as part of Māori Party candidate Wetex Kang's campaign," a commission spokeswoman said.

"The Commission is looking further into the complaints, and has sought further information from Mr Kang."

When contacted, Mr Kang declined to comment on the claims.

Hong bao dollars on WeChat are a virtual version of the Chinese tradition of gifting money in red envelopes at special occasions.

The service has allowed people to send credits through the company's online payment platform since 2014.

Botany is a safe National seat and Jami-Lee Ross retained it with a majority of nearly 13,500 in 2014. The Māori Party didn't stand a candidate that year.

Mr Kang is up against incumbent Jami-Lee Ross of National, Labour's Tofik Mamedov, ACT's Sam Singh, the Greens' Julie Zhu and new United Future leader Damian Light.

Mr Ross comfortably won the seat in 2014, winning almost 60 percent of the vote.

Mr Kang is ranked 13th on the Māori Party list.

NZN / Newshub.