Labour may lose south Auckland stronghold

  • Breaking
  • 03/04/2014

Labour's election stronghold of Pacific Island voters in south Auckland is under attack - and worse still, the enemy is coming from within.

An influential group have shifted their allegiance to the right and are now campaigning for National.

South Auckland is heartland Labour and crucial to the party's overall support, but community leaders are predicting a shift.

Three of South Auckland's four electorates are Labour strongholds.

Reverend Daniel Purcell-Lokeni's family have ticked red in Mangere for more than three decades. He's now a National Party member, citing Labour's role in decriminalising prostitution, the anti-smacking law and same-sex marriage as reasons for his swing.

"These were very uncomfortable policies for the majority of Pacific Islanders or me as a Samoan," he says.

Chief Setu Mu'a was once a Labour activist, but he now campaigns for National in Manukau East.

"The people that I lead, they will follow the leader, as the song goes," he says.

And in Manurewa, Edwin Puni - also a matai - wants to run for National in the electorate.

"The assumption that Pacific can only fit and stay inside a red box must be corrected," he says.

In 2005 South Auckland was thought to have won Labour the election, and nearly a decade on party leader David Cunliffe says the seats are still safe.

This weekend 25 Catholic parishes will meet in south Auckland, which will be a litmus test for Labour support.

While these are just the views of three community leaders in south Auckland, they say more and more are coming to their view.

The fact they were true red Labour voters in the past shows there is a shift and proves nothing in this election can be taken for granted.

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source: newshub archive