In the upcoming New Zealand elections on October 14, the country is witnessing a significant increase in its Indian immigrant population. Currently, almost five out of every 100 New Zealanders are of Indian descent, making it a favoured destination for Indian immigrants. The political landscape is also reflecting this change, with a total of 13 Indian-origin candidates contesting in the elections.
The National Party, positioned at the centre-right, has nominated five candidates of Indian origin, while the ACT, self-described as the Liberal Party of New Zealand, is fielding four Indian-origin candidates. Additionally, both the Labour and the Greens parties are each presenting two candidates of Indian descent, marking a notable presence of Indian-origin politicians in New Zealand’s legislature, as reported by RNZ.
In the National Party, there are five Indian-origin candidates running in the upcoming New Zealand elections. These candidates include Mahesh Muralidhar, Navtej Singh Radhawa, Karuna Muthu, and Siva Kilari. All five candidates share common goals, focusing on rebuilding the economy, restoring law and order, and improving health and education outcomes in their respective areas.
Siva Kilari, a prominent Indian-origin candidate at the age of 30, emphasises the importance of addressing law and order issues in his electorate. He criticises the Labour Party’s approach, claiming they are lenient on crime, which is evident in his area.
Mahesh Muralidhar is concentrating on tackling the surging homelessness problem and addressing the traffic inefficiencies in Auckland. He also aims to strengthen New Zealand’s relations with India and recognizes the significance of celebrating the Indian diaspora in New Zealand. This includes acknowledging their cultural events, community organisations, and unique challenges, as he stated in an interview with RNZ.
Navtej Singh Randhawa’s primary focus lies in increasing diversity within the government, while Karuna Muthu is concerned about inflation rates. Ankit Bansal, another Indian-origin candidate, aligns himself with the National Party due to its compatibility with his values of personal responsibility, rewarding hard work, and providing equal opportunities to all New Zealanders.
In the upcoming New Zealand elections on October 14, the ACT Party boasts Parmjeet Parmar as their leading Indian-origin candidate. A former Member of Parliament, Parmar is drawn to ACT due to its consistent use of evidence-based policymaking, a feature she finds lacking in other political parties. Himanshu Parmar, contesting from Hamilton East, is deeply concerned about the cost of living, crime rates, and co-governance issues.
Rahul Chopra, representing the ACT, is driven by the ambition to bring about substantial change. He criticises the worn-out policies of major parties, claiming they have fostered a culture of mediocrity and complacency. Pothen Joseph, another ACT candidate, focuses on revitalising the education system, advocating for significant reforms to meet international standards and enhance affordability.
Within the Labour Party, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, contesting from Maungakiekie, prioritises support for local schools and community organisations. She aims to improve cycling and walking infrastructure and enhance public transport accessibility. Kharag Singh, another Labour candidate, places education and cultural inclusivity at the forefront of his agenda.
The Green Party presents Neelu Jennings, who advocates for a guaranteed income of $385 a week for everyone, the construction of 35,000 new homes, and the development of disability legislation. Sapna Samant, the other Green Party candidate, aims to establish an equitable, free, inclusive, and sustainable healthcare system for all New Zealanders. As the nation heads to the polls on October 14, these candidates reflect the diverse concerns and priorities within the Indian-origin community in New Zealand.
Voting concluded in New Zealand’s general election at 7:00 p.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Saturday, marking the end of the voting period. The counting process is now underway, and provisional results are expected to be announced later this evening.