Auckland, NZ – UPDATED: Labour Party has this afternoon named Tongan Jenny Latu Salesa as its candidate for Manukau East.
Salesa, who holds a law degree from the University of Auckland was endorsed after a tough competition among eight prospective candidates who vied for the parliamentary seat.
Salesa worked for many years in the United States, Tonga and in New Zealand.
Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth said today:
“Labour ran a robust democratic selection process in Manukau East attracting hundreds of local people to two public question and answer meetings and today’s selection meeting, in a packed sports hall in the heart of the electorate.
"Local members have told us that the Manukau East electorate needs an MP who understands the reality of people’s lives. Our process has given us a very talented and impressive candidate. Jenny has an outstanding record of working with people and communities. She will advocate strongly for the people of Manukau East dealing with housing, unemployment and state services, and a range of other issues. Ross has left big shoes to fill; Jenny is up to that challenge."
Manukau East is one of the Labour Party’s strongholds where supports for the current opposition party gathered momentum in the last three general elections.
In 2008 Labour's Ross Robertson, who has announced that he was to step down at this year's election after 27 years as the local MP, won the seat by 17, 254 votes compared to National MP BAKSHI, Kanwaljit Singh who became second with 4809 votes only. Labour Party also won the people’s party vote by 16,137 votes compared to National’s 6579 votes only.
In 2011 general election Labour continued to win both people’s party vote as well as the electoral vote in the area.
If the Manukau East eletorate's votings will follow the same pattern as they had in the last three general elections, Salesa who is married to Samoan Professor Damon Salesa, could become the first Tongan ever to enter the New Zealand parliament as an MP in the upcoming general election.