Indians add colour to political canvas

Election 2014 will witness a number of candidates of Indian origin in the electoral arena.

Census 2013 identified people of Indian ethnicity as the fourth largest ethnic group, and one of the fastest rising demographics in New Zealand.

It is no surprise then that political parties are giving talented individuals from the community an opportunity to enter Parliament.

Following are the names of candidates of Indian origin.

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi

The two-term National Party List MP from Manukau East holds the distinction of being the first India-born Member of New Zealand Parliament. He has been vocal in representing the wider Indian community. He opposed the Same Sex Marriage Bill in 2012. National Party has high hopes of gaining substantial traction with Party votes in South Auckland. Manukau East will be closely watched.

Dr Parmjeet Parmar

She is a good example of the equal opportunities that New Zealanders enjoy. This Doctorate from the University of Auckland is a successful businesswoman, a former media person and a former Families Commissioner. She is fighting her first election from the Labour stronghold of Mount Roskill against Phil Goff. Dr Parmar has got a high ranking (49) in the National Party List.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Hailing from South India, Priyanca grew up in Singapore, maintaining strong links with India. An alumnus of Victoria University in Wellington, she brings with her a wealth of experience in areas of social justice and women’s rights advocacy. Priyanca has been given a high ranking of 23 in the Labour Party electoral List. An eloquent speaker, she has large boots to fill as Dr Rajen Prasad, the solitary Labour MP of Indian origin retires.

Anjum Rahman

Ranked 42 on the Labour List, this Chartered Accountant from Hamilton hopes that she would be third-time lucky and enter Parliament, after missing out in 2005 and 2008. She unsuccessfully stood for the Hamilton City Council last year. Anjum is a strong advocate of Human Rights issues and preventing family violence.

Sunny Kaushal

Ranked 43 on Labour List, he has the honour of being the first person of Indian origin to contest from a Constituency (Pakuranga) under the Labour Party in 2011. He champions the cause of a fair and equal society. He was not successful in his Party’s preliminaries at Manukau East and Pakuranga this year.

Mahesh Bindra

New Zealand First is often accused of xenophobia and hence announcement of a candidate of Indian origin was surprising at first.

Mahesh, who was born and raised in Mumbai, has been a good advocate in dispelling the notions about his Party. He fights his second election from Mount Roskill –a constituency with a sizable Indian presence.

Dr George Abraham

He is the first candidate of Indian origin to contest from South Island. Dr Abraham, who hails from Kerala, makes his electoral debut from Christchurch Central, under the banner of the New Zealand First Party. He is the South Island Correspondent of Indian Newslink.

Anne Degia Pala

Is contesting the Kelston electorate for the New Zealand First Party, Fiji-born Anne has been working with ethnic communities for many years.

She believes that women are integral to everything, including education, housing, health, and wellbeing of families. She said that her Party’s policies will have a direct positive impact on women in New Zealand.

Roshni Sami

She makes her electoral debut with the Internet Mana Party, contesting from the newly created electorate of Kelston. This University of Auckland alumnus is known in the field of real estate.

Umesh Perinpanayagam

Ranked 24th on the Green Party List, thus Whangerei- born young man of Sir Lankan origin has an engineering qualification from the University of Auckland. He is a major driver behind the Green Party’s Green Left Network. This initiative seeks to analyse class and race and their place and importance in the Party’s policies and politics.

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