Venkat Raman –
When Balu Venu Beeram told us a few months ago that he was keen to contest as a candidate of the National Party from the Kelston Constituency, his large circle of friends assured him of their support.
Among them were hundreds of people who joined the National Party at his behest a few years ago. They believe that Venugopal (as we call him) will be a good representative for the vibrant communities in the West Auckland electorate.
Balu is not a politician by profession; he is in fact a Scientist, involved in ensuring quality of content and persistent performance.
“Those two qualities are important in politics. National is the only Party that has consistently performed well in government. People deserve the best and only National can deliver the best. I am convinced that we will win in the general election to be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017,” he said.
This is only the second time that Kelston electorate would go to polls.
Located in an area in Auckland in South-West of Waitemata Harbour covering part of Te Atatu South, the suburbs of Glen Eden, Sunnyvale, Gleneden, Kelston, New Lynn, part of Avondale, part of Mt Albert and the suburb of Waterview, with the name coming from one of its component suburbs.
Kelston was proposed in the 2013-2014 electorate boundary review and confirmed by the Electoral Commission on April 17, 2014. The increase in population in the Auckland region recorded in the 2013 Census warranted an extra electorate to keep all electorates within 5% of their quota.
The Electoral Commission abolished the Waitakere Constituency and established two new electorates, namely Kelston and Upper Harbour. There could be further changes to the territory after the general election this year.
Te Atatu, New Lynn and Mount Albert electorates are safe Labour electorates while Waitakere was marginal; National’s Paula Bennett won the electorate by just nine votes in 2011 from Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni. Consequently, Kelston was regarded as a safe Labour electorate. Labour selected Ms Sepuloni as its candidate for the 2014 general election and she won the election with a majority of over 5000 votes to National’s Christopher Penk. She will contest again as Labour’s candidate this year.
Bala is aware of the formidable challenge that he faces in Kelston but his belief in determined efforts has prompted him to seek and obtain National nomination in the electorate. He believes that his ten plus years in National as its member, volunteer, supporter and worker have given him a good insight into the Party’s working, its expectations and election strategies.
“I am aware of the electioneering tasks and I have participated in all of them for more than a decade. Even as I would continue to enroll new members, I will pursue a strong election campaign including canvassing in person and over the phone, door-knocking, meeting people of various communities within the electorate, attending events – everything in fact that will take me to people. National Party is about connectivity and service,” he said.
As well as being an active Member of the New Zealand Telugu Association for more than 17 years, Bala was its President in 2008 and an Advisor to the Committee in 2009 and 2010.
His community services include blood donation camps, tree plantation programmes and helping new migrants in their successful settlement.
He has also organised a Badminton tournament, which is one of the largest events of its type in Auckland.
Balu Venu Beeram