Mayoral aspirant for better opportunities to South Asian Communities

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Venkat Raman

South Asian communities suffer in Auckland with lack of understanding and inadequate avenues for unlocking their potential says a Mayoral Candidate, who is keen to work with the growing Indian community in the City.

John Hong, who has been holding a series of meetings with people of Indian origin in groups as well individually, described the community as ‘an under-utilised resource, with no one ever caring for their welfare and development.

“We see highly qualified people driving taxis, flipping hamburgers and loading groceries and other items in supermarkets. Migrants should be treated on a par with all other New Zealanders. Auckland is drifting towards a society that we do not want. There should be inclusiveness and equal opportunity for all,” he said.

Mr Hong said that he decided to contest as an Independent Candidate for the post of Mayor of Auckland in the ongoing Local Government Elections, because ‘too many of us have too long been neglected and it is time to provide people a fair chance to lead a better life.’

Increasing Productivity

Mr Hong said that there is plenty of rhetoric about New Zealand being low on productivity but complained that no one has made any attempt to improve the situation.

“We need to provide initiatives to both employers and employees to work together in a good business environment, understand each other aspirations and goals so that they work towards a common goal. All of us- Maori, Pasifika, Asian, South East Asian, Indian and other ethnic people share the same destiny as everyone else. We can make Auckland the best City in the world if only we pooled our resources together instead of tearing apart,” he said.

Affordable Public Transport

Mr Hong said that almost every candidate contesting the Local Government Elections has spoken of the need to remove traffic gridlock, improve public transport and encourage park and ride and car pools, but there have been few pragmatic and workable solutions.

“One of the best ways of encouraging Aucklanders to use the public transport system is to make it cheaper, efficient, reliable and faster. We should be able to offer attractive subsidies for commuters at say, monthly passes at $150 per person. Train, Bus and Ferry services should be available round-the-clock encouraging more people to work flexi-hours, which will effectively contribute to reduce traffic congestion,” he said.

East Auckland challenges

Mr Hong said that if elected, he would be the ‘Mayor for all Aucklanders,’ looking to progress every aspect of their life. He said that since launching his Campaign, he has been to the length and breadth of the City, understanding the challenges and problems and considering the viable solutions.

“East Auckland for instance has registered phenomenal growth in the past few years and trading comes to a grinding halt during the morning and evening peak hours. We must promote places like the Pakuranga Plaza and other areas as Park and Ride places to help people to get to their destinations quickly,” he said.

Mr Hong also has extensive plans to address issues such as easing the financial burden on retired people by cancelling land rates and other charges so that, with depleted income, they can still enjoy their leisurely lifestyle.

Working with Counsellors

Mr Hong said that as representatives of the people in their wards, Councillors play a critical role in the success of the City.

“I will work with my Councillors to realise their dreams for Auckland City and help in fulfilling their promise to the people. I care about all communities and I want to see everyone of them prosperous and happy,” he said.

About John Hong

Born and raised in the Fujian Province on the South-East Coast of China, Mr Hong has had an illustrious scholastic career, having topped in English to become a Lecturer in the College of Foreign Languages at the Fujian Normal University. Obtaining his postgraduate qualifications in English and American Literature, he migrated to New Zealand in 2003 and pursued a second postgraduate Diploma in Translation, he acquired extensive experience in a variety of vocations.

These include Auckland Regional Council Communication and Engagement (Manager), Statistics New Zealand (Team Leader Asia),the Southern Initiative (Inaugural Steering Committee Member) Auckland Council (Inaugural Member of Ethnic Panel), Waterfront Auckland (Asia-Pacific Investment Advisor), Panuku (a Council Controlled Organisation Head of Investment and International Relationships) New Zealand China Trade Association (Executive), China Engagement New Zealand Core Cities (Member), Pigeon Mountain Primary School (Board of Trustees).

New Vision for Auckland

Mr Hong said that Auckland has entered an unprecedented stage of new opportunities and challenges that requires innovative, pragmatic approaches which old ways of thinking no longer fit.

“Auckland needs a new vision for 2020 and Aucklanders need a Leader who cares about them, capable of taking good care of them. With this Leader, they will build a better Auckland together,” he said.


Photo Caption:

John Hong (Picture Supplied)

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