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Is the Green Party out of touch with Pacific voters?

AUT journalism lecturer Richard Pamatatau has called out the Green Party over its engagement with the Pacific community and the placement of its Pasifika candidates in the Party’s list.

Pamatatau has also raised allegations that the Green membership were instructed to favour 22-year-old Chloe Swarbrick, who ended up placing 9th on the list.

Following the claims laid out in an article for Māori and Pasifika online magazine e-Tangata, Pamatatau told bFM the relatively low placement of Leilani Tamu (20) and Teanau Tuiono (19) showed the Greens were “out of touch” with Pacific affairs.

By focusing on promoting young candidates like Swarbrick, Pamatatau said the Greens were ignoring the value of Pacific voices in their party.

“This is a really difficult thing for all political parties to get their heads around because what exactly is a ‘Pacific’ person? It is someone who identifies as a pacific person, someone who has roots or history in that population, but it’s also somebody who chooses to be a part of that population and that can be difficult for conventional politics,” said Pamatatau.

Further to his claims laid that Green Party General Secretary Gwen Shaw had instructed delegates to ensure Swarbrick a top placing on the list, Pamatatau told bFM he had also heard of an internal party “movement” which prioritises youth.

“When people suggest, say around youth and adhering to the other kaupapa of the Greens around women and Māori, mentioning youth privileges youth ahead of say Rainbow etc.”

However, in a written statement, a spokesperson for the Green Party denied claims Swarbrick was in any way favoured in her final list placing.

“The claim made in the story is incorrect. No directive or instruction was given to delegates to support any particular candidate.”

The article in question can be found here

The full interview with Richard Pamatatau is here.