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National's Pasifika MPs must have free vote - Labour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a Bill that will allow Sunday trading at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.

"We are seeing a lot of the new younger generation of Pacific leadership sign up to the "Petition to Protect Easter Sunday’ calling on National Party MPs to be given a free vote on the issue of Easter Sunday trading, in line with previous practice.

"All Blacks Savae Michael Jones and Aiolupotea Ofisa Tonu’u are well known for their protection of the values of Easter Sunday. Together with Faamoetauloa Jerome Mika, Pacific Vice President of the Labour Party and Lemauga Lydia Sosene Chairperson of the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board, these four represent the new generation of Pacific leadership who have the wellbeing of their communities at the centre of their efforts.

"There is a new generation of Pacific leadership who are brown, beautiful, bilingual and brainy who want Easter Sunday protected not just because of its religious value, but also because they believe Easter Sunday is traditionally a part of the New Zealand culture where workers are able to spend time with their families and communities. The Pacific community don’t see this as a left or right issue, they see it as important for the wellbeing of the whole of New Zealand.

"People signing up to this petition don’t want the Government interfering with Easter Sunday and removing the special nature it has traditionally had for many New Zealanders. The Bill treats Easter Sunday as an ordinary day and there is no special compensation for people working on Easter Sunday.

"Similar bills have come to Parliament, and each time it has been treated as a conscience vote, and each time it has not passed. On any occasion when a similar bill has been in Parliament Peseta Sam Lotu-IIga and Alfred Ngaro, have both voted against such bills.

"The Pacific communities are doing all they can to support these members to have the right to a conscience vote on this issue, otherwise they could be seen as selling out their Pacific beliefs and values, " says Sua William Sio.

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