New Zealand party picks 1st Pinoy candidate for 2017 general polls
New Zealand's Labour Party selected a Filipino-born candidate for the North Shore seat in the upcoming general elections, marking the first time a Filipino was picked to contest a seat in Parliament.
Radio New Zealand wrote that the Labour Party picked Romy Udanga to run for the North Shore seat currently held by New Zealand National Party's Maggie Barry.
In a statement made on Voxy, Labour's President Prof. Nigel Haworth said Udanga is part of their "growing list of energetic and fresh candidates" picked to "back the Kiwi Dream and build a better New Zealand."
Though his candidacy was announced earlier this year, Udanga gave a lengthy interview on NZ Catholic in March wherein he explained why he accepted the invitation from the Labour Party.
“At that stage, I was seeing that a lot of the value system I loved when I came to New Zealand [was] being eroded by a lot of focus on financials instead of looking after intergenerational benefits,” he told NZ Catholic.
He seeks to represent the 50 to 60,000 Filipinos living in New Zealand which he claims is more than one percent of the population.
“That’s a significant number. And about 95 per cent of those who came here would be workers. Even if they didn’t have any idea of the political landscape here... [I think] they would be pro-Labour,” Udanga said.
Udanga came to New Zealand in 2006 and gained citizenship in 2011.
While he now works as a financial adviser, he was formerly a university lecturer, a training officer at Association of Southeast Asian Nations level, a journalist, and a community organizer who once helped organize sugar farmers during the Marcos dictatorship. — MDM, GMA News