Monday, 1 April 2013

My first involvement in a general election

One of the many posters used in the 2002 election by the New Zealand Labour Party. This one is particularly memorable as it highlights the Labour Party's key achievements and New Zealand's prevous Prime Ministers from the Labour Party. I lost forever another one that I helped to design with the slogan "我不作,谁来作?"

Looking back at this poster that occupied a corner of my study, it was 11 years ago when it was used as an election material for the New Zealand Labour Party. It was mid-winter down under when Helen Clark announced the dissolution of parliament and election was held on 27 July 2002.

I was then in Auckland helping out Helen Clark’s team and the Labour Party to secure a landslide victory in parliament, or more importantly, the bulk of Chinese votes in the Auckland region. It was my first time getting involved in an election campaign and what I learned and did back then still lingers on in my mind. Of all, the most unforgettable experience was organizing a fund raising dinner for the Prime Minister and a few of her caretaker cabinet ministers with the Chinese community in Auckland.

The dinner was a huge success and Pansy Wong (黃徐毓芳) from the National Party, who was contesting in the Auckland Central seat against Judith Tizard, a close friend of Helen Clark lost with more than 5000 votes. Her husband Sammy Wong was a fellow Malaysian. Wong’s tagline back then was “Standing up for Auckland” and I remember she launched her campaign by doing a sky jump from Sky City Tower in downtown Auckland.

She was then the only Chinese Member of Parliament and a strong force to be reckoned with. She later went on to become the first Chinese Cabinet Minister in 2008 but resigned two years later after she was found misusing her Parliamentary travel perks to China.

The political landscape of New Zealand has changed so much since then and there are now a few Chinese MPs in the parliament but 2002 was the watershed year that pushed the Chinese into participating in New Zealand politics. The rest is history.

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