Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Migrants told voting crucial part of adopting NZ as home

File photo / Paul Estcourt
File photo / Paul Estcourt

You cannot consider New Zealand to be your adopted home if you don't vote, Chinese voters have been told.

Four Chinese political candidates yesterday fronted a lunchtime forum in the Auckland CBD urging Chinese migrants to vote at the election.

About 60 per cent of new migrants didn't vote in the 2011 General Election, but it was not known how many were Chinese.

There are more than 200,000 ethnic Chinese in this country, according to last year's Census.

National MP Jian Yang said at the Mandarin forum, attended mainly by ethnic media, that the responsibility of voting came with the choice of calling New Zealand home.

Labour MP Raymond Huo, Act's deputy leader Kenneth Wang and Conservative Party Botany candidate Paul Young were the other speakers.

Registrar of Electors team leader Kenneth Lam, representing the Electoral Commission at the forum, said most recent Chinese migrants were from mainland China and "did not fully understand" the democratic process.

"There is no such thing as an election in China so everything about voting will be new to them," Mr Lam said.

"For many of them their first priority is to settle down, and they don't know much about the policies or the candidates."

Mr Lam said the commission had been working with Chinese associations around the country to encourage Chinese to vote. Having Asian candidates had helped generate interest.

- NZ Herald

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