Crafar player linked to new political party

By Adam Bennett

Jack Chen. Photo / Supplied
Jack Chen. Photo / Supplied

A fledgling political party associated with the businessman behind a Chinese bid for the Crafar farms plans to field candidates in next year's election.

Auckland businessman Paul Young and former Labour Party list candidate Stephen Ching yesterday confirmed the New Citizens Party had lodged an application for registration with the Electoral Commission.

Mr Young, of Auckland firm Asia Marketing and Advertising Consultants, said he had been helping to organise the party, which was now awaiting approval of its application.

Once that was granted, the party would meet to elect its leadership.

Mr Young would not say who the leading figures in the party were. That would be announced after registration and party elections.

He said the group wished to work with the major parties, "just like the other small parties", and would definitely try to field candidates in next year's general election.

Businessman Jack Chen, the self-described driving force behind the bid by Hong Kong company Natural Dairy NZ for the Crafar dairy empire, has been associated with the party, but Mr Young and Mr Ching downplayed his involvement.

Mr Chen, who recently severed his business links with former National Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, was not "a key person or main person" in the party, said Mr Young, and while the Chinese Business Roundtable Council, which Mr Chen founded, was one of its supporting organisations, it was not directly linked.

The party was formed "to have a voice for certain communities to say what they want and to follow it up and get a result".

Its membership was not just Chinese New Zealanders but was drawn from the Korean, Maori and Pakeha communities.

Mr Young said the party believed that as New Zealand became more engaged with the rest of the world, "we do need to listen to different voices".

Mr Ching, who is still a member of the Labour Party, said he had no role with the New Citizens Party but was "just helping some of my friends" who were setting it up.

He said the new party had a particular interest in improving the economy.

Mr Young said it also had a focus on community safety, legal and education issues which required long-term policies, "and we do not see that happening".

- NZ Herald

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