By Gia Garrick
Immigrants have no voice, they're sick of it, and a Maori Party candidate has put his hand up to be their champion.
Beekeeper and former pharmacist and nutritionist Wetex Kang has today become the Maori Party's first ever Asian candidate. He's Malaysian-Chinese, speaks three different Chinese dialects and understands Malay.
Kang says he thought about joining the National Party, but he didn't want to carry someone's briefcase and water bottles for the next 10 years. Then someone suggested he should join the Maori Party, so he did.
"My grandmother's half Malay, and I always have felt within my blood that I have a good link to tangata whenua. I want to show New Zealand that we can all live here peacefully together, and we're all just New Zealanders," he said.
He believes there are two issues that desperately need to be dealt with - immigration and law and order.
"I actually wrote the immigration policy for the Maori Party," he said. "Asian MPs are just there to market the main parties and get donations, and nobody's actually standing up to identify and talk about the elephant in the room. Asians are talked about and talked to... but they have no voice and they're probably sick of it."
Kang says it's not the immigrants' fault, it's the failure of the National Government to manage immigration.
Botany is an ethnically diverse electorate where 39 per cent of the electorate are Asians. It's a seat that's been held by National Party whip Jami-Lee Ross by a large majority since 2011, and before that, former National Party MP Patsy Wong had held the seat since its inception in 2008.
Kang believes his culture will go a long way in helping him get votes in Botany.
"The current Botany MP cannot possibly be a voice for our people because he can't communicate efficiently with many of them from both a language and cultural standpoint," he said. "My goal is to be the true voice of Botany, not via a translator!"
He wants his kids to be proud of their dad's heritage, being an immigrant.
"I want my kids to be able to tell their friends, hey look, my dad came to this country, he made a difference and he made this country a better place for everyone to live in. Pakeha, Maori, all my Pacific brothers and sisters, Somalians, refugees, everyone. We shouldn't have any dividing lines between different cultures and we should celebrate diversity," he said.