New Zealand

Pala hopes to be elected to New Zealand Parliament

The 61-year-old was sad to see first-home buyers being outbid by an Australian investor.

Newsroom

September 8, 2017 6:07 pm

STUFF.CO.NZ: It was a birthday that Anne Degia-Pala says she will never forget.

Anne Degia-Pala is campaigning for the electorate but emphasising the party vote.  (SIMON SMITH/STUFF).
Anne Degia-Pala is campaigning for the electorate but emphasising the party vote. (SIMON SMITH/STUFF).

Her candidacy for New Zealand First was announced by “the Maestro himself”, Winston Peters, in Helensville on July 4.

“I was so chuffed, and I’ll always remember that,” the Kelston candidate said.

Degia-Pala said she has lived in the electorate since immigrating to the country from Fiji nearly three decades ago.

Although she had previously been a member of the Labour Party, she changed to New Zealand First after seeing a young couple outbid at an auction next door in 2013.

“This couple just couldn’t go up another $500 and I cried,” she said.

It eventuated that the purchaser lived in Australia and owned seven properties – and that prompted her to compare parties’ policies.

Degia-Pala is Muslim, doesn’t wear the hijab, and is supportive of multiculturalism.

As president of the Waitakere Ethnic Board in 2004, she was instrumental in organising the first Auckland Diwali Festival at The Trusts Arena – a Hindu festival.

“In secular New Zealand I think it’s really important that we respect each other’s festivals – because that’s how integration starts,” she said.

It was her civic duty to work along with people of other faiths, she said.

This included Winston Peters, who in 2005 said moderate and militant Muslims “fit hand and glove together everywhere they exist”.

Degia-Pala, 61, said she hadn’t been aware of Peters’ comment, but “he’s not the only one who’s said anything.”

The 61-year-old’s world was turned upside down in 2001 when her son died in a car accident, aged 19.

This led her to focus on activities that lifted up the community, she said.

“Because community helped me survive the trauma.”

Degia-Pala says she was campaigning for more police on the streets, education to be available for all, and more social housing in the electorate as poverty was a “huge issue”, she said.

She was campaigning for the electorate seat but emphasising the party vote.

In 2014, Degia-Pala was number 21 on the party list and received 1283 candidate votes – 4.3 per cent of the total.

When this year’s list was announced on August 29, she had been dropped to number 28, making it unlikely she would make Parliament this time around.

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