For what we’re about to vote for….
As polling day draws ever closer and as campaigning reaches fever-pitch …that’s fever-pitch in typical atoll fashion – here’s a brief summary of the line-up on the Common Roll in alphabetical order
An old war-horse who continues to do battle even for a lost cause. His performance in the House has been clouded by an on-going stoush with the Speaker which stands to reason why he wants to see a woman as the next adjudicator in the tribal council. He has yet to lose an election but with a strong list of contenders he has to work even harder this time around.
A new candidate on the Common Roll. As former mayor of Wellington and National Member of Parliament, Mark knows all about campaigning and getting his message across. The one thing that he is not short of is ideas on how to advance the island, but how well that will resonate with the atoll dwellers will be revealed on Saturday 30 May. Wild card in the pack.
Green, Kenneth Nifi
One of the young guns standing for the first time. He is visible – it’s hard not be on Niue – but not that well known. His target is obviously the younger voters but breaking the traditional voting behaviour may prove a lot more challenging for him.
This will be Ida’s second time on the Common Roll. A former director of tourism and chair of the Niue Chamber of Commerce she should have a good grip on where the private sector should be heading. Her challenge is to try and expand her support base before 30 May.
As a former Secretary of Government he is well known amongst his former colleagues – it’s hard not to when you’re the head of all public servants. He will need all their support if he is to break the myth – and it is a myth – that SOGs can’t make it to the debating chambers of the Assembly. His intimate inside knowledge of the workings of government could work to his advantage.
Iakopo, Merry Anno
She is not a newcomer to the Common Roll. In recent times she has been active in promoting women in business and organised a Saturday morning market for the ladies who were keen to sell their produce. For that effort alone, she will get some support.
She is the longest serving woman in the Niue Assembly – some 32 years. A good speaker who can articulate her policies clearly. Her supporters will welcome her decision to add more in her campaigning than her usual trademark…”You want to know what I can do? Put me in the Assembly and I will show you!” This may well be her best and last chance to bid for the top job.
A successful businessman who is seeking his fourth consecutive term in the Assembly. His organic vanilla business has gained overseas attention and lifted the island’s profile. All he needs now is the attention of the local voters to get back to the House. He is a leading figure in the unofficial opposition.
Jimmy, as he is known to one and all, has gained recognition for his work as a painter. At times he is known to offer his services gratis to a community project. Here’s hoping that those who have benefitted from Jimmy’s generosity will be equally generous with their votes.
A first time on the Common Roll, Misikea will no doubt be hoping for the full support of his village of Hakupu. As a former employee of the Department of Agriculture he is well known in the community for his work. A passionate supporter of performing arts.
This will be her second time on the common roll. Her strong Christian values is reflected in her campaigning and policies. She has a background in education and is currently the Clerk of Niue Assembly – but on leave.
After a successful career in the Royal New Zealand Navy, she returned to Niue with her family. She is a first time contender with a good business sense having operated for some time one of the most successful self-contained and self-catering tourist accommodation.
Motufoou, Bill V
An experienced politician who has served in Cabinet. He lost his Mutalau village seat in the last elections and so he’s appearing on the Common Roll for the second time having first stood in 1996. His hands-on practical approach in his duties has proved popular in the past and may do so again.
This will be her second attempt at getting into the Assembly. A good clear vision of her goals if elected. Typically for a person with a background in commerce she is keen to set the island’s accounting records in order. For someone who was brought up in NZ, her knowledge and use of Vagahau continues to impress.
Probably the least known in the line-up. Having grown up in New Zealand he made a clean break to set up home on the island. He is well known amongst his circle of friends but will need a wider support base if he is to succeed.
Rex, Fiafia A
She comes from a line of politicians starting with her grandfather and Niue’s first Premier Sir Robert Rex. As a younger candidate she should receive support from the younger voters. Her drive and her organisational ability have led to the formation of Oma Tafua, a project for the study and conservation of whales.
A former member of the Assembly he served one term in the Talagi Administration and two terms in the opposition before losing his seat in 2017. A trained lawyer, he has a good grasp of the workings of the government and was often at loggerheads with ministers who were not as well equipped. His election will help address an imbalance of university graduates in the House.
This will be his second bid for a Common Roll seat having appeared for the first time in 2005. He has gained a reputation as a good tradesman in his carpentry work and will probably therefore gain support from his former clients.
Talagi, Billy G
His move to step away from the relative security of a village seat and to contest a seat on the Common Roll will be interpreted by some as a means of seeking an island-wide mandate in the event that he bids for the top post. He has been operating in the shadows of his cousin the Premier but in the last several months he has stepped up to take more of a leading role.
Talagi, Deve K
A former director of what was once known as Public Works, now Utilities, he is well known in government circles. His general background knowledge could serve him well if he is successful in his bid.
Talagi, Sir Toke
His Premiership has lasted for twelve years making him the second longest serving Premier since self-government. To serve that long as leader of the island is a reflection of his ability and it has to be said, a reflection of the times as well. His continuing ill-health is cause for concern
A member of the unofficial opposition since entering the House in 2011 he is seen to be the voice of reason in what can be, at times, a very divided Assembly. As a former Secretary of Government he has a good understanding of the procedures of government and has used it in t he Assembly to good effect.
Togahai, Piliva J
Another new candidate on the Roll, he is one who has returned to the island after living overseas for many years; that in itself is worth a few votes.
He made his first appearance on the Common Roll in the previous election. In that election he attracted a good number of votes and was placed seventh overall, without much campaigning. This time, he is campaigning. Watch this space.
First entered the arena in 2011 and immediately gained the distinction of being appointed to a cabinet post with no political experience. Her ability to survive nine years in the Assembly – and possibly add another three years in these elections – is testament to the fact that she knows how to play the game.
The old campaigner is back for another shot at the top post. His decision to return to the political arena is motivated by what he sees as a country that has lost its way. His political slogan: You people have lost the plot. Many will agree with him but whether that will be reflected in the polls remains to be seen.