Meet your election candidates for Botany

Welcome to the first of a series of articles we intend to bring to you in the run-up to the General Election on September 23.

Today we profile all the local candidates contesting the seats in our Botany electorate.

  • Julie Zhu-Green Party candidate for Botany

Born in Xi’an, China Ms Zhu arrived in New Zealand at the age of four. A student of  Botany Downs Primary, Howick Intermediate, Pakuranga College she went on to do a BA (Hons) in Screen Production and a Diploma of Language in Maori.

With a background in arts, theatre, film, and photography as well as a history of participating in social activism, Julie says she says she has always stood up for the right.

The freelance producer, standing for the Green Party in the Botany electorate believes the Greens stand on the side of justice, doing what’s best for the planet and people.

  • Tofik Mamedov-Labour Party candidate for Botany

Tofik Mamedov arrived in New Zealand from Azerbaijan as a young lad. War between Armenia and Azerbaijan had made his birth country a dangerous place. Life wasn’t easy when he emigrated along with his mum and sister.  His interest in politics was sparked by a meeting with MP Judith Tizard.   It was at her office that he met Theresa Colgan who invited him to joining the Labour Party. When he asked what the Labour Party stood for, she simply said ‘People’—which resonated with Mr Mamedov whose grandmother had ingrained in him that taking care of people as if they are your own family members, is of utmost importance.

  • Jami-Lee Ross – National MP for Botany

Jami-Lee Ross is excited about the challenge of representing Botany again and wants your support.

“We have a lot of great things happening in New Zealand right now. The economy is growing, more jobs are being created, our health and education systems have seen a marked improvement in services and results, and we still have crime rates trending down.”

Mr Ross says he has pushed his colleagues in Parliament for more investment in transport and infrastructure, faster build rates for housing and more police on the streets.

He says he’s “proud to be part of the team that’s delivering”.

  • Damian Light – UnitedFuture candidate for Botany

Damian Light currently lives in Botany with his partner and has lived and worked in Auckland his entire life. He says he is standing for parliament because he’s passionate about strong communities and wants New Zealand to be the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Mr Light has worked for large iconic NZ organisations for more than a decade, at various levels including management.

“My work involves understanding issues, listening to and understanding different views, convincing people, representing other’s needs and coming up with outcomes that benefit everyone.

“These skills and experiences will help me represent Botany in parliament.”

Mr Light says he’s standing with UnitedFuture for a better deal for future generations.

  • Wetex Kang – Maori Party candidate for the Botany

Wetex Kang, of Malay and Chinese descent, is the Maori Party candidate for the Botany electorate.

Kang is an ex-pharmacist and nutritionist with 21 years’ experience in the health and wellness industry in New Zealand. He is also a beekeeper. “I’m excited to be running for the Maori Party. This candidacy symbolises a historical moment where the tangata whenua of Aotearoa can formally express manaakitanga (aroha, hospitality, generosity and mutual respect) to all immigrants who’ve arrived in this beautiful land since the 1800s,” said Kang. His campaign will focus on immigration, cultural integration, law and order, green energy and health.