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Convincing win for Te-Hani

Tuesday March 19, 2019 Written by Published in Politics
Convincing win for Te-Hani

Independent candidate Te-Hani Brown posted a convincing victory in yesterday’s by-election on Atiu.

 

The 22-year-old Brown, who is the country’s youngest MP, received 78 votes after the final count following yesterday’s election. Veteran politician and former Cook Islands Party (CIP) minister Nandi Glassie, who contested for the Democratic Party, managed 45.

Brown retains the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua seat which she initially claimed in the 2018 general election under the Demos banner.

She is now expected to join the CIP-led coalition government in which her mother Rose Brown, also an independent MP from Atiu, is a minister.

In January this year, Te-Hani defected to the government to provide them with a slight majority to remain in power. She subsequently resigned from the Demos to stand in this by-election as an independent candidate.

In her final rally over the weekend, Te-Hani thanked her supporters for believing in her and giving her the opportunity to represent them in Parliament.

“I have learned so much in a short time. I was pushed way out of my comfort zone, and found myself in a position where I could influence decisions in our country. Believe me when I say Parliament and politics is not just for old people, because we young ones have a lot of potential and we shouldn’t shy away from that responsibility,” Te-Hani told her supporters at the rally.

“I saw this (standing again) as a challenge. And I love a good challenge. If you tell me I can’t do something it makes me want to do it even more, besides, I had nothing to lose so even if I didn’t win at the polls, at least I opened up a platform for other mapu to have the confidence to run for Parliament.”

Te-Hani said being in Parliament had been “such an educational experience” for her.

Now getting back is “almost like being in school again but this time with the big boys”, she added.

“Like I said during my first campaign rally, I didn’t want to be in politics, and I know people tried to say my parents forced me into this, but anyone who says that obviously doesn’t know me well enough,” Te-Hani said.

“Yes, I’m only 22 and people say, ‘what do I know? I’m only a kid’. Trust me, there’s a million other things I could be doing right now. Enjoying my youth, accomplishing my goals.

“Politics was never part of my plan, but God has other plans for me, and I still have goals that I have put on hold but I can’t say no to people that ask for help when I know I can help them.”