First Sikh member in New Zealand parliament

November 9th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Nov 9 (DPA) Former New Delhi businessman Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi will be the first Sikh member of the New Zealand parliament which has a record number of six Asian members following Saturday’s election.The parliament will also see its first Korean member Melissa Lee and its first Asian member Pansy Wong, who was elected in 1996, together with Bakshi, in the newly-elected National Party government ranks.

Wong, who was born in Shanghai and educated in Hong Kong before coming to New Zealand in 1974, won the new Auckland constituency of Botany with a majority of more than 10,000 after previously being in parliament on the National Party list.

Former race relations commissioner Rajen Prasad, 62, who was born in Suva of Indian parents, and Raymond Huo, 44, a lawyer and former journalist, will join Pakistan-born Ashraf Choudhary, in the opposition Labour Party.

Choudhary, 49, was New Zealand’s first Muslim member when he was elected in 2002.

All the Asian members are immigrants and Wong is the only one elected to a constituency, with the others serving in the 122-seat parliament by virtue of being on their party lists.

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