The taxi driver who picked me up at Wellington Airport last week asked why I was in the city.
When I said I was up for valedictory speeches at parliament discussion turned to politics and he said he’d always voted Labour until the last election when he’d voted National.
He planned to vote National again this time because he didn’t think Labour is on the right track and John Key and National are.
He said Samoans like him had traditionally voted Labour and his decision to change wasn’t taken lightly but he wasn’t the only one who was thinking blue rather than red.
The taxi driver who took me back to the airport was also Samoan.
He said he always voted Labour but last time he’d voted New Zealand First. He wasn’t sure how he’d vote this time but he wasn’t happy with Labour.
The views of two taxi drivers doesn’t have statistical validity but these conversations confirm a trend of change in political allegiance among Pacific people.
The work of National MPs Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Alfred Ngaro has helped as has the enthusiastic campaigning by Mangare candidate Misa Fia Turner.
But there is also a recognition by more Pacific people that National values are more like theirs than those of other parties.
One of those is Jonah Lomu:
Some of the comments left in response to Lomu’s tweet contained an unfortunate level of vitriol.
But like it or not, National is working for all New Zealanders and no party can take the support of any people, individuals or groups, for granted.