By Gladys Hartson - email@example.com
Two Samoan women are standing in council by-elections in Hamilton and Auckland.
Josephine Bartley is running for councillor in the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki ward in Auckland and Meleane Burgess is running for councillor in the Hamilton-East ward.
Lawyer Bartley says she wants to step up from her local board service.
"It's an opportunity to serve my community at a regional level," she says. "I know the issues in my community because I've been on the local board since 2010. I'm the chairperson and have been since November 2016 so I have the relationships with the community and the business and I want to make a difference."
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Bartley is standing against Josh Beddell, with postal voting set to begin next Friday.
Meanwhile, Burgess, the only Pacific candidate out of 15 people standing in the Hamilton City Council by-election, is stressing the need for diversity in local government.
"It's important that we have a Pacific Island representative and have a Pacific Island perspective on these decision-makings and I want to use my skills and expertise in this council."
Burgess is the founder and chair of the Waikato Pacific Business Network.
Postal voting for the vacancy in the Hamilton-East ward opens next Friday with a preliminary result to be announced on February 17.
Meleane Burgess. Photo/ Facebook.