Kuala Lumpur Post

World

New Zealand MP dies in charity fun run

WELLINGTON — A 49-year-old New Zealand member of parliament died suddenly while taking part in a charity fun run Wednesday, his colleagues said.

Father-of-two Efeso Collins collapsed during a “Water Run” in Auckland held for ChildFund, which brings clean drinking water to children in the Pacific.

It was “a cause close to Efeso’s heart,” the Green Party said in a statement. “The on-site medical team immediately went to Efeso’s aid and did everything they could to revive him.”

Tributes poured in from political friends and adversaries alike.

“We are absolutely devastated,” Greens co-leader James Shaw told reporters at parliament in Wellington, his voice shaking with emotion.

“He was deeply committed and steadfast in what he believed in and stood for and championed, but did all that with a sense of grace.”

Collins was a New Zealand-born Samoan who won a seat for East Auckland in last October’s general election.

“His parliamentary career, and his contribution, was only just beginning,” Shaw added. “He only gave his maiden speech last week.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said he was “truly shocked and saddened.”

“Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities,” Luxon added in a statement.

Collins served as a Labour member of Auckland Council until 2022, when he unsuccessfully ran to be mayor of New Zealand’s largest city. — AFP