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September 25, 2013 | by  | in Homepage News |
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Maharaj Snapped on Snapper Issue

VUWSA Presidential candidate Thomas Maharaj has been falsely implying that his connections to Snapper would make him better placed to achieve fare discounts for tertiary students.

A number of students reported to Salient Thomas Maharaj had told them that “just between you and me” he had connections at Snapper which would help him to introduce student fares. On his campaign Facebook page, one comment suggests Maharaj’s father owns Snapper.

Since the story was published this evening, Maharaj has contacted Salient to deny the extent to which he has been relying on personal connections to support his campaign.

“[N]ever have I said that these connections would achieve fairer fares—although to some extent, I do believe that these connections can be helpful.”

The companies register reveals Maharaj’s father, Noel Maharaj, is CEO and owns 25 per cent of HTS Group Limited (HTS). HTS are contracted by Snapper to provide services and maintenance. Maharaj has admitted he worked for his father’s company in the past—most recently in January this year—providing installation services for electronics on buses.

A representative of HTS told Salient the company did not have any influence on fares for any group, including for tertiary students.

“It has to do with the equipment, the installation, the maintenance of the card… it’s not to do with fares and stuff,” they said.

When asked by Salient on his plans to achieve fairer fares given the absence of influence HTS has on fare structures, Maharaj stated the importance of connections with councillors and central government. Maharaj has worked with Labour MP Trevor Mallard as a community organiser, and also with Greater Wellington Regional Councillor (GWRC) Paul Bruce.

Fares in the wider Wellington region are decided by the GWRC. In June, the GWRC announced a long-term draft proposal for fare structures which did not include fare subsidies for tertiary students.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Sam says:

    This guy told myself and another in Pipitea on Monday that his dad owned Snapper.

    • Barry Clark says:

      This is obviously some cheap and dirty tactics to bring Thomas Maharaj down no real evidence provided and facebook comments taken out of context…ohh well people will do anything to win

  2. Amanda Johnstone says:

    I find this very sad that Chris McIntyre could write a false article. This is rubbish. As a law student myself and have listened to Thomas speak , I know he would not be dumb enough to say the above. It has been taken into complete wrong context, there was a facebook comment that someone wrote on his wall in regards to snapper, Thomas never responded because it is not correct. A Director/ Shareholder of a company would not disclose how much his shares are to a pathetic news paper from a university – especially when his son is running for president of VUWSA. What a crock of shit. I noticed there was a positive comment listed above to support Thomas that has been deleted. I highly bet you are a friend of the opposition. If this is correct then someone is obviously desperate to win.

    • Amanda Johnstone says:

      I know you can locate his financial statement, but I am sure his dad would not even speak with you.

    • Chris McIntyre says:

      Hi Amanda

      The story is based on numerous reports from people who have said Thomas claimed his father would help to get a tertiary subsidy given he owned Snapper. This has been confirmed from over five people, who are independent and have no means or joint motive to corroborate their reports.

      As a law student, I’m sure you are aware every company in New Zealand is required to list with the companies register, including directors and shareholders. You, and indeed anybody with an internet connection, can see at the following link the four shareholders of HTS Group – it is publicly available information. Please see here:

      If you wish to support Thomas’ campaign I suggest you do so by asking him to tell the truth to students when he is on the campaign trail rather than denigrating factually correct information. Both myself and the editors completely stand by this story and complaints from Thomas have not been upheld for a reason: he is in the wrong here.

      Kind regards,


    • Skeptical says:

      Oh wow. Over five people.

      I’m sure you’re sure they’re independent too.

      No, i believe you Salient, being such the shining example of journalistic integrity that you clearly are.


    • anonymous says:

      Chris i have seen you hanging out with Sonya. How pathetic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Really? It’s the councils, and the bus companies that determine bus fares. This story appears to be fabricated because someone doesn’t like the candidate. Awesome journalism.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It would appear that this is all based off a FB Comment from someone else which has now escalated into a “He said, she said” tell tale story. Tommie knows better than anyone else about false claims which could have negative effects on his family and their interests (personal, or commercial).

    I would like to challenge the Salient to provide some hard evidence which can prove Tommie said the statements that are alleged in this article.

    I’m still under the belief that this article is bullshit.

  5. Stewart Goyal says:

    No Confidence in any candidates.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Chris you need to get educated, and learn how to write articles, you have printed an article based on one opinion. I will be more then happy to support Thomas financially if legal action is required. For a start:

    1.Sonya writes for Salient on a regular basis and you are friends.

    2. Some of the information gained is from FACEBOOK comments, someone wrote on his wall ” haha just say your dad owns snapper and you will get the vote ” this was from a good friend as a joke, who knows Thomas better then alot of people. now this has turned into a he said – she said from nothing. The students interviewed i bet were all supporters of the opposition to begin with.

    3. The debate will be covered by SALIET, all one way – from Chris who is a supporter of Sonya Clarke – in my eyes this is not fair.

    I think it is time for someone fresh to step in without any connections from either and write what they think. I bet this comment will not be posted because of your one way views on life and lack of life experiences.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This article isn’t bullshit. I wish it was because Thomas is a really nice guy but he actually did come up to me and a group of friends asking if we used the bus and saying he was going to bring fares down for us. We were like oh yeah ok and he said he could because his dad owns snapper. I don’t think he was doing it maliciously. Maybe his ego got the better of him in that moment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    [ABRIDGED] using the media in your power is a hurtful thing, dropping an article to wreck someones reputation before the election is very sad. If you ever knew Thomas and interviewed him properly without a negative/ bias opinion from the beginning, you would see that, all he wanted to do was help people, money in life does not matter to him personally, helping the world around him is what counted, if you knew his upbringing and life experiences you would understand, he never grew up rich, he grew up having to fight for everything, where he is today, he has done on his own, no help from any family or parents. Thomas could not care who he is friends with, he has the ability to connect with all walks of life, everyone in life deserves a chance to shine is his motto. Never once has he said straight out that his dad owns snapper- because he doesn’t, its all based on a he said/ she said. Thomas is not dumb enough to say that. He always went the extra mile to do the right thing. It takes courage to stand up being the underdog in this whole election, especially when your going against a pack of mates. I think someone who is not associated with any of the candidates should of interviewed and written a story, being of mixed race and having some Fijian/Indian blood in you makes this made up story sound worse . [ABRIDGED]

    Kind Regards,

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