q5In New Zealand it’s easy to get caught up with party politics and never really learn about the people standing in your own electorate. This election I’ve tried to give every candidate (in Auckland and Wellington) a voice by asking them 5 questions. Read more about the series here.

aklcentralIncumbent: Nikki Kaye // National

Standing in 2014:
Nikki Kaye | National
Jacinda Ardern | Labour             
Dasha Kovalenko | Act                         
Denise Roche | Greens
  Miriam Pierard | Internet Party
     Richard Neutgens | Legalise Cannabis

jacinda jacindaWhat do you think characterises the Auckland Central Electorate?

Well the stats tell us a bit about the make up of Auckland Central. It’s young, well educated, and has some pretty big variations in terms of income. But the stats also give us a bit of a sense of the issues that the city faces too – there’s a pretty large group of people who rent rather than own their own home (much more so than other places), there are pockets of wealth, but there are also pockets of poverty too hidden behind big generic looking apartment buildings.

But what the stats don’t tell us is what an exciting and dynamic place it is to live, and how much potential there is for it to be even better!

What do you think the most important issue is for New Zealanders? Do you think this is the same for New Zealanders living in the Auckland Central Electorate?

If I was to only pick one (which feels so cruel!) I would say inequality, because it has such a big an impact on almost everything. I think we used to believe that everyone in the New Zealand pretty much had access to some of the same opportunities, and that if you worked hard enough there were certain things you could expect, like to be able to afford a house, access education, or even just feed your family. That’s just not the case for lots of people now, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I door knock quite a lot around Auckland Central, and while people will often have a specific issue that they’re quite passionate about, lots or people recognise that inequality is a really negative thing.

What is your pet piece of policy? Why?

Child poverty and child well being generally. I spent a few years living in a pretty small and isolated community called Murupara, and even though I was really young, I still remember noticing that some kids just didn’t have some of the basic stuff I had, like lunch and shoes. It took me a while to figure out that politics was a way I could do something about that. Now I have a bill in my name that is all about addressing child poverty. I feel like I have come full circle.

What will you do to improve the local Auckland Central Community?

Housing, transport, and decent urban design. They’re three things I am a bit obsessive about on behalf of our city. Housing in Auckland is just so unaffordable, especially for young people. I think it’s about time we acknowledged that the market has failed, and do something about it. A capital gains tax is one way we can stop speculators focusing so heavily on housing, and hopefully free up some space for people looking for their first home. We also just want to get stuck in and build 100,000 houses over ten years ourselves to ease the supply issue.

Another byproduct of not having enough housing, is that people end up in a position where they feel forced to just rent whatever they can. That’s why we want landlords to be required to ensure that at the very least their homes are insulated, warm and dry.

For me, decent urban design means designing our city for people, not cars. That means focusing on public transport too, and ensuring that the city rail link for example is built as a matter of priority. The need to transition from a car dominated city is not just about cost and convenience, it’s an environmental imperative too. If we want to make New Zealand a world leader on sustainability, and transition for instance to renewable energy, then Auckland needs to be the centre piece of that.

Why should I vote for you?

This questions makes me happier than “why should I vote at all!”

I think who you vote for all comes down to what matters most to you. If you care about people, and believe that politics can and should be used to fix the system when it’s not meeting people’s needs (like affordable housing, low wages, and environmental degradation) then I would hope that you would give a party vote to labour. It’s the only way to guarantee a change in government.

But if i could add one final plea….I know a lot of young people feel disillusioned by politics, and I can absolutely see why – the media portrayal of what we do is hardly flattering! But I am here because I still believe in the power of politics to do good, I just hope we have the chance to restore people’s faith a little bit.

dasha dashaWhat do you think characterises the Auckland Central Electorate?

Auckland Central is vibrant, diverse, cultural and modern. We live in a metropolitan city with the same hustle and bustle as London, yet we are just 10 minutes’ drive from the beach. We have it all. Museums, art galleries, top quality restaurants, world class shopping and green spaces like Albert and Myers Park. It’s also a young electorate.

I moved into the CBD when I was a student and I still live here at 25 as a solicitor. The lifestyle attracts a younger crowd.

What do you think the most important issue is for New Zealanders?

Many Kiwis are concerned with inequality. I’m concerned that many families are unable to properly clothe and feed their kids, whether it’s because they are on minimum wage or the benefit.

ACT believes the best way to address inequality is by getting people off the benefit and into jobs, and upskilling workers. This can be done by cutting company and personal tax. Individuals will have more money in their pocket to spend on necessities, and lower tax will allow business to invest in staff, making them more valuable.

Do you think this is the same for New Zealanders living in the Auckland Central Electorate?

I think so. I’ve been door knocking and have seen a lot of wealth in the electorate. But at the same time there is state housing in places like Herne Bay. Kiwis in general seem to want our families to be able to afford necessities and lead a normal life.

What is your pet piece of policy? Why?

Lower, flatter tax. When I graduated from uni and started work at a law firm I was paid peanuts. I struggled to pay my rent. After sitting down and calculating how much tax was taken from my payslip I was shocked. High tax deters people from being successful and bothering to make much money. It almost teaches you that wealth is bad. I think that’s wrong. When you work hard you need to be rewarded for that work. The wealthy are the people who set up businesses and take risks. They create jobs. High taxes also encourage people to avoid paying them entirely. Tax avoidance isn’t cheap – you need good lawyers and accountants. If we cut tax, the cost would outweigh the benefit. Our tax policy, which would lower company tax to 20% immediately, is fully-costed and affordable.

What will you do to improve the local Auckland Central Community?

I’ve heard lots about the new liquor bylaws. And I see both sides of the story. I understand CBD residents are sick of seeing drunken, disorderly behaviour. But I think it’s just a few people who ruin it for us all. Due to changes to liquor laws many CBD businesses will lose money and have to let staff go. And Auckland is so popular for its amazing night life, people come from overseas to party here! I think tougher penalties for disorderly behaviour would deter troublemakers while letting the rest have fun.

Why should I vote for you?

I don’t want you to vote for me – I want you to give ACT your party vote. What all other parties are trying to do right now is buy votes. You’ll see them promise you many things. But let’s think about where they will take the money to pay for these promises. And the answer is your pay check. We’ve already seen parties suggest higher top tax brackets and there will probably be more tax increases proposed.

ACT is the only party not trying to buy votes. ACT is the only party that doesn’t want the government to stick its nose into your business. ACT is the only party that wants to give you more choice. ACT is the only party that wants New Zealanders to succeed in life and be independent. We want every Kiwi to have the freedom to achieve, empowering themselves through choice.

The candidates featured in this post are those who have responded. If you are a candidate in Auckland Central and would still like to be included, it’s not too late. Flick me an email at and I will slip you in. 


About madicattt

Curator of The Things That Are Good. Sharing the things that stand out in the worlds of theatre, food, beauty and style.
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  1. myfoxycorner says:

    Ugh great post and can’t wait to see the rest of the series. You’re awesomeness in general at blogging about what matters always astounds me. Xxx

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