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.

EPSOM copy



Withdrawn Incumbent: John Banks // Act

Standing in 2014:
Julie Anne Genter | Greens
Paul Goldsmith | National
Pat O’Dea | Mana
Grace Haden | Independent
Christine Rankin | Conservatives
David Seymour | Act
Michael Wood | Labour



What do you think characterises the Epsom Electorate?

The electorate is highly astute in matters that affect them, and able to respond strongly. The recent issues over school zones is an excellent example. They are also conscious of the influence they play in New Zealand politically, and take that responsibility very seriously. The other aspect which I have noticed in my conversations around the electorate is a ‘self-awareness’ of the general affluence of Epsom, and that other’s do it tougher. So there is a concern for government that will run the country well, but also do the things that will build a positive and productive nation.

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 Epsom Electorate?

Well you know me! Families and how we raise our kids is tremendously important as it works its way through every part of society. The messages and encouragement kids get as they grow up stay with them for life. We need to do everything we can to give them a great upbringing, – one that challenges them to develop, but provides protection where it is needed. And that is where I am hardline on drinking age and so called legal highs. And yes, that is something that crosses all strata of society and the entire nation. It is certainly an issue in Epsom, even if it is not publicly talked about a lot.

What is your pet piece of policy? Why?

Protection of and advocacy for children is important. A lot has happened around communities in New Zealand since the awful Kahui killings, but the sad reality is that despite the anti-smacking legislation (which I am sure you know I opposed for several reasons), children are still being killed. It will be intergenerational, and we must keep a focus on real abuse. Violence is too high in our little country and we need to keep on working for a decent and safe society. There are several ways to tackle that. The public hear about the headline grabbers, but it comes down to the standards and values we live by, and critically, the personal courage of (usually) wonderful women who front up to the violent men in the families and say enough is enough. A lot of good efforts have been made, but we must keep on and never give in on this until not one child dies in our country through violence or neglect. I should point out that recent generations of drugs such as P make the problem manifestly worse.

What will you do to improve the local Epsom Community?

The Epsom Community is well able to articulate what they want done and when, and people telling them what they ‘want’ won’t wash. My major offering is a very strong voice, especially in knowing how to influence bureaucracies as well as the major political players. I will say though, that our polling does tell us that there is an underlying concern about legal highs and alcohol around teenagers, and of course this is where I have been stating that this is a specific area that I feel I can make a difference in.

Why should I vote for you

The best chance for stable, centre right government is to elect me as MP for Epsom. On current polling, electing me to Epsom means I would bring three or four MP’s to Parliament. Act can bring only 1.

The second point is that I am very different to the other candidates. I bring a wealth of experience as a CEO of one of the Country’s largest organisations, and was instrumental in seeing it go from one of the worst performing government departments to becoming one of the best. Since then I have become known for my advocacy work and ability to influence the nation on issues such as children. I am currently an elected representative on a District Health Board, and have experience on a Regional Board and local boards. So my knowledge of government, it’s interactions with bureaucracies, and how we get the best performance from those for the benefit of communities is stronger than ever.



What do you think characterises the Epsom Electorate?

Epsom is one of the most livable neighbourhoods in Auckland because it has a number of urban villages. It’s got all the benefits of being in a city – great restaurants, relatively frequent and easy public transport, close to the action – but it’s also full of beautiful trees and green spaces like Maungawhau Domain.

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 Epsom Electorate?

New Zealanders are facing a very clear choice. The National Government is offering more of the same – an economy reliant on increasing pollution and a society where the gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing.

I think one of the biggest issues for Epsom is transport in Auckland. It’s a perfect example of an issue where there are practical, affordable solutions that will be better for people, the economy and the environment. For some reason, National seems stuck in the 20th century, and are delaying progress on Auckland’s rail and public transport network – even though it’s what people want and it makes economic sense.

What is your pet piece of policy? Why?

The Green Party has a comprehensive, costed plan for transport that will revolutionise the way people get around our towns and cities. Our Auckland plan will see the Congestion Free network implemented, fares reduced starting with free off peak public transport for tertiary students and apprentices.

This is my favourite policy because it is such a huge win-win. It costs less for government, households and business. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. And it will make Auckland a more vibrant, healthy and happy city to live in.

What will you do to improve the local Epsom Community?

The Green Party has policies designed to improve housing affordability, to protect tenants, to run clean buses and trains every few minutes at peak, and to make it safe and pleasant to walk or cycle to school and the shops. All of this will be great for the community in Epsom, because it will make it an even more attractive, diverse and vibrant place to live. By saving households money on housing and transport, they have more money to spend on goods and services in the local economy. We will also invest in education and research and development, so there will be more good green job opportunities, for young people in particular.

Why should I vote for you?

The Green Party is the third largest party and we have a stable, united and proven team of talented MPs who are all elected on the party vote – I am proud to be one. The best way to ensure that I continue to be in parliament to advocate for smart, green solutions for Epsom is to Party Vote Green.



What do you think characterises the Epsom Electorate?

Epsom is a great community, blessed with wonderful maunga, vibrant villages, and people of many talents. Sadly though, the electorate has been mainly distinguished by the fact that it has been used and abused to prop up the ACT Party through a dodgy political deal.

That’s not how democracy should work and this campaign I am encouraging Epsom people to stand up and take back their electorate by voting according to their own beliefs, not a deal cooked up between political parties.

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 Epsom Electorate?

The single most important issue is an economy that is geared to work for all New Zealanders. At the moment we have an economic recovery that is delivering for a small number of people, but many others continue to struggle. For example, 46% of people received no pay increase last year. We are overly reliant on the dairy sector, which does not support the kind of high skill/high wage jobs we need for prosperity, and we are seeing serious environmental consequences because of its unchecked expansion. We need an economy strategy that puts people first, and that recognises that we are all in the end dependent on our environment. That’s what Labour’s Economic Upgrade is focussed on.

What is your pet piece of policy? Why?

For me, it is Labour’s Work & Wages policy which will deliver a higher minimum wage, a Living Wage for more people, and work towards a new system for ensuring that people are fairly rewarded for their work. I believe that inequality is one of the defining problems of our time. The gaps between people in New Zealand have grown too wide. If we can’t look one another in the eye as equals, then our community bonds begin to fray. If we ever want to seriously address this problem, then we need to begin with the source problem of low wages.

What will you do to improve the local Epsom Community?

I’ll work hard to ensure that people’s local concerns are heard. I’ve been an elected Local Board member for the past six years, so and come to believe strongly that the community level stuff really matters. I’ll advocate for better public transport, more affordable housing options for families, thriving town centres, and heritage protection.

Why should I vote for you? 

I chose to stand in Epsom because I really believe in democracy and I am angered by the way that the Epsom electorate has been manipulated over the years to prop up ACT. Dodgy deals between political parties undermine public confidence on our democratic system. I’m asking people to Party Vote Labour so that we can have a government that puts people first and takes action to provide good jobs, affordable housing, and that supports our families. For your electorate vote I am asking you to use your vote to stop the ACT Party rort. Don’t be pushed around by the ‘deal’. Regardless of your party preference, vote for the candidate you think will be best for the community.

The candidates featured in this post are those who have responded. If you are a candidate standing for Epsom and would still like to be included, it’s not too late. Flick me an email at madicattt@gmail.com 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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