In 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.
Incumbent (Stood Down): Claudette Hauiti // National
Standing in 2014:
Ruth Irwin | Greens
Jeffrey Lye | Legalise Cannabis
Christopher Penk | National
Roshni Sami | Internet
Carmel Sepuloni | Labour
Paul Sommer | Conservatives
Jason Woolston | United Future
I grew up out west, in Titirangi, went to Titirangi Primary, Glen Eden Intermediate, and Green Bay High School. I bought my first house in Massey and raised my son there until he was 9. Then we went overseas for 5 years while I did my PhD at University of Glasgow, and then came back and bought a house in Laingholm. My work is in Philosophy, Education, Globalisation, and Climate Change. I’ve written a few books on these topics. – Actually we have a book launch coming up – come along. I’ll attach the invitation. The book is called ‘Beyond the Free Market: Rebuilding a Just Society in New Zealand’.
My pet project is climate change and social justice. I see the two things as going hand in hand. There is no doubt that climate change is already making a huge impact, worldwide. It has certainly changed the seasons, and the intensity of storms and drought here in West Auckland. It impacts Kelston and I want to see us shift towards creating infrastructure and genuine opportunities for people to lower their carbon emissions, and increase resilience to the changes that are looming.
Kelston is a very interesting electorate. It is mostly housing, with a major manufacturing centre on Rosebank Peninsular and another smaller manufacturing centre in Henderson. That means that most of our constituents commute to work.
It is an area where young families could once buy their first homes, but this is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Thus, poverty and transience are becoming an increasing part of our demographic. We also have overcrowding, and more than a few slum landlords. While we haven’t had the horrible violence that occurred in Te Atatu, similar issues of poverty are a problem for a large number of people in Kelston.
There are 4 or 5 issues that are most pressing; good job opportunities, adequate public transport, safe secure housing, and good schooling, including supporting communities through healthy school lunches.
The Greens have policy around all these areas; increasing the minimum wage, promoting the liveable wage, stimulating the economy with smart green initiatives such as solar panels on schools. We don’t want an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff: job opportunities reduce family poverty and a smart economy will turn away from a fossil fuel economy with low paid short term jobs, towards a technologically driven workforce with good educational opportunities and better chances for really interesting, long term work. The Greens are going to put 1 billion dollars into research and development to encourage the shift towards green technology and green jobs.
We want to significantly improve the public transport links by making a rail link in the central city and increasing the number of trains out west. The Greens also want to promote safe cycle paths, and safe walking and cycling to school. All of these things make it easier for people to lower their carbon emissions.
The Greens support State Housing. We want to build more affordable houses for young families, with better design, insulation, and energy efficiency. Our insulation policy was implemented by the National Party over the last 6 years but we would like to extend it.
School hubs are also an enormously popular policy that will have a very positive impact on Kelston. We want to make schools the centre of our communities. We have costed the introduction of nurses to all large decile 1 – 4 schools. We will introduce school breakfast and lunch. We want to funnel money away from Charter schools and Public Private Partnerships and focus on excellent provision of public education. This includes building 20 new kindergartens on school sites across the country. We have begun a solar panels on schools project to bring down the emissions and the cost of energy. And we support the Eco-schools initiative by bringing back the funding for Sustainable Schools lecturers at Teacher Training providers.
As you can see, its a comprehensive policy platform for creating really good change for the Kelston community. We want people to Party vote Green so that we can introduce these policies in a Green-Labour coalition.
The candidates featured in this post are those who have responded. If you are a candidate in Helensville and would still like to be included, it’s not too late. Flick me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will slip you in.