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: David Shearer // Labour
Standing in 2014:
Joe Carolan | Mana
Jeanette Elley | Green
Tommy Fergusson | Act
Jeffrey Johnson | Conservative
Melissa Lee | National
David Shearer | Labour
Anthony van den Heuvel | Human Rights Party
Michael Wackrow | Independent
What do you think characterises the Mt Albert Electorate?
It’s a collection of really strong local communities, each with its own identity. There’s a sense of belonging — people move here for it. My family and I love living in this electorate for exactly that reason.
What do you think the most important issue is for New Zealanders?
I think there are two. First, growing inequality: the gap between our richest and poorest is widening, and that needs to be reversed. A good society cares for its vulnerable.
Second, our economy is pretty outdated. It’s devoted too strongly to old-fashioned commodity exports. We’ve been talking for years about moving to a high-value, high-wage economy, so let’s do it. That means carving out a niche internationally that’s smart, clean and modern.
Do you think this is the same for New Zealanders living in the Mt Albert Electorate?
Yes we certainly see the heart-breaking effects of inequality in my electorate office. But Mt Albert has its own challenges too, like how to keep up with the population growth and intensification of Auckland.
We need to make sure our facilities – schools, parks, public transport – keep pace with that growth.
The greatest cities in the world have great public transport. People who have travelled to Berlin, Sydney or New York know how great it can be.
What is your pet piece of policy? Why?
I have a Food In Schools bill before parliament at the moment, so children can learn how to grow their own food in gardens and prepare it themselves – skills for life that we desperately need with so many New Zealand children either hungry, or obese through bad nutrition. So much better than a hand-out.
I’m also working on unbundling our power bills so that when electricity prices rise we can see why – and who is responsible. At the moment, power companies have it all their way, and are really pulling the wool.
What will you do to improve the local Mt Albert Community?
Based on what the community is telling me, I’m focusing on four main things:
– Modern public transport
– Improved public parks
– Strong communities
– A world-class education at our local school
Why should I vote for you?
I have a record of working for people throughout my life. I live in the electorate and want the best for it, just like everyone else. Over the years I’ve assisted thousands of people in this electorate.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will slip you in.