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: Peter Dunne // United Future
Standing in 2014:
Virginia Anderson | Labour
Michael Brunner | Conservative
Peter Dunne | United Future
Sean Fitzpatrick | Act
Sue Hamill | Independent
Brett Hudson | National
Alida Steemson | Democrats for Social Credit
Tane Woodley | Green
Ohariu is a diverse, urban electorate, with a rural hinterland, a variety of different suburbs, and
a high proportion of families raising children, with both parents engaged in full or part time employment. It is also one of the fastest growing areas of Wellington.
I think the major issue for New Zealanders, including those in Ohariu, is about securing opportunity for the future for themselves and their children. This is not just economic opportunity, although that is important, but also opportunity through reducing inequality, living in a safe and secure environment, and bring given every chance to achieve their dreams and potential. For UnitedFuture, it is summed up in the slogan, fairness and choice.
Consistent with my answer above, I have two pet pieces of policy: allowing households to share their incomes for tax purposes, potentially boosting their household incomes by thousands of dollars, and Flexisuper which gives people the choice of New Zealand Superannuation at the current rate at age 65; or a reduced rate from 60 if they chose that, or an enhanced rate if they waited until age 70.
Over the years I have worked hard for Ohariu. I have helped literally thousands of individual constituents; have seen all our schools upgraded; our rail service modernised, with new trains; and major roading developments like the upgrading of Ngauranga Gorge and the decision to proceed with the Transmission Gully highway. Over the next three years I intend to build on that record by promoting the redevelopment of the Johnsonville CBD, improving ultra fast broadband access, and working as closely as ever with our new migrant and community groups to make Ohariu an ever better place to live.
You should vote for me because Ohariu is where I live and work, and we raised our family. I am committed to our area and am the only major candidate to live in the electorate. I have a genuine passion for the area. Beyond that, I have a proven record as an effective and capable MP and Minister, able to achieve on behalf of Ohariu. A vote for me ensures Ohariu will continue to have not only a passionate local advocate. Who understands what makes our area tick, but also a representative able to advocate its interests effectively at the highest levels of government and ensure real progress.
What do you think characterises the Ohariu Electorate?
I think Ohariu is made up of hard working middle New Zealanders trying to provide the best life they can for themselves and their families. The demographic statistics show that a lot of the residents are of an age where they just missed out on the free tertiary education. And while the average income is higher than other parts of New Zealand many people living in this area started out their adult lives in debt and will remain in debt. The people of Ohariu have strong opinions and I believe they’re fed up with not being listened to.
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 Ohariu Electorate?
I think the biggest issue for all New Zealanders, including Ohariu residents, at the moment is the rise of poverty and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Food prices, utilities and housing are becoming more and more expensive. People are working harder and harder just to provide the basics to their families. Their quality of life is suffering. I also think it’s important to remember that even if you are doing ok, not everyone is. To me, true equality is when everyone doing ok.
What is your pet piece of policy? Why?
Democrats for Social Credit are all about economic reform. This is based on the conviction that: Whatever is socially and environmentally desirable, and physically attainable, is financially possible.
Our most important piece of policy is our Tool Kit for a New Economy. These tools will create wealth for all New Zealanders, direct investment funds toward the real economy of goods and services, discourage speculation, and most importantly – significantly reduce the burden of compounding interest.
One of the key elements to this tool kit will be the introduction of the financial transactions tax (FTT) or, as some call it, the Robin Hood tax. The NZ dollar is the ninth most traded currency in the world with $50 billion dollars a day involved in financial transactions within New Zealand. Just 0.1% of that figure (i.e. a tenth of a percent), a level so small that ordinary consumers will barely notice the loss from each transaction, is $50 million a day or more than $18 billion a year in potential revenue.
Here is a link to a great little video by Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy on YouTube that explains it quite nicely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYtNwmXKIvM
Of course I think that all of our policy is great and works together with the goal of creating a new economy for a just society on a healthy planet
What will you do to improve the local Ohariu Community?
I think the most important thing I can do for the people of Ohariu is to ask them what they want and when they speak, actually listen to them.
I also believe our schools create the mainstay of our communities so funding and support will be injected into these areas to create community hubs. These can be spring boards where generations can learn from each other and communities can grow together with a sense of ownership and belonging.
Why should I vote for you?
I am all about the people. I haven’t got shares in any big business and I don’t have friends in high places that will benefit from me being in parliament. I believe in consultation and working together. I don’t use dirty tactics and I don’t lie or have moments of forgetfulness.
My vote is not for sale and I won’t cross the floor for the highest bidder. I will fight for the people’s best interests and for transparency in all decision making within the government.
If you want to know more about the Democrats for Social Credit, check out our website:
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.