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: Annette King // Labour
Standing in 2014:
Aaron Carter | Climate
Sultan Eusoff | United Future
Chris Finlayson | National
Annette King | Labour
Russel Norman | Green
Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati | Mana
Brent Pierson | NZ First
Don Richards | Independent
Bruce Welsh | Conservative
What do you think characterises the Rongotai Electorate?
Rongotai is a really diverse electorate and in a way it’s characterised by that diversity. There are a lot of families in Rongotai and also a lot of young people flatting. That makes for a great, high-energy mix. It also means that we’re very future focussed, thinking about education, jobs, debt, and what kind of a future we’re building for ourselves and our kids.
Also, Rongotai has an awesome Mexican restaurant that pays its staff a living wage, a really successful fair trade coffee roaster, and some of the best burgers in Wellington!
The iconic south coast beaches like Island Bay and Lyall Bay are a hugely important part of this part of Wellington. The National government has put them at risk by allowing deep sea oil drilling off the south coast. The Green Party in government will protect them.
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 Rongotai Electorate?
Rongotai faces similar challenges to many places in New Zealand: how to grow jobs and wages, spread the wealth around, and do it in a sustainable and environmentally sensible way that we can be proud of as New Zealanders. That’s why the Green Party would invest in research and development, to grow local businesses that create high-wage, high-tech jobs. A good example in Rongotai is the Miramar film industry hub, exporting Kiwi ingenuity and creativity to the world.
Inequality is a national issue, and it’s obvious in Rongotai where we have a huge range of wealth in our communities. We have a moral responsibility to end child poverty and the Greens have a plan. We’d invest $1 billion in our poorest children, and we’d pay for this by a small tax increase on income over $140,000 (with a matching increase in trust tax rate). We’d give everyone else a small tax cut as part of our Climate Protection Plan. That’s how the Greens in government will grow a fairer society.
Too many houses all over New Zealand are cold and damp. In Rongotai we feel this when the cold winter southerly whips off the Cook Strait. The Green party has a plan to insulate 200,000 more houses and cut the average household power bill by $300 a year.
What is your pet piece of policy? Why?
I’m very proud of the Green Party’s plan to clean up our rivers. Currently over half the monitored rivers in New Zealand aren’t clean enough to swim in, and the National government is ok with that.
Swimming in rivers is the birthright of every Kiwi and the Green Party in government has a plan to work with local communities and businesses to make 100% of our rivers safe for swimming.
What will you do to improve the local Rongotai Community?
Schools are at the heart of many Kiwi communities. We have some great schools in Rongotai but the government needs to support them more. The Green Party would help them put solar panels on their roofs so they can save money on electricity and instead spend it on helping kids learn. We’d provide nurses and free lunches in low decile schools, as well as free after school care and holiday programmes. And we’d extend 20 hours free early childhood education to 2 year olds, which would really make a difference for young families.
Our Green Card free off-peak public transport for all tertiary students and apprentices would make a big difference for all the students living in Rongotai – $35 a week on average, which is a lot when you’re living on a tight student budget.
Why should I vote for you?
You should give your Party Vote to the Green Party because we love New Zealand and when we’re in government we’ll build a fairer, smarter, cleaner New Zealand.
The candidates featured in this post are those who have responded. If you are a candidate in Rongotai 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.