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: Jonathan Coleman // National
Standing in 2014:
Jonathan Coleman | National
Richard Hills | Labour
Gil Ho | Internet
Tim Kronfeld | Act
Damian Light | United Future
Anne-Elise Smithson | Green
Matthew Webster | Conservatives
What do you think characterises the Northcote Electorate?
Northcote is about as diverse as it gets, but that’s why I love it, we have people here from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicties. Everyone seems to get on pretty well and the community spirit here is awesome. I feel like everyone cares a lot and wants to help out. That’s not what it’s like everywhere, so I’m pretty proud to have grown up here and standing for election.
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 Northcote Electorate?
The most common issue I am hearing from people is about housing. Whether it’s the lack of affordable housing to buy, the state of sub standard rentals or the need for more state housing, it’s coming from all corners of my community and from what I see is a major issue across New Zealand as well. We have polcies to end homelessnes, build affordable homes, make sure rental properties are warm and healthy to live in and to build more state houses.
What is your pet piece of policy? Why?
To me my pet passion and policies are around youth. Labour has policies to get youth into jobs, training, apprenticeships. We also have youth health policies around funding youth centres or one stop shops, increasing funding and access to mental health and sexual health services for young people. We also want to see comprehensive sex and sexuality education being taught in all schools to make sure young people have the information they need to help make positive decisions and support them in difficult times. I also work in the youth health sector, I see the lack of hope out there but also the massive energy and potential that youth in our communities have, we must listen to them and invest in them.
What will you do to improve the local Northcote Community?
I want to see better public transport investment in my community, I want to see a signifcant increase in the engagment with local communities, especially in the parts of the community which are less likely to speak up or even vote. If I was the MP for Northcote I would work hard to get the community more involved in the political process and really listen to their needs and ideas. People are sick of being told what they want without being asked.
Why should I vote for you?
I want people to vote for me and vote for Labour because I believe I bring something different, some new energy into what is a pretty awesome community already, but with me as the local MP and Labour in Government I know we can help create better opportunities and futures for people here and the younger generation that can’t even vote yet. I know this community and I’m proud to have been a part of it all my life, to be the local MP would be a priviledge but I would take it seriously and bring the community with me and making sure we take everyone into account by putting all people first.
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.