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Candidates pitch vision

The cost of living, overspending in the civil service, jobs, regional investment, and justice were top of the agenda at a packed-out candidate’s event in Greytown.

Tuesday’s Business Wairarapa electoral candidate event at The White Swan saw each of the four contenders for Wairarapa’s Parliamentary seat who attended give a 15-minute presentation to pitch their party’s vision.

The candidates were Labour incumbent Kieran McAnulty, National’s Mike Butterick, the Green’s Celia Wade-Brown, and Act’s Simon Casey.

The event was billed as “not a debate,” with each candidate speaking unchallenged during their allocated time.

More than 80 Wairarapa business community members packed into the pub to hear each candidate weigh in on the issues.

Butterick spent most of his time discussing nationwide issues like fixing the health worker shortage, getting young people off the jobseeker benefit, and harsher penalties for gangsters or ram raiders.

“We have a very firm view that everybody has rights, but they come with responsibility. So, therefore, there must be consequences,” he said.

Butterick said Wairarapa’s agricultural and meat processing industries are screaming out for workers, so there is no reason people should be able to stay on the benefit for long periods.

Wade-Brown pitched the Green Party’s dual vision of a more substantial welfare state and more stringent environmental protections.

“We’re aiming for a healthier, more equal and environmentally sound country. That’s flourishing forests and a clean ocean. It’s resilient urban design, and free dental care and early childhood education,” she said.

Casey ripped into what he saw as wasteful government spending, such as the transport project Let’s Get Wellington Moving and expensive lunches for the Ministry of Pacific Peoples.

“We’ve had this huge amount of borrowing, and if I ask you what you can see from that, you’ll be hard-pressed to answer. If it’s wasted, that’s a tragedy,” he said.

Casey emphasised the importance of public-private partnerships to fund big infrastructure projects and got raucous applause from the crowd when he suggested returning the open road speed limit on SH2 to 100kmh.

Incumbent McAnulty said serving as Wairarapa’s MP has been the honour of his life.

“The two things that excite me about this job are helping constituents get assistance and delivering investment for the region,” he said.

McAnulty said that Labour’s free-trade agreements with the UK and the EU will bring huge returns to Wairarapa’s primary sector.

He also listed off regional investments he had secured, like new trains, new state houses, and investment in Hood Aerodrome.

McAnulty emphasised that Wairarapa has lower unemployment than the national level, partly thanks to the Labour policy he was most proud of – subsidising employers for taking on apprentices.

“If you want an MP that at every opportunity will promote this region, at every opportunity will fight for investment, and if you go to them, will ensure you get the help you need, I will continue to do that if re-elected for another three years,” he said, to considerable whooping and applause.

1 COMMENT

  1. They can only talk about there party’s line so when they talk about can only be that or they are lying 💯. If you want the same party vote for it but if you want change then vote for that.

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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