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Wairarapa candidates given five questions

The seven candidates standing for Wairarapa’s electorate seat were all sent the questions below and given a set word limit for their responses. They weren’t required to answer all questions. Te Pāti Māori did not respond to the Times-Age’s request for its candidate, Te Whakapono Waikare, to participate.

1Why would you be the best electorate MP for Wairarapa [or, if you’re exclusively focusing on the party vote, why is that and what’s your pitch]?

2 What do you think is the most important issue facing the Wairarapa electorate, and what do you/your party propose doing about it?

3 What are the three most important issues facing the country as a whole, and what do you/your party propose doing about them?

4 Many enrolled voters appear to be disengaged by politics, currently. Why is that and how can engagement be improved?

5 Why is your party and its likely coalition partners the best choice to form NZ’s next government [and why aren’t the other lot]?

Mike Butterick, National

1 I’ve spent my life in provincial New Zealand and understand the issues our region faces. If I earn the right to be your MP, I’ll be laser-focused on things like the economy so we can get interest rates and the cost of living down. I’ve run farming businesses and understand how tough it is, and how much of our region’s economy relies on a strong rural sector. Wairarapa is a fantastic place to live, and I want it to be a place where our children can build a future and raise their own families. If I’m fortunate enough to be selected I’ll advocate for everyone in this electorate, regardless of whether they voted for me or not.

2 The cost of living. The Government’s economic mismanagement has driven up the cost of everything, with wasteful spending and red tape sending inflation skywards. National is the only party with a plan to rebuild our economy so we can get inflation under control and help everyone get ahead. We’ll stop the waste, stop adding unnecessary costs to businesses, and we’ll provide tax relief of up to $250 a fortnight for a working family with kids. We’ll also scrap the Ute Tax and stop Labour’s planned fuel tax increase.

3 The top issue is getting our economy back on track, and we’ve got a 100-point plan to do exactly that. Another key issue is the sense of lawlessness we’re feeling in our communities as ramraids and robberies become an almost daily headline. We’ll strengthen sentences for criminals, crack down on serious young offenders, and we’ll give police more powers to crack down on gangs.

A national issue felt strongly in Wairarapa is the crisis in our health system. We’ve got to focus on building our health workforce, and National will do that by paying off up to $4500 a year of nurses’ and midwives’ student loans if they stay working in New Zealand, as well as by establishing a third medical school with a particular focus on training doctors for rural and provincial areas like ours.

4 People want to know political parties are focused on the issues that matter to them. It’s tough out there at the moment, and National is the only party talking about the issues that people lose sleep over, like the cost of living and crime. I’ve been meeting as many people as I can during this campaign to hear about people’s issues and sharing with them how only a party vote for National will guarantee a change of government to deliver a stronger economy and safer streets.

5 We’ve been very clear that the only way to guarantee a change of government and stop three more years of a high taxing, high spending Coalition of Chaos between Labour, the Greens, and Te Pāti Māori is to party vote National. On the other side, Labour’s support parties have made more taxes a bottom line and one of them even wants to abolish prisons. Our preference is a stable working government alongside the Act Party.

Simon Casey, Act

1 I am exclusively focusing on the party vote. The reason is that the party vote is the biggest factor in setting the number of MPs. Act needs as many MPs as possible to be a strong coalition partner to enable the real change we need to turn this country around.

Having said that, I do have a passion for Wairarapa and believe it does need good representation in parliament. I do think Wairarapa needs a new electorate MP and I trust voters will decide accordingly.

2 I have two areas of critical significance for Wairarapa. One is reinstating the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme. Due to climate change, we will get drought conditions again and not having sufficient water storage could result in a water crisis that will affect every citizen.

The other is transport. The Remutaka Hill road is too fragile and not fit for purpose. It is continuously being closed due to crashes, weather, and maintenance. We need to plan for an alternative. We also need to investigate a bypass from Featherston to Masterton, especially for heavy traffic. It will make Wairarapa far more productive and allow the local towns to flourish.

But there is no public funding for any of these ideas. So, Act would enable New Zealand and overseas investors to enter into Public Private Partnerships that could make these projects viable.

3 The first is inflation. Inflation has been caused by this government’s wasteful spending and incompetence. Only Act has the courage to trim the size of the public service back to 2017 staffing levels of backroom administration and management functions. This will not only allow significant savings but allow the front-line positions to be better resourced.

The second is education. Act will reinstate charter or partnership schools, which are a proven success. This has been independently verified in a report by consultancy firm Martin Jenkins. Charter schools allow schools to choose the best curriculum and method to teach the kids they serve. They can specialise in order to help disadvantaged children. Bulk funding will allow schools to put the funds where they believe they’re needed. And a teacher reward programme will motivate teachers to give their best.

The third is law and order. Act is serious about keeping society safe and will ensure dangerous and violent criminals are not given home detention but put in prison. For recidivist violent offenders, we will reinstate the three strikes law to ensure our community is kept safe. But Act will also ensure that programmes are in place for prisoners to help them get parole. They will need to agree to an education programme to teach them literacy and numeracy as well as get a driver’s licence to help them become employable on release. Finally, Act will ensure that victims of crime are paid compensation by the state, with the state taking the responsibility to collect that compensation from the perpetrator.

4 I believe the biggest reason is that they feel ignored and powerless. This has not been helped by both local and national politics offering community engagement only to ignore community feedback and proceed to implement their own agenda.

Governments must do a better job of selling their ideas rather than forcing them. Three Waters would be the best example of this. Social media has a role to play in ensuring that electorate MPs engage better with their community – especially younger voters.

5 Act has a proven record of getting results. The best example is the successful delivery of the End-of-Life Choice Bill and charter schools by David Seymour as a lone MP. He achieved this by winning sufficient support from other MPs across the spectrum. Also, Brooke Van Veldon was voted best rookie MP by the NZ Herald. To have both these achievements clearly demonstrates that Act is a results-oriented party and are the most qualified to be an effective coalition partner.

Kieran McAnulty, Labour

1 For way too long, Wairarapa was ignored and overlooked and pretty much taken for granted. I have changed this and secured record investment for Wairarapa.

I’ve been active and visible, having literally thousands of interactions with constituents. I pride myself on being accessible and fronting up, and it gives me enormous satisfaction when constituents tell me I am the most active MP they have seen for a long time and I am the first MP to have actually bothered to help them. I have taken every opportunity to promote Wairarapa, our businesses, and the people that work here.

Wairarapa is my home and always has been. I am a 100 per cent local with deep roots. I was stoked to be elected as the local MP for my home region. I’ve often said it is the privilege of my life to have been elected. I will continue to bring that focus, energy, and commitment to our region to the role if re-elected. We’ve made great strides, and I am keen to continue that.

I am a known quantity and man of my word. I have delivered on every promise I made at the last election. In 2020 I promised that, if elected, I would:

Return public housing for Wairarapa for the first time since 1999;

Secure funding for new trains for Wairarapa’s line, which will double commuter services;

Ensure communities get a say in where and to what extent carbon forestry can occur;

Fund roundabouts at the Ngaumutawa Road and Norfolk Road intersections.

These are commitments fulfilled. With me, people know exactly what they are getting, and they know I deliver.

2 Probably the most important issue facing Wairarapa’s electorate – and we share this with the nation – is the cost of living and the battle against inflation.

Times have been tough but, unlike many other countries, our economy has turned a corner. Our plan is working. Inflation will be in the target band next year. We were not and are not in a recession. We have a record number of people in work and wage increases will stay above inflation. We’re also helping out with targeted assistance. We are getting the job done without making deep cuts to public services, many of which have only just returned to our region after years of neglect. National and Act’s tax cuts do not add up and can only be paid for by public service cuts. They will also be inflationary. Wairarapa will lose out yet again if this approach is taken.

3 Along with the cost of living, I’d rate accessing quality health services and employment as other important issues faced by the country. Promises of tax cuts mean nothing if you’re going to lose your job to pay for them.

The health reforms underway will benefit Wairarapa. We were never served well by the DHB model. We missed out compared to other regions. Improving access to health for rural people was a big driver of the reforms. Getting healthcare should never be determined by where you live but by your need. We have put an end to that and now have the building blocks in place to improve services. The next phase is a huge drive to train more of our own nurses and doctors and massively increase funding for medicines, which is underway and fully funded.

Locally, Wairarapa needs a bigger hospital, and if re-elected I will make sure that happens. That is my top priority and commitment to the region.

5 A Labour-led government is the better choice for the country. We need an economy that works for everyone and where the government backs regional New Zealand. We live in a society that works at its best when everyone – be they urban or rural – gets their fair share of investment. I got into politics to serve the people of Wairarapa and to make a positive difference in people’s lives. People here know that – and the feedback on the doors is that even National voters are supporting me to stay on as local MP. I have proven my commitment to the region. That’s why I’m asking you to back me so I can continue to back you.

Celia Wade-Brown, Greens

1 I’m asking Wairarapa voters to Party Vote Green to put us in a strong position to set the direction of the next government. We are proud of the progress we have made over the past six years. But the pace of change is too slow. If people want a country with a fairer tax system, where everyone has enough to live a good life, and a warm, dry place to call home, that takes the strongest possible climate action, and where native wildlife flourishes, then that’s a vote for the Green Party. If I’m elected through the Green Party list, I will ensure I am available to help Wairarapa residents.

2 One critical issue in Wairarapa is poor public transport including no evening buses between towns and no trains to Palmerston and Hawke’s Bay, despite the railway lines being there. The Greens will prioritise rail freight and affordable passenger rail above more urban motorways, and support housebuilding within towns’ existing footprints, near shops, libraries, and schools to reduce urban sprawl onto productive land.

3 The cost-of-living crisis, the health crisis, and the climate crisis must be addressed together. The Greens’ Minimum Income Guarantee, Pledge to Renters, Free School Lunches, and Free Dental Care help the cost-of-living, all paid for by adjustment of our tax system. Our Climate Resilient Communities Plan will help towns and rural settlements adjust to unavoidable climate change in ways that are good for healthy communities, with more natural rivers and green spaces. We have made progress with climate change action, but the pace of change is too slow.

Our Clean Power Payment – which offers grants and loans of up to $36,000 for solar panels, and better ventilation and insulation – will slash emissions, make homes healthier, and cut people’s power bills. Common to Wairarapa and the rest of New Zealand is an artificial divide between rural and urban people. We all want clean rivers for our children, a stable climate, decent education and healthcare, a warm secure home, and kai on the table. As a city-dweller who moved here and lives rurally, I will help repair the rural/urban divide.

4 Better civics, politics, history, and science education in schools may help the next generation of voters. Some modest funding for whole-of-life education in these areas, as well as specific job skills, could create a more thoughtful and engaged public. Media focus on the issues and solutions, especially those worked through by experts like the Climate Change Commission, the Tax Working Group, the Future of Local Government Panel, and the Child Poverty Action Group, rather than the trivia of personality conflicts, would encourage both the public and politicians to focus on evidence and not sensational soundbites. Promoting Vote Compass and policy.nz as independent comparisons of policies helps people choose which party really represents their views best. Polls show most people support fairer taxes, including windfall taxes.

5 The Greens and Labour have worked well together, but more Greens mean we can push for bolder action. The Greens can work with other parties on specific issues too. A vote for the Greens puts more Green MPs around the decision-making table – where we can push for an Income Guarantee so everyone always has enough to cover life’s essentials, free dental care for all, and action to make sure everyone – whether owner or renter – has a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home. The main barrier to good educational and health outcomes is inequality. Our MPs work hard to amplify the voice of those in need, and to speak up for nature, our forests, and ocean.

Jared Warren Gardner, independent

1 I shall be a suitable representative for Wairarapa’s electorate because my confession is that Jesus [Ihu] is the Christ [Karaiti], the Son of God, and the Lord, and he is come in the flesh, and also because my purpose is to serve others. I trust that I have a good conscience and that I am willing to be honest in all things. Whoever we do put our trust in shall be reflected in our vote. I put my trust in Jesus Christ. I am running to be a representative for the Wairarapa electorate because I hope to bring the spirit [wairua] of truth [tika] and love [aroha] into government, for governments are a gift of the wairua.

2 The most important issue in Wairarapa – and the country as a whole – at the moment is mental health. And why I say that is because people are the most important thing. Without them, there would be no government. Because people are the most important thing, it is a reflection of our society and therefore the government when we don’t love our neighbour [those we come across in our daily lives] as ourselves. Mental health is far-reaching and there would be no one in our society who has not come across someone who would have been deemed to be having mental health issues and has thus been affected by it. Healing from mental issues comes about through truth and love. By establishing the truth about the trauma they are experiencing, and through loving them enough to be willing to understand the trauma. Only then, can we all then actually understand the truth pertaining to that trauma. Ultimately trauma is caused by the fact that something has or is happening to them that is wrong or that they have done something to others or are doing something to others that is wrong. Only by establishing the reason for the mental health issue can it ever be healed, through the understanding that we can be wronged by others, just as we have the ability to wrong others. Then healing can come by forgiving those who have wronged us, and thereby we are forgiven. For good always overcomes evil. Currently the Mental Health Act allows for no such process to take place. The first step in this process is to allow non-drug treatments that actually heal and make people well that are available in other countries to become a legitimate treatment option in New Zealand in the Mental Health Act. I have started a petition for this. Healthy minds produce a healthy society, just as a healthy society produces healthy minds.

3 All of the most important issues facing the country are based in the four pillars [columns] that the house of government performs – this being the Mental and Physical Health System, Values and Law System, Environmental System, and Monetary System, which are all equally important to providing justice and protection to all those people [tangata] within that house [Te Whare Tapa Whā Kāwanatanga].

First, the importance of having these four systems based on the foundation of truth [tika] and love [aroha] needs to be established. For if any of these systems are not founded on the foundation of tika and aroha, then this and the other systems shall also fall because they are all interdependent, each relying on the other pillar to maintain the structure’s integrity. Once the foundation of one of the pillars is compromised, all the other pillars are also. Therefore, failure to base all pillars on a firm foundation of tika and aroha shall ultimately result in the demise of all within that house.

4 When you feel and think your vote isn’t going to change anything, then there is no point in voting. In our current society, our vote is our voice. If your voice isn’t being heard, stand, E tu, and let your voice be heard. Ti hei mauri ora – it is your right.

5 Momentous Party – Pāti hira is currently an unincorporated society with the vision to become the best party choice in the formation of the government of Aotearoa.

Pete Arnott,
NZ Loyal

5 For anyone who would like to see genuine and principled people’s representatives in government whose mission is to have people’s needs properly met, NZ Loyal is the only choice to form New Zealand’s next government.

It is no secret anymore that our system is not rigged in favour of everyday people: “honest politician” became an oxymoron many years ago.

When you use those words together people see it as a joke. Whereas the words “corrupt politician” are no surprise to anyone. Kiwis are sick of not being able to trust any of the current politicians in Parliament. It is so clear that our government are serving the interests of something or someone other than us.

NZ Loyal will be introducing a fair taxation system that will close the current tax loopholes for big corporations and banks and allow ordinary people to pay only their fair share.

Between income tax, GST, and fuel tax, we pay about half our income in tax. Ordinary people carry almost all the tax burden in our country.

Our fair share is actually only 1 per cent. We have been paying about 30 to 50 times our fair share of tax so that huge companies can pay almost none.

So you now have the choice to have tax thieves in government and carry on paying 50 per cent tax or vote NZ loyal and pay only 1 per cent.

We are the only party calling out corruption.

We will hold to account anyone involved in conflicts of interest, regulatory capture, and any other activity that gives favour to those who have bought our politicians.

We will replace the current fiat money system that currently drains our economy directly to the heavy end of the wealth distribution chart.

None of our candidates have an interest in being career politicians, we are all standing out of necessity for our freedoms and rights and against corruption.

Let’s have a transparent government with integrity that listens to and represents people.

Loyal to you and not to them. NZLoyal.org.nz

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