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Election 2023: Candidates on the issues that you care about

Wairarapa’s four parliamentary candidates recently sat down with PHIL STEBBING to answer some of the burning questions posed by the region’s voters.

Mike Butterick

Mike Butterick is back as National’s Wairarapa electorate candidate and ready to answer the questions put forward by the region’s electorate.

One at the front of people’s minds is how to limit crime and his party’s policy to introduce boot camps for young offenders.

“It’s not primarily to punish them. It’s about removing them from the environment and intervening in a positive way to change the direction of travel,” he says.

Pushed on how long youth could be locked up Butterick says that policy detail is yet to be released, while insisting the problem has gotten out of hand.

“It’s not acceptable – everybody has rights, but with rights come responsibilities, and therefore there must be consequences.”

On the hot topic of climate change the National candidate stresses the need to “manage or adapt to the climate impacts that we’re witnessing and building resilience, whether it be our roads, how we manage our rivers, and all the challenges that will be looming.”

For Butterick, an important aspect of reaching carbon zero is tackling carbon emitters and changing behaviours at source. But he has a proviso.

“In terms of agricultural emissions, we’ve got to be very mindful that in our rush to get a medal round our necks on the world stage, we don’t actually score an own goal.”

Butterick also wants to emphasise that creating emission controls could have a negative knock-on on our nation’s wealth.

“Trade export income is incredibly important to this country – it’s effectively how we pay our wages for our nurses, teachers, local policemen.”

Celia Wade-Brown

Since joining the Greens in 1992, Celia Wade-Brown has stood in both local and national elections, succeeding in becoming the mayor of Wellington from 2010 until 2016.

On the subject of tackling crime, Wade-Brown is keen to stress the importance of addressing its causes: “Lack of a caring home, lack of education, no diagnosis of mental illness, no rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addictions”.

Youth crime and ram-raiding can be overplayed in the political arena, Wade-Brown says, and there are other crimes that should be a focus of the next government,

“Let’s not forget white collar crime – tax evasion scams and outright fraud. And we need to invest in cyber security, and people understanding how to keep themselves safe on the internet.”

Wade-Brown is also promoting a bold way to tackle financial inequality through a guaranteed minimum income of at least $385 a week.

“It’ll make a considerable difference if you’re working or if for some reason you’re not able to work,” she says.

“It’s not fair the children of nurses, early childhood carers, cleaners, and farm workers should have less of a good start in life than the children of bankers and company owners.”

With a huge farming community in Wairarapa, Wade-Brown also stresses that many farmers are already supporting the Green’s sustainable policies.

“They really want the clean rivers and the healthy climate that everybody else does,” she says.

“Many farmers are already planting wetlands, reducing their fertilizer use, and very aware of the amount of emissions from their farms.”

Simon Casey

As a first-time Act candidate in Wairarapa, Simon Casey is keen to make his mark with some bold statements about the changes he and his party would like to bring about.

Asked about financial inequality in society, Casey notes that “one of the things we want to do is get rid of welfare dependency. That doesn’t mean we just stop providing assistance to where it is needed, but what we have to do is encourage people to get into work.”

Casey also feels there needs to be tighter control of the public purse strings.

“We see the government as obese. It just primarily comes down to control of government expenditure and not spending more than we are earning – and we have to get inflation under control.”

Regarding bullying in schools, Casey suggests bringing back charter schools that aren’t under the direct authority of the Ministry of Education “because the teacher’s unions didn’t like the fact that they could not control what was happening in those schools”.

“Schools definitely need the ability to suspend or even expel in some cases, and charter schools will be given a special agenda to be able to help difficult children,” Casey adds.

This will break the cycle of bullying, Casey believes, “because often it’s peer pressure that causes the problem in the first place and specially trained teachers will be able to assist where the state schools clearly can’t”.

Kieran McAnulty

Defending his Wairarapa seat, portfolio-heavy high-profile government minister and one-time volunteer firefighter Kieran McAnulty has been in the thick of it in recent months with an issue that’s troubling many of his constituents – traffic holdups.

The prolonged works on SH2 between Masterton and Carterton with the construction of new roundabouts and safety barriers, along with lowering the speed limit to 80kmph all the way to Featherston is widely considered unreasonable, and McAnulty admits “it’s been a source of immense frustration for me”.

“The consultation process [undertaken by] Waka Kotahi was appalling. They had a very clear view from the community, there were numerous letters from me, and they went ahead and did it anyway.”

On the topic of crime, McAnulty says it’s not just about adding more police numbers – child poverty needs to be tackled at the same time, and “that requires investment, and it requires pretty intimate and detailed interventions”.

McAnulty also recognises there’s no instant fix for successfully curbing youth crime, “because those youth that are offending, that didn’t happen overnight – that’s a flow on effect from decisions that were made a long time ago”.


  1. Not sure what a candidate can do if there party policy doesn’t agree with what they say 🤔. Best to vote for a party that has policy’s you agree 👍 with.

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