Candidates offer views

With advance voting now open and election day on Saturday next week, The News approached candidates standing in our three electorates — Southland, Te Tai Tonga and Waitaki — with three questions:

1. Why are you standing for election?

2. What are the three main issues you believe are faced by people living in Central Otago/Upper Clutha who are part of your electorate?

3. Geographically your electorate is quite large, with a diverse range of communities, each with unique challenges. How will you effectively represent such a large area?

Miles Anderson

Party: National 

Electorate: Waitaki 

Lives: Southburn, inland from St Andrews, in the northeast of the electorate

1. I am unhappy with the direction that the country is headed. We are broke and broken.

2. Cost of living is far and away the issue that concerns people the most. We have a plan to address this, cutting waste and red tape. Health and housing are the next-biggest issues. With health, we will redirect funding from the backroom to the front line. Attract nurses by paying their student loans if they bond to staying in New Zealand for 5 years. Train more doctors and get more GPs into rural areas. Reintroduce targets so waiting times are brought down. Disband the Ma ¯ori Health Authority, services will be provided on need, not ethnicity. With housing, there are several strands to our policy. Reintroducing interest deductibility and changing tenancy laws to encourage landlords to rent out properties rather than opting for the likes of Airbnb. Allowing equivalent products from Europe, Australia, the United States and Europe into our market to compete with locally produced products, e.g. plaster board. Changes to the Building Act and Resource Management Act to speed up the process and reduce costs e.g. allowing photo and video inspections like Australia does.

3. The best way to represent the Waitaki is to get out into the communities and engage with the people and community groups to get a good understanding of the issues. Advocacy is something I have a lot of experience with and I intend to fight hard for the people of Waitaki.

Todd Stephenson

Party: Act New Zealand 

Electorate: Southland 

Lives: Hanley’s Farm, Queenstown

1. Like the majority of New Zealanders, I believe our country is heading in the wrong direction. I want New Zealand to be a modern, multi-ethnic, democratic society with high living standards. I’m asking people to give Act their party vote so we can deliver real change at this election.

2. The issues facing our local community are the same as those facing many New Zealanders. Labour’s taxing, borrowing and spending have made life much more expensive. Act will address the cost of living by cutting wasteful government spending, providing tax relief and cutting red tape.

We’ll reduce the number of public servants and remove whole departments that add no value for the public. Act will tackle crime by putting victims first and ensuring there are real consequences for criminals. Act will end Labour’s soft on crime experiment, bring back Three Strikes, get tougher on youth offenders, and only give parole to prisoners who have done rehabilitation.

New Zealanders are sick and tired of different groups being given different rights, and race and the Treaty being injected into everything — from healthcare and education to the RMA and Three Waters. Act will put an end to it. Every New Zealander should have the same rights and equal opportunities — regardless of race, religion, sex or sexuality.

3. The most important role of an MP is to listen to people. Act does this by actually holding meetings in different communities everywhere. If I’m lucky enough to be elected to Parliament I will make the time to get out and hear the different views and concerns of those in our community regardless of where they live.

Roger Small

Party: DemocracyNZ 

Electorate: Waitaki 

Lives: I live in the Waimate District, arable farming in an area called Willowbridge.

1. The reason I am standing is my concern with the direction New Zealand is taking. The politicians are driven by ideology rather than practical experience. Policies also threaten our democracy and our community voice e.g. Five Waters and RMA reform which will be co-governed with appointed unelected members representing over half the governance committees.

We need to listen to local communities and their issues so as not to be so arrogant that the central government thinks they know best.

Lack of acknowledgement, compensation and help for those injured by the emergencymandated Covid vaccines breaks my heart and I want to be a voice for those badly affected.

I believe my experience as a food producer plus my involvement in the local Waimate community holds me in good stead to listen and represent the people of the Waitaki electorate.

2. The cost of living crisis, accommodation for workers and access to good health services are what I see as the top three issues facing the Central Otago and Upper Clutha areas.

Unworkable regulations and policies that have divided our country have contributed to poor outcomes for these issues and urgently need addressing.

This part of the region is facing significant growth and it is so vital that good infrastructure that will service everyone’s needs is put in place.

As chairman of my local catchment group I am proactive in addressing environmental issues and I would work with local groups as an MP, to make sure the practical solutions are achieving good environmental outcomes for the region.

3. Being the second-largest electorate in the country it will be a challenge to represent effectively, but having supporting offices in Oamaru and Wanaka would be essential to give everyone access to their MP to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and issues addressed.

DemocracyNZ is focused on practical, positive outcomes for all New Zealanders and I would be privileged to represent the people of Waitaki in achieving that.

Rebecca Rae Robin

Party: Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 

Electorate: Te Tai Tonga 

Lives: Otautahi Christchurch

1. I have been working in cannabis law reform for over 12 years. The referendum had 1.4 million people vote YES to the legalisation of cannabis — that’s a huge part of the country to ignore! I am a singer and creative by trade and I can see that this still needs addressing. It is an honour to be in this position.

2. For our party, knowing people can be criminalised by unjust laws is a first. The cost of living is astronomical and the suicide rate is at a rate so high it’s noticed worldwide. Legalisation could bring in massive money to help solve these issues.

3. I have come in late to the race, now I can understand that a good amount of resources to travel would be helpful. It also saddens me my ancestors fought hard for Tiriti O Waitangi, and the fact the Maori seats are over such broad areas show that it can be unfair. However, all of us candidates have our mana and we want to represent what is best for Maori, and legalising cannabis would have an overflow effect that would affect everyone in the country in a beneficial way.

Rino Tirikatene

Party: Labour 

Electorate: Te Tai Tonga 

Lives: Harewood, Otautahi Christchurch

1. What Te Tai Tonga needs most is a strong voice of action in Parliament. I know that I am that voice. As a descendant of Ngai Tahu, I have a deep understanding of the intricacies and needs of Maori. I will act as the waka that sails forward, always advocating to progress the aspirations of our people, but more importantly to deliver on better outcomes for them.

2. Housing — The Labour government will continue to roll out the largest-ever investment in Maori housing through Whai Kainga Whai Oranga. Health — This Labour government made a record multi-year investment in resetting our health system to achieve equitable outcomes for Maori. Cost of living — Labour’s 10-point cost of living plan will have significant benefits for whanau, including removing GST from fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.

3. I’m on the ground across the motu working with iwi and communities, committed to building an enduring relationship with Maori that delivers on partnership, protection and participation.

Ethan Reille

Party: Labour 

Electorate: Waitaki 

Lives: Waitaki

Waitaki is my home and always will be. It is the community of Oamaru which has made me the man that I am today. Embarking on this political journey has given me the fundamentals to continue advocating and giving back to our broader community. I’m standing because after 18 years of the same representation, we must be asking ourselves, who has been advocating for Waitaki? We hold an enormous potential to lead the way for New Zealand. Waitaki needs a champion now more than ever. I’m prepared to be that champion and unlock that potential by being a strong, local and present voice, building a stronger Waitaki for all.

As we head into the final part of the campaign, many Kiwis are exhausted. I feel for you all — election campaigns feel like they go on forever! However, this election has so much at stake, therefore we need a strong advocate in Parliament for people like yourself. We must be electing representatives that will work hard for us all, regardless of party politics. I am passionate about ensuring that our towns are invested in as much as our cities, to ensure we have equitable access to healthcare, a viable hospital at the heart of Central Otago, community-led housing solutions, with worker accommodation and affordable rentals at the heart, as well as a locallybased curriculum, enabling our children to be the best they can be.

Over the past 6 months I have worked tirelessly to prove that Waitaki is worth fighting for and that it is achievable, despite being the second-largest general electorate. It is possible to get around our diverse communities, and if elected, I will continue to prove this. If elected, I plan to open an electorate office in Wanaka, and host community drop-in clinics in differing towns every weekend. Our electorate may be large, but you all deserve to be heard and I am committed to that.

Logan Evans
Logan Evans, NZ Loyal Southland candidate

Party: NZ Loyal 

Electorate: Southland 

Lives: No response

1. Because just like so many other New Zealanders, I am sick of the way New Zealand is being run.

2. The cost of living is out of control. The medical system, . . . the education system [and] . . . the roading network are failing. . . . Every government-run system is failing the very people it is meant to represent. For this country and its people to prosper, we need good governance, not a controlling government. Good governance would put systems in place so . . . [New Zealanders] can succeed in their chosen field, otherwise central government should stay out of your private lives.

3. Our whole ethos at NZ Loyal is to listen to and work with [New Zealanders] to create positive outcomes in our communities. We would like to run a similar model to the Swiss with their canton system. This means your local representatives are answerable to the people and can’t use central government pushing legislation on them as an excuse, because that would no longer be happening. Local people making local decisions . . .[is] the best way to represent the people of any electorate.

Joseph Mooney
Joseph Mooney.

Party: National 

Electorate: Southland 

Lives: Queenstown

Why? To continue the work of the past three years representing our region, its people and needs in Parliament, and get our country back on track.

Cost of living: National will rebuild the economy to reduce the cost of living. A working economy means better jobs, higher incomes, a lower cost of living, affordable mortgages and the ability to afford the quality public services we all rely on. National’s Back Pocket boost increases after-tax pay for the squeezed middle by shifting income tax brackets to compensate for inflation, introducing the FamilyBoost childcare tax credit and increasing Working for Families tax credits.

Housing and Infrastructure: National will prioritise infrastructure projects that connect communities and regions. Our infrastructure plan will aim to establish cityregional partnerships with councils to access innovative financing for essential long-term infrastructure. National will address housing challenges through revising rental housing regulations, free up land for new housing construction, and support community housing providers.

National will also establish a third medical school focused on training doctors committed to serving in rural and provincial New Zealand, properly fund the Dunedin hospital rebuild, and pay nurses and midwives to train, provided they bond to stay in New Zealand for five years post-graduation.

Primary Production and the Environment: National will cut Labour’s red tape and get Wellington out of farming. We’ll ensure farming regulations are fit for purpose and protect our environment as domestic and overseas consumers expect. We’ll return the management of local issues to local councils, and ensure rural communities have the tools they need to continue to provide New Zealand, and the world, with high quality, lowcarbon food and fibre.

We will also supercharge the rural economy by increasing the RSE worker cap, ban foreign farm-to-forest conversions and scrap the ute tax.

Electorate size: The Southland electorate is bigger than Belgium geographically and has five district councils and two regional councils in parts of its boundaries. I set up an office in Alexandra after winning the election to better serve the people of Central Otago, and also have offices in Queenstown and Gore. I spend a huge amount of time on the road with long days travelling to meet people across the region, and have developed many relationships with members of the community and community leaders across the electorate.

Pleasance Hansen

Party: Green Party Electorate: Waitaki Lives : Based in Arrowtown for this campaign.

1. I am standing to get a strong message out about climate change and also how we, the Greens, intend to address the very serious issues around the cost of living with a fairer tax system that will also lift people out of poverty.

2. Climate change has a big impact on farming. We’ve committed, as an agriculturally dominant export nation, to reduce our net greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below 2005 gross levels by 2030, as ratified in the Paris Agreement by the National Government in 2016. If we don’t achieve this goal, our international trading partners will not accept our exports. We have the solutions and want to work with farmers to help get us there.

Cost of living, and poverty. An income guarantee of $385 per week, including a tax-free threshold of $10,000, will assist families raising children and help pay the rent. We will also provide free dental care for everyone, which will raise the standard of health across the country.

For both these issues, practical examples like grants of $6000 per household for solar panels will help. They’ll reduce our emissions, and also address costly electricity bills by providing households with the ability to sell their excess power back to the grid.

3. Geographically dispersed electorate. The main focus is to get our emissions down by 2030, to ensure our economy keeps ticking over. Proposals like the Tarras Airport, and the Waste Incinerator in Waimate would take us in the opposite direction. Waitaki is also one of the most stunning electorates in NZ internationally known for its pristine beauty. The Greens are committed to preserving this by continuing funding to reduce predators like wallabies, rabbits, and stoats, and controlling wilding pines. Our economy is dependent on our environment. We are committed to protecting it for generations to come.

Ray Bailey

Party: New Zealand Loyal Electorate: Waitaki Lives: Timaru, but basing myself out of Totara

1. New Zealand has multi systemic issues which none of the major parties are addressing for Kiwis, at least not with anything meaningful. They’re so out of touch with what WE THE PEOPLE need that I think it’s high time we had Kiwis who know the struggles of Kiwis in office to enact REAL change.

2. Three main issues I have heard are, in this order a) Cost of living b) Farmers being disparaged constantly c) Wasteful government spending adding to our country’s struggles.

3. I’ve already made efforts in this area. The easiest way to stay informed is to make myself easily reachable. My contact information is readily available for people to get in touch, including my cell number.

Simon McCallum

Labour candidate Simon McCallum (second from right) responds to an audience member at a meet the candidates meeting organised by Business South in Alexandra. Looking on are Southland electorate candidates (from left) Dave Kennedy (Greens), Todd Stephenson (Act) and current Southland MP Joseph Mooney (National)

Party: Labour Party

Electorate: Southland

Lives: Mosgiel

  1. I have deep family roots in Southland, with my family arriving in Mataura in the 1870s. I believe we need new perspectives in parliament. I am not a career politician or a lawyer as many current politicians are.  My background is technology and education.  There are many changes that are coming with AI and I believe that we should have people who understand the details of the technology as part of making policy.  My PhD is in AI and I have 25 years of teaching experience.  I believe that I can help with encouraging an innovative future for Southland.
  2. Housing, infrastructure, and the cost of living.   Labour has built more houses than any other government since the 1950s, we have invested in massive infrastructure development in the Queenstown lake district and Upper-Clutha.  Constant roadworks are an indication of the investment in upgrading the roading network. Labour policies around the cost of living, live removing the GST on fruit and veg would benefit Southland as the money will stay in the region either with people or the growers. 
  3. I would represent the area by staying within the communities with people.  I am happy to couch surf the region, to learn about real people’s challenges.   I live in Mosgiel but have connections throughout the region. Staying within the community and going to local events gives a much better idea of the issues for society than just running meetings.  Candidates that live in Queenstown will focus on Queentown’s local issues as those are the issues they live with. I would represent the whole region by talking with people from every town and village