Mt Albert set to vote
This week the Auckland City Harbour News begins a three-part series looking at the big issues facing voters this election day, November 8. We hit the streets to find out what you, our readers, think are the major issues candidates should be focusing on.
This week we talk to Mt Albert constituents and in the coming weeks will speak to voters in Auckland Central. We’ll also give you an overview of the Maori seat, Tamaki Makaurau. TAX CUTS and the state of the economy are hot topics with voters in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s Mt Albert electorate.
Greg Austin is concerned about possible changes to the KiwiSaver scheme if there is a change of government.
“With taking money out of KiwiSaver, low income people have to take the brunt of it and high income people are better off,” the 53-yearold says.
As a middle to lower income earner, Robyn Menzel, 47, is also worried about changes to KiwiSaver and how overseas financial problems will affect New Zealand.
And Kingsland university student Carmen McMaster is adamant she doesn’t want a tax cut.
The 22-year-old would like to see extra money put into a universal student allowance.
“My parents earn too much for me to qualify for an allowance, so if I could get even 100 bucks a week to pay my rent that would be fantastic.”
But 75-year-old Peter Ward is most concerned about law and order.
He says crime is a nationwide problem, although things aren’t too bad in Mt Albert. “I think, philosophically, we tend to always look at the reason for crime and overlook the victim,” he says. “There’s all this waffle about the economy, but not much we can do about that,” he says.
“There is something you can do about law and order.”
Moral and environmental concerns were other issues raised by residents spoken to by the Auckland City Harbour News.
Some voters indicated they haven’t thought about the issues that will influence the way they vote because they’ve only just enrolled.
Miss Clark has held the seat, formerly known as Owairaka, since 1981, and is currently Parliament’s longest serving MP.
She won 66 percent of the electorate vote in the 2005 election, and most residents were confident she would hold the seat for a 10th term.
Ravi Musuku was the next highest polling candidate in 2005 with 19 percent of the vote. Mr Musuku is again contesting Mt Albert for National, with a list ranking of 65. The prime minister is top of the Labour Party list.
Labour scored 54 percent of the party vote in 2005, followed by National on 26 percent.
The electorate has about 59,000 people within its boundaries, with just under half identifying themselves as Christian according to the 2006 census.
Europeans make up just over half of the electorate.
One-quarter of the residents are Asian, while Maori and Pacific communities are the other significant groups.
It has the lowest number of people aged 50 to 64 in New Zealand, with around 12 percent in the age range.
Just over one-third of people in the electorate are married, while around half own their own home.
The suburb of Pt Chevalier is part of the electorate again, after boundary changes since the 2005 election.
Act Party: Kath McCabe, list ranking 46.
Labour Party: Helen Clark, list ranking 1.
Green Party: Jon Carapiet, not on list.
National Party: ranking 65.
Kiwi Party: ranking 25.
Republic Party of New Zealand: Dave Llewell, list ranking 3.