Wearing a brave face
UNDER-FIRE National Mt Albert byelection candidate Melissa Lee is looking to get her campaign back on track after several setbacks last week.
She has had to defend the government’s decision to scrap a dual tunnel at Waterview and backtrack on comments suggesting the new motorway would keep south Auckland criminals out of Mt Albert.
Further criticism followed after she didn’t attend a debate at Owairaka District School on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday she faced a pro-Labour and Green party crowd during a debate at Auckland University.
“I was heckled and called a racist, which is pretty hard,” she says.
But the South Koreanborn former journalist says discriminating against individual groups is the last thing on her agenda.
“Some people box me in as a migrant, but I had to give up my Korean citizenship to become a New Zealander and Mt Albert say they’ve been I’m proud of it. waiting for a decision for
“I want to represent all decades and now they finalNew Zealanders.” ly have a decision.
Ms Lee accepts some peo“Some people couldn’t sell ple may not vote for her after their homes because of the the government’s decision to indecision. Now they can get scrap the Waterview tunnel on with life.” project, in favour of a mixed Other issues people are surface and tunnel option. talking to Ms Lee about, but
But she says the feedback which have received less she’s getting on the cammedia attention, include the paign trail suggests some potential expansion of the St people are happy with the Lukes shopping mall and a compromise. proposal to build a McDon
‘I’ve heard a lot of people in ald’s in Balmoral.
The campaign and life as an MP has taken its toll on her family, with her son Ethan missing out on spending time with his mother.
However the support of her family has kept Ms Lee going.
“My mum is absolutely fantastic,” she says.
“When I get home late at night the dinner is cooked and ready and the laundry is done. I’m divorced, so Ethan spends some time with his dad.
“He’s also supportive, which is pretty cool, but I do try and spend as much time as possible with my son.”
Act candidate John Boscawen told the Auckland University meeting he believes he is the more qualified centre right candidate to represent the people of Mt Albert, with Labour’s David Shearer the only opposition.
“It’s a two horse race,” he said.
But Ms Lee is confident the people of Mt Albert will support her, though she acknowledges wrestling the seat from Labour will be a huge challenge.
“I’m very positive. The people of Mt Albert are generous and forgiving.
“They are real and not the media. They have seen me face to face on their doorsteps and in the shops.”
Here’s your chance to quiz the Mt Albert byelection candidates about the local issues that really matter.
The Central Leader will put the best questions submitted by readers to the candidates in the coming weeks.
Whether you’re concerned about the government’s revised proposal for completing the western ring route, Auckland’s march towards becoming a supercity or another pressing local issue we want to hear from you.
Email email@example.com with your questions.
National’s Mt Albert byelection candidate Melissa Lee blocks out a hooter and then looks upbeat during a debate before a hostile crowd at Auckland University.