Wear­ing a brave face

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

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 edcl@snl.co.nz with your ques­tions.

Too loud:

Pho­tos: JOHN SELKIRK

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.

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