Candidates vie for senior citizens’ votes
‘‘We had such a wonderful heritage, and we're giving it up.’’
A trio of politicians had 23 minutes to win over senior voters at a Grey Power Howick and Pakuranga meeting last Friday.
The candidates were the Green Party’s Barry Coates, The Opportunities Party’s David Hay, and Heather Marion Smith of the Democrats for Social Credit.
And while they were all party spokespeople for senior issues, the topics traversed everything from kaitiakitanga (environmental guardianship) to debt servicing.
Coates, who is number 10 on the Green Party list, spoke passionately about clawing back New Zealand’s legacy as a fair, sustainable and environmentallysound country.
‘‘We had such a wonderful heritage, and we’re giving it up.’’
He implored people to vote Green so there is a ‘‘strong green heart’’ in government regardless of which major party takes the helm.
Key talking points included increased protection of New Zealand’s rivers and aquifers, creating a knowledge and skills, rather than commodity-based economy, and climate change.
He apologised that the Greens’ candidate for the Pakuranga electorate Guy Hunt could not attend the meeting, but said he was asking locals for their party vote.
Smith told the crowd to ‘‘fasten your seat belts’’ as she wanted to take them on a ‘‘fast ride’’ about public debt which she sees as a ‘‘financial disruption to the country’s prosperity’’.
The Social Credit candidate’s examples of public debt, such as that serviced by the Auckland Council, garnered a lot of interest from the audience and she fielded several follow-up questions.
After the heavy topic, she introduced some levity into question time by saying ‘‘I won’t eat you, because I’m vegetarian’’.
Hay spoke last and kept coming back to the word ‘‘care’’.
‘‘We intend to sit on the crossbenches and offer policies to National or Labour.’’
Hay said The Opportunities Party’s policies come from the heart, from caring about New Zealand, and he outlined policies such as a universal basic income and controlled legalisation of cannabis.
‘‘Which is a bit like [legalising] prostitution. You don’t want to but it makes sense.’’
During the general audience question time, the candidates also fielded questions about superannuation, affordable housing, and elective surgeries.
The speakers proved popular enough that the organisers had to call time to draw proceedings to a close.
Grey Power Howick Pakuranga president Peter Bankers, Barry Coates, Heather Marion Smith and David Hay outside the meet-the-candidates gathering on August 25 at Pakuranga Bowling Club.