Election fight in the offing
It’s the biggest year in Kris Faafoi’s short time as a Labour MP.
The Titahi Bay resident will be seeking his second full term as Mana’s Member of Parliament when the general election is held later this year.
He won a by-election in 2010, following Winnie Laban’s retirement, and then beat high-profile National MP Hekia Parata a year later.
His majority in 2011 was just 1857 votes, down from more than 6000 when his predecessor Ms Laban beat Ms Parata in 2008.
National won more party votes than Labour in Mana for the first time in 2011, and Mr Faafoi said he realised he had a fight on his hands.
‘‘It will be close, we know that,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s going to come down to me showing that I’m prepared to put in the effort locally, and Labour getting the policies right for voters.
‘‘I’m feeling more organised and confident than ever.’’
His team has been planning since mid-2013. The election date has not been set, but Mr Faafoi said he thought it might be as early as August, to try to catch Labour off-guard.
He said the people of Linden, Porirua and Kapiti expected their MP to be visible and that’s what he had endeavoured to be in the past electoral term.
He had answered many queries for his constituents – the most common being Housing New Zealand complaints – and promised to keep doing so.
Mr Faafoi will hold 100 street corner meetings in the coming months and said he wanted to hear from the public.
‘‘I love it when people approach me, even to criticise what we’re [Labour] doing.
‘‘ That’s my job and I have slaved my guts out for Mana since I became MP.
‘‘ Local people want someone who is accessible and I’ve worked bloody hard to be that.’’
Along with housing, Mr Faafoi said the key issues in Mana were education – he’s a big supporter of the Shine initiative – policing, Porirua’s city centre, aged care and super-city discussions.
Infrastructure, such as Transmission Gully and the Kapiti Expressway, were never far from the headlines, either.
He said Labour would show it could be in charge of the economy and David Cunliffe and David Parker would be strong leaders of the country.
He was unsure where he would be on the party list.
He is currently the Opposition broadcasting spokesman and has two associate spokesman duties.
Mr Faafoi said he enjoyed being the Opposition’s police spokesman and would like to be involved in the education portfolio, too.
‘‘Last year was a tough one, with the leadership issues, but we’re past that.
‘‘It feels different and there are plenty of positives – the polls are picking up, our policies are coming out and National has a fight on its hands.
‘‘In opposition, you are a watchdog and there is a frustration that you can’t make the cogs and levers move. ‘‘We’re hoping to change that.’’ Despite the busy times ahead, Mr Faafoi said time with his sons, seeing friends and watching Northern United and other sport in his electorate were still high on his priority list.