Elec­tion fight in the off­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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