Throwing objects banned
A warning not to throw objects at the candidates got a Matamata Grey Power meeting off to a flying start this week.
Waikato candidates spoke to 90 members of Matamata Grey Power and a handful of the public at the Matamata Club on Monday afternoon.
Matamata Grey Power secretary Ron Moles enforced strict rules for the running of the meeting, with candidates each given five minutes at the start of the meeting to speak on any subject. Two questions were also given to each candidate a week before the meeting. They were given two minutes to speak to each of these. Following the set questions, the audience was then given the chance to ask their own questions. These ranged from the preferred age of superannuation and whether KiwiSaver should be compulsory to the minimum wage and maternity leave.
Moles chaired the meeting and kept everyone on task and within their allotted time.
‘‘No objects may be thrown from the floor or from other candidates,’’ he said, which caused a chuckle from the crowd.
Lindsay Tisch ( National), Christine Greer (Labour), Barbara Stewart (NZ First) and Mike Burrow (ACT) were present. Conservative Party candidate Brian Dobbs wasn’t able to attend the meeting but a representative from the party, Al Belcher, spoke on his behalf. Katherine Ransom (Democratic for Social Credit) was late and was given a few minutes to speak at the end of the meeting.
Tisch, who is the Waikato incumbent, demonstrated he knew his electorate by speaking of local Matamata examples like Starfish when answering the set questions.
Greer used anecdotes to get across Labour policies and was confident despite standing for only the second time.
Burrow, in his first public speech as a candidate and at the tender age of 22, also spoke confidently. He admitted not everyone in the room would agree with ACT policies but he spoke strongly of them anyway.
Stewart is a current MP in parliament and this experience was on show as she spoke optimistically about her party’s policies, especially in regards to benefits for the elderly. Stewart was passionate about healthcare and she was willing to speak with her party about the reintroduction of the ward system for the election of district health boards. This issue was one of the questions pitched to each candidate and created good responses from each of them, despite NZ First, ACT and the Conservatives not having a policy. Labour did have a policy though, Greer said. ‘‘ We have said that we will bring back the wards. That means you will vote for someone in your ward to take your argument from Matamata into the DHB in Hamilton. We believe very strongly in local representation,’’ Greer said.
Tisch said it was interesting Labour wanted to change back to what New Zealand had originally, considering they changed it when they were in government. However, he didn’t say if National had a policy on reintroducing the ward system.
Ransom said her party wanted the country to go back to the past because ‘‘the past in New Zealand was an envy of the world’’. ‘‘We had an inequality gap that was minuscule,’’ she said.
Belcher, speaking on
Dobbs, said binding referenda should be a ‘‘foundational thing to think about’’. ‘‘If in this country and in this room we can discuss and decide on things and then bring them to parliament and they get absolutely ignored, what’s it all for? It makes it pretty tough to get anything done.’’
For more pre-election coverage, see next week’s Matamata Chronicle.
FIRE BREATHER: Chewy Wilson entertained the crowds with a bit of fire breathing at Hobbiton’s gala night last Wednesday. Tourism operators from around New Zealand took a tour of the movie set before sitting down for drinks and dinner. The celebrations were timely, with Hobbiton winning the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand’s Operator of the Year award at the conference awards night the previous evening. For more photos and details, turn to pages 8 and 9.