Throw­ing ob­jects banned

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By TERESA HAT­TAN

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

be­half

of

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.

Photo: HE­LENA GRATKOWSKI

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.

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