Work­ing-class man stands for Labour

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY AND MATT SHAND

Stick­ing up for New Zealand’s work­ing class is some­thing Ala’ Al-bus­tanji is pas­sion­ate about.

The Taupo dairy owner was re­cently se­lected as the Labour Party’s Taupo Elec­torate can­di­date, which in­cor­po­rates the South Waikato.

The ap­point­ment means he will go head to head with Na­tional’s Louise Up­ston in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

While he knows tak­ing on Up­ston won’t be easy he said he’s pre­pared for the chal­lenge in or­der to get the voice of New Zealand’s work­ing class heard.

‘‘Things are not as good in New Zealand as the Gov­ern­ment would like you to be­lieve,’’ he said.

‘‘I know fam­i­lies are work­ing hard, some­times work­ing two jobs, but still strug­gling to af­ford mince­meat and pay their bills. I know this be­cause I have lived it.’’

Al-bus­tanji im­mi­grated to New Zealand from Jor­dan eight years ago and set­tled with his wife in Taupo.

He said work­ing two jobs for min­i­mal money puts him in good stead to fight for those in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

‘‘Labour is go­ing to take Taupo back. It will be hard as I am just a work­ing man but I think that is a strength as it means I know the chal­lenges our com­mu­nity faces,’’ he said.

‘‘Labour has great plans to in­vest in the re­gions be­cause when you in­vest in the re­gions that means you have to look af­ter tourism, farm­ing, and the other in­dus­tries that gen­er­ate in­come and jobs.’’

‘‘The South Waikato falls into a farm­ing and tourism area so in­vest­ing in those ar­eas is go­ing to help a lot.’’

He said more jobs in the area will be gen­er­ated through Labour’s af­ford­able hous­ing plan and rein­vest­ing in the health sys­tem.

‘‘Labour plans to in­vest in health by re­vers­ing the $1.7 bil­lion the Gov­ern­ment has taken out be­cause when you in­vest in the health sys­tem there is also more ca­pac­ity to hire peo­ple which is the key to also get­ting rid of the long wait­ing lists,’’ he said.

‘‘You train them, you hire them, and added more staff to places that need staff like Toko­roa.’’

‘‘An­other way of gen­er­at­ing new jobs is through Labour’s plan to build 100,000 af­ford­able homes within 10 years which will give the build­ing in­dus­try a lot of new jobs,’’ he said.

Labour’s Ala’ Al-bus­tanji.

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