Po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates pitch for your vote

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - JONO GALUSZKA

Horowhenua politi­cians agree some­thing needs to be done to im­prove the area’s wa­ter­ways, but are at odds over the best way to sort out the is­sue.

Horowhenua Grey Power mem­bers, along with a smat­ter­ing of Horowhenua Col­lege stu­dents, packed into the Levin Cos­mopoli­tan Club on Fri­day to hear po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates make their pitch for votes.

One of the big­gest talk­ing points was the qual­ity of the re­gion’s wa­ter­ways.

Na­tional Party MP Nathan Guy, who holds the Otaki seat, said the Gov­ern­ment had been mak­ing changes over the past few years to im­prove wa­ter­ways.

There were laughs from the crowd when he said 72 per cent of lakes and streams were in a swimmable con­di­tion, but mur­murs of ap­proval when he said there had re­cently been more fund­ing al­lo­cated to clean­ing up lo­cal lakes and streams.

‘‘What this Gov­ern­ment won’t be do­ing is bring­ing in a wa­ter tax that di­rectly im­pacts the price of veg­eta­bles here in Horowhenua.’’

Labour Party can­di­date Rob McCann, who was ap­plauded when he brought a large card­board cutout of his party’s leader Jacinda Ardern to the stage, said claims about cab­bages cost­ing $15 or more be­cause of his party’s wa­ter tax pol­icy were wrong.

The pol­icy would only cost 2 cents per 1000 litres of wa­ter, which was min­i­mal and backed by sci­en­tists, he said.

He also pledged to work with coun­cils to en­sure they kept hold of so­cial hous­ing.

Green Party can­di­date Sam Fer­gu­son got a big round of ap­plause when he said the party wanted to bring back home in­su­la­tion sub­si­dies for rental prop­er­ties and im­ple­ment a hous­ing war­rant of fit­ness.

While the party wanted a tax on ex­ported, bot­tled wa­ter, there would be dis­cus­sions af­ter­wards about tax­ing other wa­ter users, he said.

It was ‘‘scare­mon­ger­ing’’ to talk about wa­ter taxes mak­ing cab­bages $15 each, he said.

NZ First can­di­date Dr Ro­muald Rudzki said the coun­try was suf­fer­ing from a lack of am­bi­tion, which had con­trib­uted to it fall­ing be­hind oth­ers.

‘‘New Zealand’s big­gest ex­port isn’t dairy, but the prof­its go­ing off­shore.

‘‘Why is New Zealand cheese, but­ter and wine cheaper in Lon­don than it is in Levin?’’

He said there was noth­ing stop­ping a gov­ern­ment tax­ing big, multi­na­tional com­pa­nies for ex­ces­sive prof­its, and go­ing af­ter those shift­ing prof­its to avoid pay­ing taxes.

The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party list can­di­date Jenny Condie said she wanted Grey Power mem­bers to not vote for their in­ter­ests, but for those of their chil­dren.

The party’s poli­cies, like a uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come re­gard­less of wage, would en­cour­age peo­ple to work in­stead of stay­ing on the ben­e­fit, she said.

Su­per­an­nu­a­tion eli­gi­bil­ity would stay at 65, but by only pay­ing half the usual rate to those earn­ing more than $50,000 a year, $3 bil­lion a year would be saved.

‘‘No one over 65 is go­ing to go hun­gry or get kicked out of their houses be­cause of these changes,’’ she said.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/STUFF

Labour can­di­date Rob McCann, left, brought a card­board cutout of his party’s leader Jacinda Ardern on stage. Seated be­hind is Nathan Guy, Dr Ro­muald Rudzki, and Sam Fer­gu­son.

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