Political candidates pitch for your vote
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.
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.