A moment in time on election trail
Sometimes campaigning can end in tears. Baby Kaea was clearly not in a prime minister-cuddling mood when Bill English zoomed in to say hi to him and his parents at Auckland’s Botany mall yesterday.
With a screwed-up face, he quickly dived back into dad Tamati Thompson’s arms. It remains to be seen if the prime minister had much more luck with Kaea’s parents, Tamati, 26, and university student Lianna Thompson, 23. He just might.
But it was one of those moments in the whirlwind of selfies and mall ‘‘walkabouts’’ that brings into focus why politicians do it. And it was also one of those moments that highlights some of the defining issues of this election, especially for young families struggling to get a toehold in the Auckland housing market – whether prices are plateauing or not.
The young couple are genuine floating voters, tossing up between Labour, National and NZ First. Meeting English did make a difference, but though they plan to join the flood of people voting before Saturday, they are yet to make up their minds – even after meeting the man himself.
Tamati, a crane operator, said English seemed like a really nice bloke. They had given him a wave and he came over.
‘‘He gave us a lot of time, he approached us on his own – I didn’t expect that. He really came out of his way, which made you feel really special.’’
But, for them, housing is the main issue and it’s the politician with a solution to that will who will get their ticks on the ballot.
‘‘It’s so hard in Auckland [to buy] and we are thinking of moving to Gisborne,’’ Tamati said.
They had come back to New Zealand from Australia because they wanted Kaea to have the great childhood they had here.
‘‘I loved my childhood,’’ he says with real feeling. ‘‘But, those house prices ... I’m not so worried about the here and now. I think we are alright. It’s just that now having a baby and being a father ... whoever’s got the best for this young lad here.’’
Baby Kaea meets the prime minister.