OPINION; Last week saw several opportunities for the community to meet their candidates who are standing for the Hunua electorate, yet few people turned up.
Considering that Franklin has over 50,000 people living in the district, only 60-odd residents attended the first meeting of several organised at the Franklin Club last Wednesday evening, which was hosted by Business and Professional Women (BPW) Franklin. I noted and was disheartened to see that as a 26 year old, I was the youngest in the room by many years.
The second meeting was organised by the Rotary Club of Waiuku, which drew an even smaller crowd of around 30. It was said that only ten of those were actual residents from Waiuku.
While it is our role to report, inform and educate our readers to help enable them make a balanced decision, meeting your candidates face-to-face and being able to ask them those hard hitting questions is more valuable than words in the media.
The five candidates who are standing for the Hunua electorate are totally diverse to each other, with four parties represented and an independent in the line up for the role.
Soon-to-be Pokeno resident, Baljit Kaur is currently standing for Labour, Jon Reeves is New Zealand First’s representative. Software developer, Anthony Smith is standing for Act, while Andrew Bayly, Hunua’s MP since 2014, is representing National. Ian Cummings, a local businessman, isn’t letting the fact that the last time an independent stood in parliament was in 1943, get in his way, and believes that ‘now is the time for change.’
All candidates were given the opportunity to briefly introduce themselves, and promote the reasons why the community should choose them for their party vote, as well as to select them as their member of parliament. Apart from Ian, who, as an independent, wants to represent the community in parliament.
A list of questions was compiled by the team at BPW Franklin, and were given to the five candidates before the meeting was held, enabling them enough time to research good responses. The questions touched on topics that BPW Franklin believed concerned the local area, including how will their party improve the transport infrastructure in Franklin, their thoughts on the Equal Pay bill, and what would their party do about the housing crisis in Auckland.
All candidates reiterated the same answers that can be found when researching their party policies, apart from the occasional personal reference made from when they shared their own experiences on the topic.
The real juicy questions that give you a better opinion of your candidates are the ones asked at the end of the organised meeting session. The ones raised at this meeting included discussions around our mental health services, opinions on the assisted euthanasia bill, what is being done about mercury still being used in dental fillings, and what are their personal morals and values.
These meetings serve as a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with the potential candidates, and allows you to help make a conscious and well informed decision on who you would like to represent our area and deal with our issues going forward into the future.
I would encourage our readers to make the time and effort to attend at least one of these sessions. You will not be disappointed.
Meet the candidates
Tuesday 29 August
Where: Pukekohe Reformed Church, Cnr Seddon & Victoria streets.
When: 7 for 7:30pm.
What: Presented by Franklin Christian Lobby Group, meet the candidates for this year’s election.