It was a great meeting, and absolutely packed even half an hour before it started. The hall is not huge and there were seats for around 120 people. However I’d say well over 250 people were there.
In total breach of every OSH and fire regulation there is (to the delight of Bernard from Libertarianz and Stephen Franks) there were people sitting in all the centre aisles and up the front to within a metre of the candidates. There were six rows of people standing around all the walls and on top of that around 50 people outside peering in through the windows, or even crouched in the windows.
The crowd was great. Very good natured and heckling applied to everyone. In fact they were quite merciless with candidates who waffled and often chants of “Yes or No” broke out, even when the question was something like “What will you do for Wellington Central” 🙂
Well over 50 questions were asked on every topic under the sun from abortion to civil unions to Iraq. Only at Aro Valley would you get loud cheers to statements that marriage should be abolished or to a question about what would they do as MPs to protect citizens from the Police!
Mark somewhat provocatively spoke on why Wellington needs more roads and motorways (pointing out that the public transport option for the western corridor would cost $410 million and reduce traffic by only 100 cars a day) instead of the Green’s wind turbine powered trolley buses, plus on National’s environment record. At least a few people could hear his speech over the heckles.
All the candidates were very friendly towards each other and laughing at responses and heckles. Mark probably got the most heckles but also got what I thought was the best line of the night when asked what would be his first priority as MP for Wellington Central. His reply was to install closed circuit TV cameras into every stairwell 🙂
BeNZylpiperazine has blogged his impressions. Incidentially I was the person who interjected “Sounds like Jim Anderton” to the Progressive candidate describing the bypass as a “dinosaur from another era”. He has the replies each candidate gave to which party or candidate would they vote for if not their own.
Liberty Scott also has his reviews, and some good interjections (*cough* Steven Heath* cough *print more money* *cough*).
Kakariki was first in with a summary, and her highlights.
The Dominion Post report is online and also has some good heckles mentioned.
And finally Keith Ng has posted about the sight of myself and Labour’s Greg Stephens chasing down the road after the idiot who threw something at Marian as she left the hall. Sadly he escaped up an alleyway. It was the only disappointing aspect of what was otherwise a great night.