Kapiti Meet the Candidates

The Blogmobile had its first official outing to the Kapiti Coast on Sunday. It does take a while to get use to the size and bulk of the vehicle. You do not want to have to slam the brakes on suddenly, so you drive quite cautiously. Mind you, still over took a couple of cars on the way, which surprised them!

I also found no problems working on the laptop while Cameron drove. The Vodafone data card kept a signal the entire trip. And the mat on the table stops the laptop moving about.

Mid afternoon we went to a Waikanae function for Nathan Guy – had 100 or so people there to hear Gerry Brownlee speak. We then had some refreshments at a VWRCNZ farm a few kms north of Waikanae before heading to the Meet the Candidates Meeting in Raumati.

Raumati is actually in Mana electorate, but close to the Otaki boundary so there were candidates there for both electorates. Seven of the candidates (two Nats, one Labour, two ACT, one NZ First and one Progressive) did our five question quiz for the video camera, and I’ll link to their videos later on.

The candidates speaking were:

  1. National – Nathan Guy (Otaki) and Hekia Parata (Mana)
  2. Labour – Winnie Laban (Mana) and Darren Hughes (Otaki)
  3. ACT – Mike Collins (Mana) and Peter McCaffrey (Otaki)
  4. NZ First – David Scott (Otaki)
  5. United Future – Robin Gunston (Mana)
  6. Greens – Michael Gilchrist (Mana)
  7. Progressive – Josie Pagani (Otaki)

Each party had eight minutes (they could split between them) to talk, and the topic was meant to be on making communities safer. After that there was an hour of questions from the floor.

All the candidates got a pretty good reception, but David Scott got heckled a fair bit when he spent too much time talking about how wonderful Winston was, and not enough on the actual topic. We got this a bit in the interview also when David said the most critical issue facing voters is getting Winston back into Parliament! I actually know David as he is the ex-husband of a former National MP!

Nathan and Hekia were both very good. Nathan is one of those MPs who speaks to you, not at you – never speaks down at all. And Hekia was wonderful as she gave some great examples from her own family about the challenges parents can have in having their kids safe. You could feel the connection with some in the audience.

Winnie and Darren both gave very polished performances also. Darren uses humour very well, and strikes an easy rapport with people. They were both very on message and avoided stuff which turns off people like blaming crime on a budget from 17 years ago.

Gunston and Gilchrist made no blunders and reflected their party stances as expected.

Likewise Peter and Mike from ACT pushed their party’s policies on law and order. They had one negative moment when Peter pushed Sir Roger Douglas and the generally elderly audience reacted as if he had tortured a cat. But during question time it seemed apparent they had some people agreeing with them on law and order policies.

But the real interesting candidate for me (and no not just because I know her) was Josie Pagani. In fact Josie scared me. She sounded like a Tory, while advocating socialist policies. Now this is really dangerous!! A definite wolf in sheep’s clothing!

She managed to defend the anti-smacking law while at the same time condemning the political correct environment that spawned it by talking about how her kids get reflection notes or some bullshit from school now, and what the hell do they mean. So she had all the audience nodding and agreeing with her, and then artfully adds to her story by saying that violence against kids is horrific though and if we need a better law to make it clear, then she is all for it.

One of the questions was on whether the drinking age should be lifted to 20. I resisted identifying myself as a co-ordinator for the Keep it 18 campaign :-). It was interesting how the candidates split.

In favour of 20 was the Greens, Progressive, NZ First United Future and one of the Labour candidates (Laban). Now it is a conscience issue but I found it interesting that you had Greens and Progressive agreeing with the more socially conservative parties.

In favour of 18 was both ACT candidates, both National candidates and Darren Hughes from Labour. Hekia Parata did make the point that she did not support lowering it to 18, but now it is 18 one can’t turn it back.

Afterwards we gave Peter and Mike a lift back to Wellington. They were impressed that we had on board a box of ACT’s 20 point plans – Rodney never misses an opportunity and got them for Cameron.