Candidates face off in Epsom

Epsom election candidates faced off at a public debate last night, with one promising to name a convicted sex offender with name suppression under parliamentary privilege.

Constituents filled the Mt Eden Village Centre to capacity for the debate.

The seven candidates each had five minutes to convince those gathered to vote for them, or in some cases just their party.

Conservative party candidate Christine Rankin used her first public 'meet the candidates' event to outline her party's policies, including binding referenda, tougher laws, "no more race-based policies and no more Maori seats".

Ms Rankin said if elected she would expose "the Rolf Harris of New Zealand", using Parliamentary privilege to name a convicted sex offenders with name suppression.

She said she gave voters the choice to vote stategically, saying based on current polling, she would bring three other MPs into Parliament.

"On their best day ACT will bring one."

ACT's David Seymour attracted the loudest cheers when introduced and said he had so far knocked 11,000 doors during his dedicated campaign for the Epsom seat.

Mr Seymour said he knew the issues currently facing the electorate from his campaigning.

He also took his time to defend the ACT-National deal in the electorate, saying: "I didn't vote for MMP, in fact I was in Standard 3 at the time ... that's the system we've got."

Labour candidate Michael Wood used his time to slate National's endorsement of Seymour, saying the people of Epsom didn't deserve to be treated like pawns on a chessboard.

Greens candidate Julie Ann Genter she was campaigning solely for the party vote.

Ms Genter said the Greens were focusing on making our rivers and our beaches safe, not just for wading and boating.

She also highlighted other Greens policies, including 20 hours-free ECE, free doctors visits for all children up to the age of 18 and free school lunches.

National Party candidate Paul Goldsmith also appealed solely for a party vote.

"The number one issue I hear from the people of Epsom is that the country is moving in the right direction," Mr Goldsmith said.

"My simple message is that if you want to keep the country moving in the right direction, give your party vote to National."

Internet Mana candidate, founding Mana Party member and "life-time protester" Pat O'Dea appealed for the people of Epsom to "vote with your conscience."

"Kim Dotcom has been through the fire," Mr O'Dea said, responding to jeers about Mana siding with the German millionaire. Independent Grace Haden also spoke, speaking out at corruption and the lack of transparency in the public sector.

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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