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The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in Southland could close in August 2021, although its...
The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in Southland. Photo: ODT files
From economic recovery to Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter, Invercargill residents last night heard from electoral candidates about what they will do if they win their vote.

About 100 people listened as nine party representatives gave their best pitch at the Meet the Candidates event, held at the Southern Institute of Technology’s Centre Stage.

Each had a minute and a-half to answer questions on a range of topics, including what they would do to ensure Invercargill residents had a voice.

Labour MP Liz Craig said she had "unfinished business" and wanted to continue the work her Government had done.

This included leading a "decisive" health response to Covid-19 and supporting economic recovery, increasing tax for higher-income earners, protecting businesses, caring for the environment, advocating for free apprenticeships and better education for all, and a stronger public health system.

Dr Craig argued the effectiveness of a politician should be judged not by the strength of their criticism but by how they showed up for their community.

National candidate Penny Simmonds said she wanted to fix the failures of the current Government but if she was not voted in, she would not be able to do so, because of Labour.

The former SIT chief executive put her capability down to a wealth of experience in community roles, including board positions in sports, arts and health sectors.

If she was elected, fighting for Tiwai, ending the "demonisation" of farmers, lowering taxes and bettering education and health were among her priorities.

Green Party candidate Rochelle Francis said her focus would be on addressing inequality, improving housing and protecting nature.

She said there was "no room for ego in politics" and endorsed coalition Government partner Liz Craig for the electorate vote.

New Zealand First candidate Joshua Gunn said while his party was unlikely to win the election, he wanted to be a "second line" for getting Invercargill issues to government.

Advance New Zealand candidate Kurt Rohloff said he wanted to be a servant to the people and speak "truths".

Independent candidate Basil Walker said saving Tiwai was at the forefront of his mind and he planned to take the issue to court.

Social Credit candidate Dr Winsome Aroha wanted a move to the single transferable vote and said she would "be here fighting forever" to stop borrowing from commercial banks.

Independent candidate Zy Hayden said he was not really looking for the community’s vote but encouraged them to think long and hard about who they chose.

New Conservative candidate Josh Honiss said he was willing to stand up on the "hard issues".

He said farming was sustainable in its current state, argued for a freeze on the minimum wage, rubbished the Government’s Covid-19 response and KiwiBuild, and argued abortion and gun legislation was rushed.

abbey.palmer@odt.co.nz

Comments

If any of these candidates want to fix failures then they can start with their own first. National and Labour can fix the health, education, housing, employment and welfare sectors, since it was under successive governments bringing in: bulk funding; Employment Contracts Act, selling off assets like NZ Rail and state housing to private sector. Forcing the sale of rate payer owned assets into private hands, forced creation of super cities that come at the expense of county councils that serviced the towns and villages, who get left behind by the city councils. All this in order to 'balance' the books. A user pays system that applies to some, but not others. Last, revisit the very generous retirement packages MPs get given after 3 terms in office. As far as I am concerned it is time to stop pointing the finger and look to fixing yourselves.

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