Applause for Turei at candidate forum

Former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei speaks during a political forum at Knox Church Hall yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei speaks during a political forum at Knox Church Hall yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Metiria Turei appeared to be as popular as ever at her first public outing since resigning from the Green Party leadership.

She represented the party at a low-key political forum at Knox Church Hall yesterday, which was also attended by Labour Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, National list MP Paul Foster-Bell representing Dunedin National list MP Michael Woodhouse, New Zealand First Dunedin North candidate Warren Voight and The Opportunities Party Dunedin South candidate Lindsay Smith.

Three questions were put to the candidates by the Child Poverty Action Group, Connect South, the Public Health Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Association of Social Workers.

The questions canvassed the candidates' thoughts on housing affordability and availability for low-income earners; how they would create healthy childhoods; and whether they thought benefits and working for families tax credits should be indexed to median wages, as superannuation is.

Ms Turei's response to the latter drew the loudest cheers and applause of the forum, from many in the audience.

''I have staked my entire political career on improving the incomes for the most poor in this country.''

She said the Green Party promised to raise incomes of the poorest and bring them above the poverty line by increasing benefits and the minimum wage.

The Labour, New Zealand First and Opportunities parties also received favourable applause for their responses.

However, many of Mr Foster-Bell's responses were met with heckling and laughing.

He told the audience National planned to commit $354 million to building 1000 ''emergency transitional places'' which were not houses for life, but would go a long way to addressing the immediate issue of people sleeping rough.

The statement was met with an angry outburst from an individual, who later walked out.

About 70 people attended the forum.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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