Hoping for Jacinda effect

Young voters made a significant contribution to the elections in the United Kingdom, the United States and France and George Sabonadiere (16), of Dunedin, is hoping for similar results in New Zealand.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Democratic Party senator Bernie Sanders and French President Emmanuel Macron motivated young voters - not traditionally a large proportion of the voting population - to get out and not only vote, but campaign in the elections.

George, a pupil at Logan Park High School, is hoping the elevation of New Zealand Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern will have the same effect during this election campaign.

``Hopefully the bit more interest in Jacinda Ardern will increase voter turnout this time.

George Sabonadiere
George Sabonadiere
``Young people think there is not a lot to vote for. A lot of parties look at their target groups of the middle class and older people and that's where they target their policies.''

As the event manager for the Dunedin Youth Council, George is organising a debate focused on the youth vote next Thursday, at the Otago Boys' High School auditorium.

Representatives from National, Labour, the Green Party and The Opportunities Party have indicated they would attend.

Among the issues affecting young people was mental health, George said.

The issue was prevalent in Dunedin but it was affecting the whole country. Young people were interested in what politicians would say about the state of mental health in the country.

The focus of the youth council, run through the Dunedin City Council, had been on local government, fulfilling the role of civic education.

The political forum was attracting early attention with 50 people registering to attend by Wednesday.

Not content with being the event manager for the youth forum, George is off to Auckland this weekend to talk to the Peace Foundation about New Zealand's 30 years of being nuclear free.

Knowing barely anything about politics in the 1980s, his research showed what an ``incredible period of transition'' New Zealand experienced under former prime minister David Lange and former finance minister Sir Roger Douglas.

George is also promoting the ``Rockenroll'' campaign to get people on to the electoral role.

``I can't vote but I can contribute what I can. That's what I do.''

Bill English
Bill English
National Party Campaign Launch

Prime Minister Bill English will launch National's campaign at the Trust Arena, Henderson, Auckland tomorrow afternoon. The launch starts about midday with the usual sorts of entertainment. It probably will not include the song made famous by former National leader Dame Jenny Shipley - Born to Be Wild.

Mr English will have watched Labour's launch last week and the adulation given to Jacinda Ardern. Mr English is no rock star, but he does have a very polished, and rehearsed, down-to-earth persona.

No-one does a campaign launch like National and with plenty of money in the Crown accounts, it is likely Mr English will announce some big-ticket campaign promises.

Most of the roading announcements have been made, Christchurch has a new stadium on its way, Dunedin has a new hospital planned and there has been all sorts of spending announced around the regions.

Auckland is likely to be the target tomorrow for Mr English's largesse.

Peter Dunne
Peter Dunne
Peter Dunne

Long-serving MP Peter Dunne surprised everyone with his sudden departure from the campaign, and Parliament. The polls appeared to indicate he would be thrashed by Labour candidate Greg O'Connor. National was left in a bit of a bind because its candidate Brett Hudson had already sent flyers out asking for voters to support Mr Dunne. On paper, Ohariu is a strong National seat but Mr O'Connor has been campaigning already for the candidate vote and could still succeed.

Mr Dunne will leave an image of sartorial elegance on the minds of voters with his bow ties and distinctive hairstyles. He will also be remembered for the infamous worm on one of the debates.

Audience approval for the sensible attitude he adopted meant he was not only elected but took into Parliament a group of new MPs. Those MPs quickly imploded and Mr Dunne waved them all off, probably gratefully.

On current calculations, Mr Dunne is likely to receive about $90,000 a year in superannuation following his 33 years in Parliament.

Tax

There is no pleasing everyone on tax as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern found out. Ms Ardern, who did a star turn in Dunedin yesterday, assured voters this week there would be no change to the upper tax bracket, disappointing Closing the Gap spokesman Peter Malcolm.

Mr Malcolm said after earlier commitments by Ms Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, her new position on income tax seemed an about-face.

``To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top, i.e. a more steeply progressive tax regime.''

Taxpayers Union executive director Jordan Williams was ``very pleased'' Ms Ardern had pledged a Labour government would not increase income tax.

``But there is still a lot of uncertainty on precisely what tax burden New Zealanders would face if the red team win.''

David Seymour
David Seymour
David Seymour

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour got time in the sun this week calling a New Zealand First MP a ``f... idiot''. Mr English said the language used was not up to standard but Mr Seymour replied: ``I do not regret my words and Act will not back down''.

Mr Seymour is continuing his attacks on NZ First leader Winston Peters but, in the end, it will be Mr Peters at the negotiating table in any post-election coalition talks. Mr Seymour will take what he is given, if National wins the election.

dene.mackenzie@odt.co.nz

 

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