Infrastructure, climate change and regional development the big topics for candidate meeting

The wild weather wasn’t enough to keep locals keen to grill their election candidates from attending the Town Hall Meet the Candidates event last Sunday.

Around 100 Raglanites of all ages got the chance to hear what the four candidates had to say about some of the issues close to the heart of the local community.

The four Taranaki-King Country candidates – incumbent MP National’s Barbara Kuriger, Labour’s Hilary Humphrey, Green’s Robert Moore and Conservative’s Allan Thompson – were given a tight time limit by MCs Lisa Thomson and Leanne Steel but mostly coped well with the questioning.

Issues raised included; how they would solve the housing crisis; adding value to New Zealand exports in an innovative and sustainable way to dealing with infrastructure challenges like Raglan’s sewerage issues and tackling rising sea levels.

All the candidates except the Conservative’s Allan Thompson agreed climate change is actually a real issue, but they’d tackle it in different ways.

The candidates were also asked questions from the floor relating to issues such as banning sea bed mining, making te reo Māori compulsory in schools, opening charter schools to the Official Information Act, roads and local government.

Early voting for the General Election opened at the town hall on Monday, September 11 and the final opportunity to cast your vote is Saturday, September 23 until 7pm.

Janine Jackson

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The meeting started with an explanation of “two tick” voting, which still confuses some voters. 

It was explained that every voter has a party vote and a candidate vote.  The party vote matters more. The party vote is important because the party with the most votes usually gets to form the government, sometimes in coalition with minor parties.

The party vote goes to deciding how many MPs each party gets. This gives the opportunity for strategic voting. By giving your party vote to your preferred coalition partner you get to shape the government. (The party vote is only wasted if the party you vote for gets less than 5%.)

The second tick is for a local candidate. Most Raglan voters are in Taranaki-King Country, the 10th safest National seat, so it’s not likely to matter how you use your electorate vote. However, in the Maori constituency of Hauraki-Waikato, the candidate vote could well decide whether Nanaia Mahuta remains the Labour MP.

John Lawson