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Archive for the ‘Waitakere’ Category

Waitakere Meet the Candidates Meeting

Posted by on November 11th, 2011

On Wednesday the 9th of November the Western Heights Residents and Rate Payers hosted a ‘meet the candidates’ meeting at Summerland Primary school. I’ve had a great time getting feedback from residents across the electorate and in the past couple of months it’s exciting seeing so many people becoming more engaged in the issues. Waitakere doesn’t have the best voter turnout at elections but Labour’s Westie team and I are hoping to change that this time round.

 Wednesday’s meeting was particularly notable as it was the first meeting Paula Bennett has fronted in the electorate – a change from her absence at other recent community forums. In tough times, more than ever, I think it’s really important that local MPs are in the community with constituents having a visible presence and listening to their concerns- that’s definitely been my mantra.  

 It’s a shame that residents have been unable to see that type of visibility from Paula Bennett. She’s missed some hugely important forums on education, disability and housing- all areas where people have been desperate to see this National government’s vision for the future and areas that we have particular concerns about here in Waitakere. Instead we’ve had the likes of Maggie Barry undermining disability issues and Jami Lee Ross sent to debate issues in Waitakere of which he was ill prepared and ill informed. 

 One of the things that caught my attention was actually some of the feedback I received after the meeting. There were some young Unitec students –mostly undecided voters like a lot of our young people, present at the meeting. I met one of these students yesterday at the Unitech Fiafia day. These are some of the concerns she shared with Paula Bennett about the evening on Facebook:

“Was interested in hearing what you had to say at the debate tonight as i had not chose a place to put my vote. It changed my mind when i heard national supporters and people wearing national t-shirts addressing poor people as rats, and saying it was “good” the woman was living in her car with her children as she chose to live like that. And she shouldn’t of “bred”. I find this hugely derogatory and sickening that the party would condone this type of disgusting talk. Dont forget where your roots are! You were once like us too Paula Bennett. I too had my baby young and I’m studying the same as what you did without the training incentive allowance! And i would never condone that type of talk. My vote is anybody BUT national.”

 Of course Paula Bennett refutes these comments – and to be fair we can’t be held responsible for the things that are said by spectators at these meetings- although it’s clear that these comments were coming from those in National t-shirts.

 What she can be held accountable for though is the lack of opportunities this government has provided for our young people, and in the case of the Training Incentive Allowance, for kicking out the ladder underneath her once getting to the top. She and the National led government can be held responsible for developing a ‘platform’ that ‘enables’ National supporters to take these derogatory positions towards the most vulnerable in our society. This government’s welfare reforms are a clear indication of that ‘platform’ which encourages the great divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. The reforms are short sighted, as usual, and likely to have the biggest impact on those who find it difficult to fight in their own corner.

 Instead of ‘justice’ and ‘responsibility’ we hear National preaching ‘choice’ and ‘hard work’. Sure there’s got to be a balance between all these things but in the current climate- how much ‘choice’ is there when your back’s up against the wall? How much hard work can you do in a market where there are no jobs?

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Annette = substance, Bennett = useless spin, play of the day

Posted by on May 6th, 2011

And from what I read she is struggling in Waitakere too.

For those without broadband, the Hansard is below: (more…)


Thank you Labour

Posted by on September 24th, 2010

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The $36 million transport interchange at New Lynn was officially opened today.

Cudos to Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey and his Councillors, along with ARTA and Mike Lee from the ARC who all worked hard to achieve what Bob describes it as the new heart and soul of New Lynn.

The joint Waitakere City Council, Auckland Regional Transport Authority Council and Central government development has been more than five years in the making and includes an underground train station and a revamped bus interchange.  New Lynn looks like a town that’s going places with the redevelopment of the town centre to follow.

New Lynn Labour MP David Cunliffe was instrumental in convincing the then finance minister Michael Cullen and Prime Minister Helen Clark to back the council’s plans. Dr Cullen signed off $140m for the project despite objections from Treasury.

While the Governor General and Transport Minister Joyce did the official business today, I thought it was great that the locals recognised the Labour government’s contribution and particularly that of Michael Cullen, with this banner.

Thank you Labour.


Chris Trotter wrong about Waitakere

Posted by on March 21st, 2010

There’s been a bit of excitement on right-wing blogs about Chris Trotter’s comments about the Waitakere selection.

I was at the selection meeting yesterday and it was a great day. The candidates were impressive and the process was robust. As is the case with democratic selections, three out of the four will be feeling gutted today and I feel for all of them, but Hamish and Phil in particular.

I’ve lived in this place for a long time. My son went to primary and secondary school here, I’ve worked in the community and represented workers in the factories, hospitals and schools. I’ve door-knocked and campaigned for Labour in many elections and I know all parts of the electorate pretty well.

The street where I live is a mix of Waitakereites. There are down to earth working people, retirees, young couples buying or renting their first home, the odd greenie and one or two beneficiaries.

Let’s be clear, I live in the more “working class” part of the electorate, not in Titirangi or Oratia or the new housing area where Paula Bennett finally moved to from Epsom. I live in a place where it is still possible to buy a first home for less than most other parts of Auckland.

Chris previously described what he called “Waitakereman/woman” in an attempt to analyse why Labour lost Waitakere in 2008.  It drew on the TV show “Outrageous Fortune” and perceptions of the Bogan West.

I can only think of one “Waitakereman” in my street. He is a tradesperson, pakeha, with two young kids. He gets working for families and did pretty well under Labour, but he likes straight talking and he voted for Bennett in 2008. But he’s been pretty openly grumbly about the National government lately.  And I’m pretty sure that his “Waitakere woman” has her own views!

Trotter says that

The clear goal facing Labour in Waitakere was to choose a candidate who can beat Paula Bennett. That candidate needed to be: female, have a solid working-class background (to which, at some point, she had added a tertiary qualification), be either Pakeha or Maori (or, ideally, a mixture of both) and, most importantly, be capable of “talking shit” with the same cheeky facility as the incumbent.

Carmel Sepuloni qualifies on most of Chris’s counts. She’s female, has a solid working class background, has added a tertiary qualification later and is capable of “cheeky shit”. She’s taken on Bennett in the House on the Training Incentive Allowance (that Bennett received and then pulled the ladder up on) and she’s pretty fearless.

But Carmel is of Tongan/Samoan descent, so somehow misses out, even although she’s also from a sixth-generation pakeha family.

National put huge resources into winning the Waitakere seat in 2008. Everywhere across Waitakere (and leading into the electorate) there were hundreds of hoardings and in the last few days “Proud to be a Westie” signs saturating the electorate. It wasn’t the brilliance of Paula Bennett that won Waitakere in 2008.

National clearly targeted the seat, yet could only win with a 600-odd vote margin, at a time when the tide went out on Labour across the country.

Believe me, that won’t happen in 2011. Labour voters will be back in force.

Paula Bennett’s “westie chick” persona is paper thin.  Winning the vote of the people in my street will take a whole lot more than leopard skin in 2011.

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