This is very gratifying

The local paper has handed out some campaign awards.

Manawatu’s pre-election awards

Best campaign:

Deborah Russell, Labour. Faced with the unenviable task of taking on National’s Ian McKelvie in Rangitikei Russell has thrown everything at the campaign. She’s been all over the vast electorate with a small team of volunteers giving it everything. Whether that will translate into a seat in Parliament is uncertain, and probably unlikely, but Labour should reward her in 2017 for her efforts with an easier route to Wellington.

Nice to see Iain Lees-Galloway and Adrian Rurawhe getting awards and mentions too.

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Working hard for Rangitīkei

It’s hard to believe that this election campaign is nearly over. My team and I have been working hard for months. We’ve visited every town and village in the electorate, knocked on doors, held street corner meetings, attended festivals and markets, done our best to connect with voters all the way from Taumarunui to Himatangi Beach, from Raetihi to Shannon, and all the places in between.

Street corner meeting in Kimbolton

Street corner meeting in Kimbolton

The street corner meetings have been great fun. Because there are only a few of us working in Rangitīkei (this is a traditional blue electorate after all), I took on most of the work for street corner meetings myself. That means that I’ve walked for three or four kilometres delivering flyers announcing each meeting, and then turned up the next day to actually hold the meeting. Easy enough to do in the southern end of the electorate where the towns are all in a radius of 40 or 50km or so, but a bit more challenging when it came to Taihape, and especially so holding meetings in Ohakune, Raetihi and Taumarunui. But we did it! We even held meetings in tiny places, like Pohangina and Kimbolton, and people turned up to talk and listen.

Doreen and the big red Labour bus

Doreen and the big red Labour bus

We had two visits from the big red Labour bus, one in Feilding, and one in Taumarunui. Great fun in Feilding, and a blast in Taumarunui, where the local Young Labour people came along to help, alongside our three most senior members there, who are all in their eighties.

Along with my team, I’ve delivered flyers in Ashhurst and Marton and Bulls and Feilding and Taihape and Summerhill. Because everyone else has been holding down jobs as well as campaigning (I’m on unpaid leave), I covered every street in Taumarunui myself, delivering leaflets, and talking to so many people as I went.

I’ve been working hard for Rangitīkei, and #forabetterNZ. That’s the kind of hard work and energy and commitment I will bring to being Rangitīkei’s MP.

I’ve made some great friends during the campaign, and met so many impressive people who are working hard for their communities. I’m thinking of people like my lovely cousin Leonie Cadman in Raetihi, and Raewyn West in Taumarunui, and Cath Ash who runs Project Marton, and Dr Dave Baldwin of the Flying Doctor Service in Bulls. I’ve been so pleased to connect with and form a real friendship with a former student of mine who lives in Taumarunui.  Anna, it’s so good to be friends with you, and to have met your friends and your family – all lovely people, even if some of them have very different political views to me (I’m thinking of Anna’s father who once stood for ACT).

I think that I have connected well with all sorts of people in the electorate, from wage workers and beneficiaries to farmers and business people, that I am approachable and friendly, as willing to prop up a table in the pub at Ashhurst, or in the Cossie Club in Taumarunui, as I am to talk with senior business people and academics in very formal settings.

It’s a great part of the country, and I want to turn my commitment and energy, and all the skills I have in business and in government, and my particular skills in taxation and policy, to working for people in Rangitīkei and in New Zealand, as a Member of Parliament.

So if you’re in Rangitīkei, then on September 20 I’m asking you to vote Russell for Rangitīkei, and give your party vote to Labour.

At the Sanson markets

At the Sanson markets

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Campaign newsletter – 18 September

Nearly there!  Click here to download my very last campaign newsletter before the election.

Rangitīkei Labour campaign update 18 sep – PDF

See you on the other side.

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Campaign update – 7 September

Just 13 days to go. Or 13 sleeps, however you prefer to count this. I’ve had so many people contacting me to say that they’ve voted, and that they’ve voted to support me and the Labour Party. Thank you.

The Wanganui Chronicle ran a profile on the Rangitīkei electorate: Rangitīkei electorate and candidates.

Ms Russell was a capable candidate and brought knowledge and experience to the table, Professor Shaw said.

“She knows an awful lot about tax – she teaches tax.

“She was raised in the provinces, so she’s not some ring-in from Wellington and she’s working like a trojan. Her job I would think is to lift the profile of the party.”

My latest campaign newsletter is available here: Campaign newsletter – 7 September (pdf).

#votepositive #forabetterNZ

#votepositive #forabetterNZ

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About that CGT

I’ve been tweeting about Labour’s proposed CGT.

  • Nats are scaremongering on Capital Gains Tax. Making up a bogie, pointing at it histrionically, and trying to alarm people.
  • Standard way to form tax law is to work out broad outlines of policy, then officials work up the details. #CGT
  • Broad outlines of Labour’s CGT – second properties will be subject to CGT when they are sold. Family home will be exempt #CGT
  • One possible model is Australian. Selling house triggers a CGT event, but exemption can be claimed for “main residence”. #CGT
  • If you inherit a house, then CGT would apply from date of acquisition until when you sell. #CGT
  • Exact “time of acquisition” a fine detail to be worked out as part of tax policy process. Bog standard way of drafting law. #CGT
  • CGT would only apply when assets are sold. So seller will have cash in hand to pay tax. #CGT
  • CGT is set at low rate of 15%, to allow for effect of inflation. #CGT
  • Other OECD countries manage to run sound CGT rules. We can too. #CGT
  • Lots of reasons to have a CGT. One I like most is fairness. Income earned quickly as salary and wages is taxed. #CGT
  • But income earned slowly as capital gains is not. Seems prima facie unfair. #CGT
  • We draw an artificial distinction between “capital” and “revenue” / slow earned and quick income. CGT will redress that a little. #CGT
  • Standard part of law making process is to sort these details out. Basic principle: selling assets attracts CGT (1/2) #CGT
  • But there are some exemptions, including family home. (2/2) #CGT


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Campaign update – 16 days to go

16 days to go. The early voting booths are open – click here for a list of Rangitīkei early voting places. We’re busy with a cycle of candidates’ forums and street corner meetings and getting leaflets out, doing our best to connect with voters all through this huge electorate.

For my latest campaign newsletter, with details of everything that’s happening, click here: Rangitīkei campaign update – 2 September (pdf).

Upcoming candidates’ forums:

  • Thursday 4 September, Bunnythorpe, in the Methodist Church Hall on Baring St, at 7.30pm
  • Sunday 7 September, All Saints Community Centre in Palmerston North, at 1.30pm
  • Tuesday 9 September, Shannon, in the Old Folks Hall, at 7pm
  • Friday 12 September, Mangaweka, at 6pm, venue to be confirmed

I love the way that the forums in Bunnythorpe, Shannon and Mangaweka have come about. In each case, an individual person who is deeply involved in their community, and deeply committed to democracy, has stepped up to organise a forum. This is grass roots democracy, and it’s great to see it happening.

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Street corner meetings, candidates’ forums, it’s all on!

I’ve run street corner meetings in every sizable township in Rangitkei – Bulls, Shannon, Marton, Feilding, Ohakune, Raetihi, Ashhurst, Taihape and Taumarunui, and a couple in not so sizable places, like Pohangina. I’m counting the Pohangina meeting as the best attended – six people came, from sixty households. That’s a fair proportion of the village’s voting population.

The best question came at a meeting meeting on Clifton Terrace, from a school girl. “Why did you decide to do this?”

The answer is simple: because I believe in real, substantial equality, of the kind that means that each person can look the other in the eye, as equals. And I want to work to achieve that.

I got a round of applause at that meeting.

The most entertaining meeting so far was the one I ran in Raetihi, attended by four or five kids on their bikes. They all had a turn on the megaphone, and then they talked to me about what they liked about their school.

On the agenda this week – two candidates’ forums today, one tomorrow, leafletting and street corner meetings in Taihape on Saturday, another candidates’ forum on Sunday. It’s all go.

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