Thank you

Thank you, to my team, and to my family, and to people who’ve supported me, and to people who hollered encouraging words out of their car windows, and to people who voted for me.

Sign waving in Feilding

Sign waving in Feilding

I think the results from Rangitīkei are creditable: nothing flash, but perfectly respectable given the history of the electorate. Back when I wrote my campaign plan, I noticed that the party vote for Labour in Rangitīkei always trails the overall party vote for Labour by about 7%: if Labour polls at 30%, then Rangitīkei polls at 23%. Last night, Labour got 25% of the party vote, and in Rangitīkei, we got 18% of the party vote. So the party vote result in Rangitīkei is about what we’d expect it to be.

The vote for me as a candidate is not too bad at all – 27% on election night, in a blue electorate. This is the first time I’ve run for public office at all, and I’ve never even worked on a campaign before (I joined the party after the last election) so I’m completely new at this. I know that I did some things right on the campaign trail, but there are other things that I would like to do much better next time around. I think I’ll be able to do that.

I am so grateful to my team. Three core people, Elayne, Ian and Karen, did a huge amount of work. They got critical tasks done, and they gave me so much emotional support. Other people who worked hard too: Heather and Pam and Wayne and Colin. Thank you.

So many other people chipped in, Bob and Jim and Adam on hoardings, Debbie in Bulls doing so many leaflets, Jessica in Marton, Ray and Lynne in Feilding, Mark Patrick in Feilding and in Taihape, Jill and Karl and Dianne in Summerhill, with some help from Larraine too. Karen’s parents in Summerhill: talk about roping everyone in to help. Other people hosted hoardings, or came along to meetings, or helped with the big red bus. Debbie and Stephanie and Olive and Elayne and Pam spent all election day working the phones. People from Palmerston North helped with a couple of intensive days of leaflet delivery.

With Angus, Rayden and Ruth

With Angus, Rayden and Ruth

Rayden in Taumarunui turned out to be an absolute champion on the megaphone. He and I had a great day there, doing street corner meetings in the rain. Rose and her mum Angie and her sister Aria were brilliant! Rose came in through the main party volunteer page, and within hours of me contacting her, she was onto leafletting all about the electorate, and her mum and her little sister got thoroughly involved too. They are tremendous people.

Other friends chipped in with donations for the campaign. That was marvellous. I needed the money, and it was so good to know that people support me, and believe in me. Another friend brought meals to our house, and had our daughters over to stay when we needed to be out of town for the night. Lisa, thank you. Tangible, practical support.

Sometimes it was the little things that helped. Thank you to everyone who sent me txt messages and e-mail messages, and called me to wish me well, or commented on my Facebook posts, and clicked “like” and reminded me that I have a whole network of people who care. All those messages helped. Especially the messages from family members who usually vote the other way.

With Leonie, in her Barbed Wire Gallery in Raetihi

With Leonie, in her Barbed Wire Gallery in Raetihi

Family and friends put me up, or put up with me, in Raetihi and Taumarunui. Thank you to my beautiful and much admired cousin Leonie, and my friend Anna. That friendship is quite special: Anna was my student a few years ago, and I liked her very much.  When I was selected, I wanted to contact her, but I knew I couldn’t, because I had been the lecturer and she had been the student. But as soon as an article about me ran in her local paper, she contacted me, and from there our friendship has grown.

Dad held signs for me.

Dad held signs for me.

And my lovely family – my husband, and our beautiful daughters, who came campaigning with me. My mum and dad came and stayed for the last week of the campaign: my dad drove me everywhere and even though he supports a different party, he held signs for me at street corner meetings. Mum cooked meals, and ferried the girls about, and put the washing through, and kept our home functioning in that last frantic week.

Over in Palmerston North, Iain Lees-Galloway MP and his team were so very helpful and supportive. They shared their knowledge freely, they patted my shoulder, they came and helped out when it was clear that our small team needed a few hours help from a bigger team.

We had a great time working with Adrian Rurawhe and his team. I admire Adrian, and his sisters Christine and Gaylene so much. And they’re great fun! Some of our best days on the campaign trail were the days we spent with them. I’m so pleased that Adrian has won his seat, and will be one of our new MPs in this coming term.

With Adrian, Ian and Dave, at the RSA in Taumarunui

With Adrian, Ian and Dave, at the RSA in Taumarunui

A final thank you, to Ian McKelvie (Nat), Rom Rudski (NZF), Roy Brown (Conservative), and Neil Wilson (ACT). It was fun.

Thank you, everyone.

I’m taking a few days off, and then I’m going to start working on plans for helping the party in Rangitīkei to grow, and on the 2017 campaign.

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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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