Campaign newsletter

Click here for our latest campaign newsletter.

Rangitīkei campaign update – August 6 – pdf 463kb

We’re moving into the busiest stage of the campaign – lots of street corner meetings, leafletting, candidates’ forums, door knocking, making phone calls, visiting schools and businesses and markets and community events. It’s all hard work, and lots of fun. Our first big candidates’ forum is on this Sunday, at 1pm in the Palmerston North City Library, hosted by the National Council of Women. All the candidates from the two local electorates, Palmerston North and Rangitīkei, will be there. Come along and say hello.

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Talking to rural voters, with Damien O’Connor

Our Primary Industries spokesperson, Damien O’Connor, came to visit Rangitīkei a few days ago. We had three events on the agenda: visiting the Bulls Flying Doctor Service (careful, that link opens with a video playing) where Dr Dave Baldwin gave us some time with some of his students, spending a couple of hours in the fabulous Mothered Goose cafe in Bulls, talking to reporters and to a group of rural women who came to meet us, and attending a conference at Massey University held by the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, where Damien was speaking.

With Damien O'Connor, and Dr Dave Baldwin and one of his students, at the Bulls Flying Doctor Service

With Damien O’Connor, and Dr Dave Baldwin and one of his students, at the Bulls Flying Doctor Service

It was good to get some insights from the people we spoke to. Dr Dave Baldwin at the Flying Doctor Service had some things to say about men’s health, and it’s clear that he has a great compassion for people. He spoke of a chap in his town who had committed a burglary, in rather bungling fashion. Rather than condemning the chap, Dave spoke of the tremendous pressure that men are under to be good providers, and what that pressure can drive them to do. It’s a story that is so familiar to feminists: patriarchy harms men too.

Dave’s students were an interesting bunch, from all over New Zealand, and the world. They had some of the usual concerns of students – how to fund their degrees – but more so than most, given how expensive aviation training is. Most of them are planning to head overseas to find work when they’ve finished their study.

The rural women were concerned about the viability of small rural communities, and worried about water quality. They felt that farmers were unfairly blamed for water quality issues, when towns and cities create problems too.

The science forum was excellent. MPs from four parties spoke: Damien for the Labour party, Shane Ardern for the National Party, Richard Prosser for NZFirst, and Stefan Browning for the Greens. As the local paper said, “The science community at the meeting warmly applauded Browning and O’Connor. It was less fulsome in its praise of Ardern and Prosser.”

Some of the coverage from the day: Rural women point water woes finger at townies in NZ Farmer (the farming section of the Stuff/Fairfax papers), MP – Arden (Nat) – says farming’s effect not damaging in the Manawatu Standard, Russell calls for added value in the Wanganui Chronicle, and the front page of the Rangitikei Mail.

Rangitikei Mail, 24 July

Rangitikei Mail, 24 July

Click on the thumb-nail to read the text of the article: rangimailtext

Best personal event of the day: Damien needed to get some papers printed out, so we dropped into my home unexpectedly. I had told my girls that I wouldn’t be home until quite a bit later. So when we walked in around mid-afternoon, two of them were still in pyjamas, they were all watching TV, and there was a significant amount of disarray. The looks of their faces said it all… oh %$^!

Sprung! A priceless parenting moment.

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Campaign newsletter

Click here for a newsletter about what we’ve been doing, and what we’re going to be doing in the next week or two.

Rangitīkei Labour campaign update

I’ll aim to get a newsletter out every couple of weeks from now until the election.

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Tweeting our new tax policy


People saying that Labour’s tax rate of 36% will lead to rorts. But the trust rate will go to 36% too.

And the company tax rate is already 28% ie. 5 percentage points lower than the current top tax rate and trust rate (currently 33%).

In any case, thanks to imputation system, company tax is in effect only a withholding tax for NZ tax resident shareholders.

So thanks to alignment of trust and income tax rates (retained under Labour’s plan) and imputation, incentive for rorts is decreased.

Long story short: Labour’s tax plan is sound policy, and will not create incentives for rorts.

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It’s about work

The Manawatu Standard ran a big article today about the local election races, between Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway and the current mayor in Palmerston North, and me and the incumbent National MP in Rangitīkei.


If you click on the image, you’ll get a bigger version of the article.

Manawatu Standard, 21 June 2014, p. 15.

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Getting about Rangitīkei

Rangitīkei is a huge electorate. It takes about three and a half hours to drive from Himitangi Beach in the bottom corner, to Taumarunui at the top end.

So we’ve come up with a plan to make it just a bit easier.


Russell Air!

The only downside is the cost….

If you can help with the costs of my plane campaign, that would be great! Even small donations help. $10 here, $20 there, and pretty soon you’re talking about a tank of petrol to get me up to Taumarunui. By car.

I’ve got details of how to make a donation here: Donate to my campaign.

Please do consider it. It would make a real difference to me and my team.

Many thanks to my Canvassing Manager’s clever son for working on the plane.

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Tourism and the regions

Darien Fenton, our Tourism spokesperson, and I were given a guided tour of The Coach House Museum in Feilding yesterday, together with a discussion of tourism and the regions. Paul Gibson from the museum, and Dean Manley and Denise Andrews from the Feilding Information Centre, were very generous with their time and knowledge.

Dean Manley, Darien Fenton and Paul Gibson in The Coach House Museum

Dean Manley, Darien Fenton and Paul Gibson in The Coach House Museum

When it comes to tourism in the regions, then it’s putting together a package of activities that matters. Plenty of people are keen to get off the Auckland / Rotorua / Taupo route, and tour through regional areas and rural towns. It’s often just a matter of letting them know what can be done. Dean Manley had some interesting suggestions about how central government could help, from helping to develop apps onto which regions and towns could load information, to helping with developing capability. He saw it as a matter of providing co-ordination, rather than just piling money in.

And it would make a difference. Tourism jobs are often low paid, but they are better than no jobs. Then there’s the money that tourists spend in small towns, buying food and going to cafes and other attractions, all helping to support work for people living in the towns.

I took Darien to see the NZ Motor Caravan Association Park in Marton. I find this organisation fascinating. Groups of people who enjoy motorhome tourism will travel from place to place, camping over in some places, and in others, staying at campgrounds and parks owned by the association. Like other tourists, they bring money into small towns. It’s just a matter of attracting them. Marton has been quite fortunate in this regard: the NZMCA owns a park there, and it’s often full of motorhomes, each of them bring an economic benefit to the town.

Darien at the NZMCA Park in Marton

Darien at the NZMCA Park in Marton

As for The Coach House Museum in Feilding, it’s a delight! There’s plenty to see there, all well organised and well cared for. It’s a very professionally run museum, with a commitment to local history, and to a broader history of transport and farming machinery in New Zealand. I recommend it.

At The Coach House Museum, with Darien Fenton.  Colour - we haz it.

At The Coach House Museum, with Darien Fenton. Colour – we haz it.

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