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Crowd warms to passionate Ginny in Ohariu gathering

Sep 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News


CHALK AND CHEESE: Virginia Andersen (left) and Peter Dunne deliver two different performances at the Ohariu candidate debate. Image: Francesca Jago

CHALK AND CHEESE: Virginia Andersen (left) and Peter Dunne deliver two different performances at the Ohariu candidate debate. Image: Francesca Jago

IF cheers and whistles count as votes then Labour’s Virginia Anderson could be adding MP to her CV.

More than 100 people gathered at Wadestown’s St. Luke’s church hall to meet their electorate candidates – and they liked the local mother of four and wife.

The new candidate, who introduced herself as “Ginny”, appeared to win the crowd with her energetic and passionate delivery, which was a contrast to Peter Dunne’s sedate, monotone delivery.

The other candidate to generate a response was National’s Brett Hudson.

He delivered a carefully scripted introduction, hypnotising the crowd with well-rehearsed statistics of the past two terms run by National.

Mr Hudson stuck to National’s campaign catchphrase, “National is about growing the economy” – albeit a few too many times for some.

Mr Hudson picked up on an audience comment about the lack of young people: “Tonight the world favours the Aro Valley meeting for a good time.”

The handful of youth who attended were given little chance at question time, as the older crowd jumped at the opportunity to interrogate candidates over policies, mainly focusing on climate change.

The usually well behaved hall targeted the National candidate over carbon emissions tax, but erupted with laughter when Mr Hudson responded: “We do not wish to compromise the livelihood of New Zealanders by rushing ahead of the world with environmental policies.”

After all, “National is about growing the economy,” he added, again.

Green candidate Tane Woodley appeared pleased that questions favoured his party’s strength, and wooed the crowd with a vision of a flourishing suburb.

ACT candidate Sean Fitzpatrick opted for the backseat for much of the debate, perhaps because he had not read ACT policies.
“I don’t know our parties policies on that issue,” was a line repeated numerous times during the debate.

With an ageing crowd, it was inevitable superannuation would be raised.

Mr Dunne took the chance to speak loudly on the side of the irate crowd after Ms Andersen confirmed Labour would increase the age of superannuation to 67.

“United Future will not increase the age of superannuation,” Mr Dunne said, citing a conversation him and David Shearer had after Labour’s 2011 failed bid for Government.

“David admitted to me that the topic of superannuation was the downfall of Labour’s policies, so to hear Virginia say the age will go up to 67 is not doing Labour any favour.”

However, Ms Anderson staunchly defended the Labour Party’s controversial stance.

“It’s simply not sustainable the way it is. We have an ageing population, it’s an issue we need to start addressing.”

Unsurprisingly, ACT and Conservative skipped the question, while Mr Hudson on auto-pilot recited “National is all about growing the economy”.

The question of inequality in New Zealand managed to stir up the crowd which had been fading.

Mr Hudson made himself a target with his statements: “Inequality has stabilised. It has been flat. A stroke of a pen to increase minimum wage will lead to further unemployment.”

“Bollocks”, and “you’re disgusting” came from every corner of the hall.



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is a Whitireia journalism student who takes a keen interest in anything and everything, particularly cats.
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