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Friday, 24 May 2019 12:56 am

Walker leaving MP life, but she still wants Green valley


AFTER three years in Parliament it’s time for Green Party MP Holly Walker to focus on being a mum – but you can still vote for her.

After getting into Parliament on the Green Party list in 2011, Ms Walker says she has achieved a lot in her time here, but is stepping down for personal reasons.

“In the last three years I’ve had a baby, and we’ve had other family challenges going on which meant that it’s not realistic for me to carry on in Parliament at the moment.

“It’s a really full on job, being an MP is 24/7 and so is being a mum,” she says.

Ms Walker has stayed on the list as a candidate for the Hutt South to give her a platform to ask people for the Green Party vote.

“Technically speaking, my name will appear on the voting ballot, and if people really want to they can vote for me as the candidate for Hutt South, but realistically I won’t be elected, and I’m not on the Green Party list so I won’t be in Parliament after the election.”

Ms Walker has been active in the campaign, door knocking around the Hutt South electorate, and says the party is attracting votes.

“More people are thinking of voting Greens this time around, and we’ve been hearing concerns about affordable housing, and environmental issues like water quality and climate change,” she says.

The Green Party is focussing its campaign on a clean environment with a focus on river water to make it safe to swim in our rivers again.

“The Hutt River is in poor condition and many people who grew up swimming in it hope they and their children will be able to do so once again.

“This will require upgrading storm water infrastructure as well as setting robust water quality standards,” says Ms Walker.

A smarter economy is also a goal which will focus on green innovation by taking advantage of sustainable energy and sustainable manufacturing opportunities.

Poverty, however, is also an ongoing reality in the Hutt, and is on the Greens agenda.

Ms Walker says that Green’s want to ensure every child in New Zealand grows up happy and healthy, and having a great public education.

“In the past months I have visited every decile 1-4 school in the Hutt and talked with staff and parents about our education and social policies and I am confident these would make a big difference in the Hutt too,” she says.

The recent boundary changes to the Hutt South electorate make sense to Ms Walker.

“The hill suburbs naturally flow into the Hutt, they come to the Hutt to their shopping and their schooling.

“So it does make sense that they would be included in the Hutt South electorate because that’s where the community of interest is.”

She admits it changes the demographics of the electorate, as a higher income area has joined and that demographic tends to vote National, and sometimes Green’s.

“So for us I guess the party vote message is even more important, it’s always been the one we push but because the candidate race is likely to be closer, we want to make sure people really get that we want their party vote,” says Ms Walker.

In the 2011 election, the Green Party received 3940 list votes, and Ms Walker received 3693 electorate votes.

The Green Party was third behind National (13,510) and Labour (11,751) party in the votes by a big margin.

Come election day Ms Walker will have already voted because the Green Party is trying to highlight the fact that people can vote early.

“I’ll probably vote somewhere in Petone, I think the Petone library is a site for early voting, either that or the Lower Hutt City library.”

She says every one of the Green’s MPs is voting early, to remind people that it’s possible.

On Election Day itself, Ms Walker will be checking that voters are getting to the polls and helping them to get there.

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