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Thursday, 21 February 2019 01:52 pm

Wet and wild Aro Valley gives candidates a political spray

Sep 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Latest News, News

CROWDED HOUSE: (From left) Labour's Grant Robertson, National's Paul Foster-Bell, Internet Mana's Callum Valentine, Legalise Cannabis' Alistair Gregory, NZ First Hugh Barr, Conservative's Brian Hooper, Independant Huimaono Karena Puhi, Independant Peter Robinson, Social Democratic's James Knuckey and Green's James Shaw all attended the candidates debate in Aro Valley on Monday night. IMAGE: Lize Immelman

CROWDED HOUSE: (From left) Labour’s Grant Robertson, National’s Paul Foster-Bell, Internet Mana’s Callum Valentine, Legalise Cannabis’ Alistair Gregory, NZ First Hugh Barr, Conservative’s Brian Hooper, Independant Huimaono Karena Puhi, Independant Peter Robinson, Social Democratic’s James Knuckey and Green’s James Shaw all attended the candidates debate in Aro Valley on Monday night. IMAGE: Lize Immelman

CROWDS were baying inside, and standing like zombies outside – said the MC – so the scene was set for a typically raucous Aro Valley Community Centre election debate.

Under the threat of a water gun fired for over-speaking, the all-male  candidates line-up were allocated four minutes each in front of hundreds of Wellington residents.

Huimaono Karena Puhi, an independent candidate, warmed up the audience with a korero and ended with a waiata.

NZ First candidate, Hugh Barr was the next to speak and the first to receive the squirt from water guns for speaking over time.

Alistair Gregory managed to speak for four minute talk on his party’s only policy – to legalise cannabis.

Social democratic candidate James Knuckey was the second to be squirted while trying to explain his policy, referred to as “funny money” by an audience member.

While every other candidate was heckled, the Labour and Green candidates proved popular on the night with long, loud applause.

Labour’s Grant Robertson came prepared with a raincoat for the water guns, but ended up not needing it.

James Shaw of the Green Party won over the audience with his better environment and economy theme, and they particularly liked “keep the coal in the hole and the oil out of the sea.”

Internet Mana candidate Callum Valentine was quick to point out he got one of few spare seats in the room, but that was soon stolen by Grant who shouted “not for long.”

The person most heckled was National’s Paul Foster-Bell, who was drowned out by the crowd as he asked for both votes.

He also pointed out similarities between he and Grant Robertson, suggesting they both want David Cunliffe to lose the election.

Independent candidate Peter Robinson did not seem to enthral the audience while he talked about a better economy for New Zealand.

Final speaker Brian Hooper from the Conservative Party “dreaded” attending the meeting. His wife offered to come as substitute, so he picked up on a theme about the all-male line-up: “At least there would have been a woman.”

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