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Saturday, 23 March 2019 02:20 am

Wet inside and outside Aro Valley Hall for candidates meeting

Kids keeping the politicians to task during the meeting. Image: Laura Wiltshire


As water guns wet the candidates inside, rain could not dampen the audience spilling outside the Aro Valley hall hosting the iconic meeting the candidates event.

Monday’s meeting, which occurs before every local body and general election, saw the seven Wellington Central candidates debate topics including climate change, housing and the economy.

Heckling is encouraged and water guns punish candidates who dare speak over their allocated time.

The audience overflowed outside the doors but people were  happy to stand in the drizzle looking through windows.

Candidates James Shaw (left), Nicola Willis and Grant Robertson chat before the meeting. Image: Laura Wiltshire

They were not afraid of making their voices heard, with frequent interjections yelled at the candidates.

Lining up the front were Greens’ James Shaw, National’s Nicola Willis, Labour’s Grant Robertson, NZ First’s Andy Foster, ACT’s Michael Warren, TOP’s Geoff Simmons and Independent Gayaal Iddamalgoda.

All damp candidates left the event with good things to say.

“I love the fact that basically the entire valley comes out for one night of political entertainment at every election,” says Aro Valley native Shaw.

Incumbent Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson complimented the heckling and interjections, saying the meeting was unlike any other candidates’ meeting in the country.

Even those on the right, who did not fare as well as their left wing counterparts, were in general generally positive.

“It’s great to see people so engaged in politics,” says Willis.

MC Bryan Crump pointed out that if the rest of the nation voted like Aro Valley, James Shaw would be co-Prime Minister and the Legalise Marijuana party would hold the balance of power.

Aro Valley, fondly known to Wellingtonians as the Republic of Aro, has a reputation for being an alternative suburb which is mainly home to students, artists and liberals.




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