Tonight was all about WOMEN. The YWCA organised a Meet the (female) Candidate event to coincide with it being 123 years since Kate Sheppard and the suffragettes secured women the right to vote. While we can fully participate in society now, there are still (crazily enough) equity issues between men and women. Some of them tangible – like the discrepancy in pay rates and some of them harder to measure such as the pressure of (usually) being the primary caregivers of children and older family members. There is also still (subconscious) sexism shown through treatment by men… Mansplaining comes to mind. While we are fortunate compared to many other countries around the world, I believe we could be doing better.
The “full house” (102 to be exact) enjoyed great hospitality with canapes and wines from NZMA while we heard a 2 minute introduction to candidates… before speed dating – which involved 16 candidates heading the table for 2 minutes each to answer any questions we saw fit to ask.
I enjoyed the night (catching up with Kate from Chris Simpson’s campaign team) and thought I’d share my thoughts on a few of the NEW candidates.
The stand out candidate for me personally is Anna Casey-Cox; tonight’s presentation confirmed it as it’s the first time I’ve seen her speak in person. She is standing for Hamilton East as part of the Community Voice ticket. She is personable, warm and has a social and environmental conscience that for me is key in this election. She is a genuine advocate for the community and has involvement with the Environment Centre and Poverty Action. (She tops scorecards from Sustainable Waikato and Generation Zero too). Unfortunately I can’t vote for her since I’m on the other side of the river but I do urge you to check out her website/facebook page and consider giving her a tick if you’re in the East.
A candidate I find ‘interesting’ is Siggi Henry. I heard early on that she is a rather pushy anti-fluoride campaigner (although she hasn’t made that an issue at either of the events I’ve seen her speak at). I had the impression she was negative and critical which doesn’t sit well with me when I want a positive and collaborative council. Contradicting this at both events she came across as genuine; bubbly and quite likeable. She’s standing for Hamilton West and I’m still debating a vote for her. She doesn’t have a facebook page but here’s a link to the Hamilton News article announcing her candidacy. She also gets a thumbs up for getting her hoardings out early… Hamilton West definitely lagged behind the East in this respect.
Another candidate I relate to is first time candidate Angela Strange. She’s a mother (with four kids!) so like myself she values things that make Hamilton a great place to raise a family, like the gardens, the river, playgrounds and libraries. The average Hamiltonian is in their 30’s with a young family – so she’ll understand their challenges and priorities better than some of the other candidates. We discussed the reluctance some people have to voting in a female candidate with children. Karina Green seems to have given the rest of us a bad rep by default… Like myself, the role of Councillor would be a full-time job for her. One where she would take the role seriously enough to make alternative childcare arrangements (the salary definitely permits it).
Cathy Holland may very well make a great Waikato District Health Board member – but I’m not sure why she’s standing for the city. She didn’t speak about it, admitted her passion was health and … clearly her hearts not in it. Tania Hennebry bothered me. I’m not sure why… she may stand up for what she wants but she seemed a little arrogant (in my opinion). Pat Kaio is interesting because she did a few terms back in the late 80’s, early 90’s; things have changed and I don’t think that she has what it takes now (with all due respect).
Well, in terms of new candidates … that leaves Paula Southgate. But, I’m going to leave her for another day. What I WILL say is even if you don’t vote her for Mayor – if you are on the East side you’d be crazy not to vote her in as Councillor for the skills, experience and networks that she has through her time as chair at the Regional Council.
I’ve decided to only cover city council candidates – but want to just acknowledge Jo Wrigley who has my vote for Waikato Regional Council. I like her because she doesn’t seem like a politician – but has the knowledge, skills and ability – that’s endearing and trustworthy in my eyes.
I’ve also decided to cover Angela O’Leary separately as she an incumbent (heading into her forth term!!)
Disclaimer / This is all in my opinion … I don’t need you to agree; I just want you to consider and VOTE for the choice that is best for YOU.