In two months we cast a vote to decide who will lead our country for the next three years. Will blue prevail with a stable government? or will we find the minor parties scrape together enough seats to form ‘some sort of’ coalition?… what colour would that be? Brown?… Right now, according to the polls we’re heading towards another National led government. However, based on what we’ve seen internationally in the last year it’s anyone’s game until election day. At the moment, hopeful candidates will have two, well respected and nice… long standing MP’s to unseat. David Bennett has been MP for Hamilton East since 2005 and holds the roles of Minister for Food Safety, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, and Minister for Racing under the current National led government. West of the river Tim MacIndoe has held the seat since 2008 and is currently Minister of Customs, Associate Minister of Transport and Associate Minister of Education.
Hoping to change the colour of Hamilton’s political flag, we’ve got a relatively new field of candidates. In the red corner, vying for Hamilton East, the Labour party’s Jamie Strange has reasonably good name recognition from previous (unsuccessful) election campaigns (he has run for Hamilton city council 2013 and in the Taupo electorate 2014). Jamie is a teacher, and former church minister painted as the family man. On the West… not quite so sunny. After Sue Moroney stood down from running in this year’s election due to being bumped down the party list; it appears the Hamilton West seat was hard to fill; or Labour’s just not particularly interested in Hamilton – with a late coming announcement that an Aucklander, ranking 65 on the Labour party list will contest the seat. Dr Gaurav Sharma, has great credentials for health and dare I say it… appeal for the ethnic community but he really is coming in as an underdog. The Greens got in early and are already out door knocking; announcing political new comers Sam Taylor for the East and Jo Wrigley for West – both strong social justice advocates. In other minor parties; anti-establishment – The Opportunities party, has announced they are standing a candidate in the West; Donna Pokere-Phillips, previously an Alliance candidate (1999). They haven’t yet made mention of Hamilton East. Waving a yellow flag in Hamilton East is James McDowall for the Act party. We’re still to find out if New Zealand First will have a candidate run in Hamilton; as Barbara Stewart a list MP will not be standing for re-election. Mana and Maori haven’t announced Hamilton city candidates to date.
It’s fair to say apart from a smattering of billboards going up on prominent fences around town, we haven’t seen much action yet … I hope that will change… we deserve a fight for our vote. What would I personally like to see? Hamiltonian’s asking incumbents the hard questions – 9 years is plenty of time for National to make an impact in the areas they want to change. I’d like to see them be held accountable. I think given they are holding portfolios now, I’d also like to know how much time they can spend on constituent issues. In terms of potential newcomers – will they have the clout to really make an impact? What do they bring to the table that we currently don’t have with our experienced National MP’s. I have no doubt that most people’s electorate vote mirrors their party vote – and in Hamilton being a bellwether seat it swings, which is why it’s so interesting to watch… will you be following it too?