On August 16th, John Key (affectionately dubbed “Donkey”) was given the title Sir, when knighted for his “services to our country”. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who gagged on my morning coffee after seeing this photo.
I calmed down slightly when I read “Key acknowledged the social issues that became more apparent under National”. Not exactly an admission that his policies had exacerbated the inequality in New Zealand – but it was something. Anyway this isn’t about my loathing for National and all they stand for … it’s about being grown up and finding understanding or common ground with their local MP / candidate for the 2017 election, Tim MacIndoe.
Tim MacIndoe has been Hamilton West MP since 2008, under the National party government of New Zealand. He has held various roles, but is currently Minister of Customs, Associate Minister of Education, and Associate Minister of Transport. I am going to tip my proverbial hat to acknowledge this involvement in our community. He is everywhere and always has a smile.
The conversation started slightly awkwardly, as we were taking our seats. It went something like this. (Me) “I’m not a fan of the National party” (huge understatement). (Him) “I know, I heard you on the radio this morning”… (Me)”Oh.”
Mild mortification aside – I eased into the interview further. “Why would we vote for National, when you don’t seem to care about people or the environment?”. (Get straight to the point why don’t you?).
The answer… well, a politicians one – spinning the ways that they do in fact care, and he seemed genuinely pained to be (passively aggressively) accused of putting economic growth ahead of wellbeing. While, I glazed over for a little bit at the spin, I did want to share a few points that stood out for me from that conversation.
- Every single politician wants the best for New Zealanders. Tim is genuinely a nice guy – likeable and even if you disagree with his views, it would be a stretch to call him a people hating environment destroyer. The difference between blue and red (or other variations) is what they focus on to achieve well-being.
- Did you know about the BlueGreens? I didn’t. Tim seemed pleased to tell me this advisory group (of which he is a member) has the biggest membership of all of the “pet project” National groups… which is cool. He was also involved with the GlobeNZ report which was a cross-party initiative to look at how we can address climate change.
- On Kelli from the Tron that morning, I had expressed my concern about the ratepayer bearing the costs of developing Peacockes. He vehemently disagreed with (with the PWC report calling it “economically unfeasible”) and explained that developer contributions would cover the costs. He believes development at Peacockes will rejuvenate suburbs like Bader and Melville. This is an issue he has worked hard on progressing – this is an issue I’m going to look more into after the elections, because we need to consider the full picture.
- Tim is Associate Minister for Education – who recently started demolishing parts of Richmond school in Bader. Their covert – not at all above board action puts him in a difficult spot – because as Hamilton West MP – he is also expected to champion issues locally – and there are many wondering why we would sit on this “ghost school” for 13 years and then demolish it suddenly when we could use it. He did say that they will be holding on until November before a decision is made (that’s if they’re making the decisions mind you). Stay tuned.
- National, is the party that builds big roads. He did say he would love to see “fast, electric, efficient” train services, particularly to open up to Ruakura inland port but the numbers have to stack up. So, I guess they’ll just build roads until they work that out.
So, was there a point to the conversation? – I’m clearly not going to be converted… Yes lots, it reminded me that politics aside – politicians are (generally) good people – even blue coats.
I’ve openly admitted I want a change of government in 2017 but I’ve got to concede this… If you want a candidate who is already actively working on the bigger challenges we face in Hamilton … Tim’s your man. He is up to speed with the Peacockes development, Ruakura inland port, regional infrastructure and of course has networks with different community groups. His contribution can’t be ignored, and his knowledge is valuable. But… are they the things you want us to be focussing on?