As part of NZ Catholic’s coverage of the 2017 General Election, eight political parties were invited to submit 300-word candidate statements explaining why you, our readers, should give your party vote to their particular party. The parties we sent the invitation to either have Members of Parliament or former MPs as candidates in the election.

Each party was asked to submit a statement by a candidate who is Catholic or of another Christian denomination. But, in the interests of democracy, the invitation did not exclude statements from candidates who have other religious affiliations, or none.

NZ Catholic received six replies. Parties were informed that a 300-word limit would be strictly enforced. The order of the statements was selected at random.

  Romy Udanga                                            Party: Labour                                 Electorate: North Shore                           Party List Position: 47

I believe in human dignity and that governments are created to preserve that God-given dignity. As such, people must be put in the front and centre of civil society — the foundation for social justice.

While working with the Catholic Church, especially in the five years when I served on Bishop Patrick Dunn’s Auckland Diocesan Pastoral Council, I was able to advocate for social justice, and worked alongside ecumenical and inter-faith communities to try and achieve fairness for our brothers and sisters whom we were entrusted to keep.

Feed the hungry, we were asked. Shelter the homeless, we were told. Clothe the naked, we were commanded. But despite our advocacy, homelessness continues to grow, and poverty continues to spread: 40,000 homeless and 300,000 children in poverty are numbers that we should not be proud of.

So I chose to stand with Labour because Labour puts people in the front and centre of its policies.

Labour’s vision is for all New Zealanders to have a warm, dry home and a fair shot at owning a place of their own; that families won’t be homeless or in poverty; that people will be able to get the healthcare they need, when they need it; that every learner, young or old, will have access to free education so that they can be equipped to “fish on their own”; that our cities will be safe and have 21st century transport; and that our environment will live up to our clean, green reputation.

We can achieve these things by choosing our priorities and making wise investments. We can make New Zealand the best country in the world to live in.

This election we have a chance to build a better, fairer New Zealand for all of us.

Let’s do this!

Kym Koloni    Party: NZ First

Electorate: Northcote Party List Position: 38

I stand as a candidate for NZ First out of frustration that our beautiful country is changing dramatically before my eyes.

 

In the past 30 years we have seen the gap grow between rich and poor, and now we have two distinct groups of people — those who own their own homes, and those who don’t. Since 2008, the population of New Zealand has grown to 4.8 million — an increase of 600,000 people.

We have renters struggling to afford food as most of their income is paying landlords. We have record homeless sleeping on the streets, in cars and garages.

We have “ghost” houses sitting empty while foreign owners wait for a tax-free capital gain.

Our health system is struggling with the influx of people seeking medical assistance. We have the highest rate of suicide in the OECD.

Our infrastructure is pushed to the limits.

Winston Peters is the only leader who has alerted us to these problems, years before they had reached today’s crisis.

To address some of these problems, NZ First will: Ensure our country’s assets and ownership remain in our control- not in the control of foreign owners; Limit immigration to 10,000 — those with skill sets we need; Commit our country to one law for all where character and common cause replace colour and separate interests; Fully fund Housing NZ for much more state housing; Three free doctor visits and one eye check every year for Super Gold Card holders; Fully fund health services, improve mental health provision, and revise ACC; Remove GST from land rates, fresh produce and basic food items; Clean up our waterways without water taxes.

The second great commandment instructs us to “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

NZ First policy resonates with me as a Christian.

Vote for Common Sense — Party Vote NZ First.

 

 Marama Fox &Te Ururoa Flavell                  Party: Māori                                      Electorate: Fox: Ikaroa-Rāwhiti;                                         Flavell: Waiariki                            Party List Position: Fox: 1; Flavell: 2

The Māori Party was born of the aspirations of tangata whenua so we could create an independent Māori voice in Parliament.  We believe that the protection and preservation of whakapapa/mana tūpuna is fundamental to whānau wellbeing. Whānau decide on the sanctity of whakapapa and our Whānau Ora policies promote whānau self-determination and self-reliance.

Our key platform is kotahitanga, rangatiratanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi where our cultural tapestry celebrates Mana Māori; Mana Motuhake and embraces the diversity of all in this land.

We will advance the aspirations of all peoples in Aotearoa, underpinned by values of Te Ao Māori including manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, wairuatanga, mana whenua, kaitiakitanga and te reo Māori.

We support policy that fosters cohesiveness between cultures while respecting Māori as tangata whenua, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and acknowledging the mana and mātauranga of immigrants.

Ensuring all children have a good start in life is a key priority. Tamariki are our past, present and future and their right to wellness includes nutritious food, a dry, safe and warm home and connection to their cultural heritage.

We support initiatives, with input by iwi, hapū and whānau, which seek to restore the mana and wellbeing of our taiao, such as our waterways.

The Māori Party believes in a Living Wage and excellent employment conditions for all workers, equitable pay and broadening the eligibility for paid parental leave.

Our vision is oranga Māori, oranga Aotearoa.  Whānau is central. We are committed to a loving, caring and supportive society for all and an equitable, sustainable health system.

 

 Mojo Mathers                                             Party: Green                                      Electorate: Rangitata                                Party List Position: 9

This is a crucial election for New Zealand. National’s policies have put our children and our environment at serious risk and will continue to do so.

When one-in-four of our kids grow up in poverty, when we are failing to reduce our carbon pollution, and when a majority of our rivers are now unsafe to swim in, something is seriously wrong with the New Zealand we love.

As a Christian, I don’t believe it has to be this way.

I believe in the Christianity that teaches love and compassion towards each other, especially for our most vulnerable. I believe in the Christianity that demands we live with truth and justice between one another, not growing inequality.

Finally, I believe in the Christianity that teaches an awe and deep respect for the natural world — a faith that says tread sacredly through nature because God walked here first, incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.

I’m asking you for your Party Vote this September so that we can restore the New Zealand we love. We can have a healthy environment, a fairer society, and a cleaner economy.

The Green Party will restore our rivers so they are safe to swim in again. We are the only party committed to a clean, carbonneutral economy by 2050 — and we have a plan to get there, creating good jobs in the solar energy and energy efficient building sectors.

To help end poverty, we will increase all benefits by 20 percent, boost Working for Families, and raise the minimum wage.

If you love Aotearoa too, make sure you’re on the roll, make sure you vote this September, and please Party Vote Green for a country we can all love and be proud of.

Damian Light                                           Party: UnitedFuture                         Electorate: Botany                                   Party List Position: 1

UnitedFuture is a centrist party that rejects the extremes of the right and left.

We believe that all people should be able to be the very best they can be. This human flourishing is best done in a context of a strong and healthy civil society where communities and families are actively supported and encouraged.

Human beings were not meant to be isolated from each other.

An overemphasis on consumerism at the expense of human relationships is unhealthy for our communities, the country and ultimately the planet.

UnitedFuture wants to see the environment cared for on behalf of this and future generations. Climate Change demands an active response from government and communities.

We believe that equality of opportunity is very important — regardless of ethnic, cultural or economic background. Accordingly we support a modern public health and education system that ensures good quality education and healthcare for all New Zealanders.

UnitedFuture also believes that we are a nation built on migration. Consequently we need to be a generous and welcoming nation. These values of hospitality are at the heart of our approach to migrants and refugees.

As a party based on these enduring values we will not pander to prejudices or racism to win short term popularity.

In summary, we want to see a strong economy, protected environment and a fair society.

These should be seen as supporting each other — not being mutually exclusive. If you’re concerned about the growing inequalities in our society, if you believe in caring for the environment, and want to maintain a strong economy that will create meaningful jobs, then do consider giving your party vote to UnitedFuture at this election. www. unitedfuture.org.nz 

  Chris Finlayson                                    Party: National                               Electorate: Rongotai                               Party List Position: 9

 

 

National has worked hard over the past nine years to deliver a growing economy.

But a nation is nothing without its people and that’s why we’re helping families get ahead at the same time.

 

Evidence of this came in the form of the $2 billion a year Family Incomes Package announced as part of Budget 2017.

 

The package is carefully designed to especially help low and middle income earners with young families and higher housing costs.

 

This is possible only because we have a strong, growing economy, backed by the National-led Government’s sensible economic programme.

Around 1.3 million families will benefit by, on average, $26 a week. And flow-on effects of the package will benefit three-quarters of a million superannuitants.

The measures in this Budget are expected to lift 20,000 households above the threshold for severe housing stress, and reduce the number of children living in families receiving less than half of the median income by around 50,000. This will reduce child poverty in New Zealand by 30 per cent.

This package, along with previous tax cuts and family support, will go a long way to ensuring our children grow up in a safe and comfortable environment.

However, there are some families who need more help and we are determined to provide it.

The advantage of a strong economy is that it gives us opportunities that many other countries don’t have. We are using those opportunities to dig into the causes of entrenched disadvantage in ways that have not been done before.

In the next Parliamentary term we want to keep stepping up, by giving Kiwis the tools and support to make better lives for themselves through education, job opportunities and using the services this Government has put in place.

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