"Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians."

Phillipa Judge of the Whangarei branch of the National Council of Women echoed the words of Charles de Gaulle as she welcomed 11 of the Northland candidates to the "Meet the Candidates" hotseat yesterday.

Ms Judge reminded the candidates, and the audience of about 60 people who had filed into the May Bain Room at the Central Library, that the most important political office was still that of the private citizen.

"If we don't take an interest in politics, it doesn't mean it won't take an interest in us," she said.


Candidates had just four minutes to declare their two main priorities for their electorates and their proposals for action.

The candidates in attendance were Kelly Ellis (Labour, Whangarei), Chris Leitch (Democrats for Social Credit, Whangarei), Paul Doherty (Greens, Whangarei), Pita Paraone (NZ First), Dr Shane Reti (National, Whangarei), David Currin (Internet Party, Whangarei), Clinton Dearlove (Independent, Te Tai Tokerau), Robin Grieve (Act), Les King (Focus NZ, Whangarei), Kelvin Davis (Labour, Te Tai Tokerau) and Rev Te Hira Paenga (Maori Party, Te Tai Tokerau).

Candidate nominations opened yesterday with all candidates having until noon on Tuesday, August 26, to put their names on the list.

*The full and final list of candidates will be available on www.elections.org.nz on Wednesday, August 27.