It's been a horror week for National, with Dirty Politics, Judith Collins all but disgraced and unfriendly minor parties threatening to make a difference. But Labour are nowhere near a smooth ride, with abysmal polling and their leader apologising for being a man. The Wairarapa Times-Age asked our candidates if they are feeling the ripples.
By Nathan Crombie
Labour Party candidate for Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty refuses to comment on the tumultuous weekend for the National Government that climaxed Saturday with the forced resignation of Justice Minister Judith Collins from Cabinet.
"All I'm doing is focusing on winning Wairarapa and I'll leave those at the national level to comment," he said. "I just want to talk about the issues that matter here."
Mr McAnulty said he had aimed to canvass 10,000 people but already had surpassed his target by 2000, after a sustained campaign of door-knocking and phone calls.
He and his team had pitched "two ticks for Labour" but were overwhelmed by the number of prospective voters who had promised to vote for him as a candidate while choosing National as a party vote.
"That's not a message we've been pushing, that's a conclusion that people have come to themselves.
They obviously understand that MMP can give them that.
"We've contacted 12,000 people now, so we do have a pretty good feel of people's intentions out there, and that's why we believe we have a genuine chance to win the seat."
Mr McAnulty said voters also said they preferred him as a candidate vote, as National Party candidate Alistair Scott and NZ First candidate Ron Mark were on their respective party lists, while he had forsaken party list ranking.
"A lot of people have said to me they respect the fact I say I want to be Wairarapa MP and I back that up by not standing on the party list. There's only one way I'm going to get in.
"I'm trying to prove my commitment to the region and that I am standing for the right reasons, and I don't just look upon Wairarapa as a way to get in to Parliament."
Mr McAnulty was yesterday sealing envelopes with 16,000 letters, which each bore his handwritten signature. He said the task took 25 hours to complete.
The letters would be delivered over the final weeks of his campaign, he said, during which he also was aiming to canvass 3000 more prospective voters through calls and visits.
By Cherie Taylor
Wairarapa National Party candidate Alastair Scott says it's policies and a party's track record voters are interested in - not scandals.
It's been a scandalous weekend for the National Party culminating with the resignation of Minister of Justice Judith Collins, but Mr Scott is remaining focused on the task ahead; to gain the electorate and party vote.
"It's my job to ensure the Prime Minister is re-elected and has experienced, committed people as electorate MPs in his team. I have the experience and the background and commitment to make a difference for the Wairarapa," he said.
Leaks and scandals don't put him off his goal and many people were getting tired of hearing them, Mr Scott said.
"Distractions do not alter the task that I have which is to ensure people who support John Key recognise the achievement of the National Government and that we are not derailed by a mixed bag of dysfunction from the far left ... scandals are a distraction that the voter has little time for. People are far more interested in the policies and track record of the parties."
As for how well his party is doing, a change of government would be a step backwards for this country, he said.
"Labour's poor showing when added to the Green vote and others could create a coalition of parties that can not agree on policy. They could add up to 50 per cent, and that would be a step backwards for New Zealand."
As for now, it's about campaigning on the election trail as usual, he said.
"More of the same hard work; meeting lots of people and talking about the success New Zealand has achieved under John Key's National Government."
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