Signs of looming election obvious

By Mark Dawson

Add a comment
Mark Dawson, Editor of Wanganui Chronicle
Mark Dawson, Editor of Wanganui Chronicle

It's nice to be popular ... and Wanganui (or maybe that should be Whanganui) has rarely been this popular.

There must be an election on!

That long-hoped-for tourist influx has finally arrived in the form of a swath of politicians, pockets stuffed with promises and pledges and all eager to entice your vote.

And it's likely to get worse as September 20 draws nearer.

In a particular order ... Paula Bennett, David Clendon, David Cunliffe, Catherine Delahunty, Steven Joyce, Melissa Lee, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson, Anne Tolley, Phil Twyford, Megan Woods and many more MPs have rolled into town (and apologies for those I've missed out*).

The talk has mainly been general - we've waited largely in vain for something significant for Wanganui and other parts of regional New Zealand where the struggle is a little harder.

The National Party is putting money into rural roads (though it may take some out through the New Zealand Transport Agency's FAR funding reductions) and believes the economic upswing will filter down our way, while oil and gas could also provide a boost.

Labour aims to put money into regional polytechs, make the government adopt a buy-local policy and will encourage immigrants to come and bolster our shrinking ratepayer base (though having jobs here would seem to be a necessary first step before any new arrivals).

With National minister Chester Borrows defending a 5000-vote majority and his party looking rosy in the polls, it's a surprise to see so many blue suits stepping out on Victoria Ave.

A skilled reader of the political tea leaves might surmise that the Whanganui seat is closer than people first thought, and that popular Deputy Mayor Hamish McDouall is in with a chance for Labour.

Of course, the waters got muddied this week with Nancy Tuaine standing for Maori, and possibly taking away votes from Labour that they would have gained from the absence of a Green Party candidate.

The presence of Act hardy annual Alan Davidson is unlikely to make too much of a dint in Mr Borrows' support.

Still, we should welcome all our visitors of whatever political hue and listen to what they have to say.

And then, of course, we should all go out and vote ...

*Oops, I knew I'd missed someone.

In the interests of political neutrality, that list should probably have included Laila Harre of the Internet Party in Wanganui last week - though she's a former MP rather than a current one.

The, at times, barely credible Internet-Mana alliance has provided an entertaining if occasionally preposterous election sideshow ... until now. This week it showed a darker side with the an amped-up crowd's abuse of John Key. Its one redeeming feature may be its attempts to engage a young and largely disinterested block of the population in politics and, specifically, in this election. If it can do that, it may wash away the stain of this week's distressing footage.

- Wanganui Chronicle

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Nov 2014 23:06:54 Processing Time: 413ms