The Northern Advocate and NZME Northland digital and radio platforms, are giving you, the voters, a chance to hear why the candidates standing deserve your vote on October 17.
Northern Advocate reporter Imran Ali and The Hits Northland day announcer Charmaine Soljak have interviewed candidates from the three Northland electorates – Whangārei, Northland and Te Tai Tokerau.
We caught them on video, too, so head to thenorthernadvocate.co.nz and thehits.co.nz to read about the candidates, listen and watch what they have to say.
The Hits Northland, The Northern Advocate, and the Northland Age will introduce you to the candidates, so you can read, watch and hear about what they've had to say, and be well informed before you cast your vote.
Today we look at the first three candidates in the Whangārei electorate, with the rest of the candidates from the electorate appearing tomorrow and on Wednesday.
Here's what we asked them:
- •What is the biggest single issue facing your electorate and how would you deal with it?
- •What should be done to help the country recover in a Post Covid world?<p></p>
- •Do you support moving the Port of Auckland's work to Northport at Marsden Pt and why/why not?<p></p>
- •Do you support 3 district councils and one regional council for Northland or do you think they should be amalgamated?<p></p>
- •Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?<p></p>
- •What needs to be done to address the chronic affordable housing shortage and inequality within Northland?<p></p>
- •What is your position on allowing or prohibiting the release of genetically modified organisms and their products into New Zealand's environment?<p></p>
- •What needs to be done to overcome NZ's methamphetamine scourge?
Massive spending to rebuild infrastructure will enable job creation, address years of neglect, and put Whangārei at the heart of central government.
Labour candidate for Whangārei, Emily Henderson, has laid out her plans this election which also includes a push to bring the Ports of Auckland to Northport and the Navy base and dry dock home to her electorate.
The Whangārei lawyer is up against incumbent, National's Dr Shane Reti, and eight others, and said the electorate needed an MP who really argued for changes to turn around years of neglect and deprivation.
Infrastructure such as the Whangārei Hospital, she said, was really run down and that the investment Labour coalition government had put in should keep going.
To hear the Hits host Charmaine Soljak's interview click here
"We need someone to keep putting it out there that Whangārei is actually a seriously deprived region. Ditto for our schools, ditto for our mental health services, ditto for our housing which is really in a bad way."
Post-Covid, she said, the wage subsidy should be supplemented by job training and free apprenticeships for two years for young people as well as those having to move out of industries.
"We make our jobs do double duty. We invest in our country's infrastructure and we invest in our people keeping us moving for the future."
Just a portion of Auckland Port work would get Whangārei humming again, she said.
A range of housing initiatives such as the ability to build flat-pack little houses and the relaxation of resource management rules around putting clusters of housing on to land for papakainga excites her.
"We need to build houses— it's as simple as that. Housing is at the root of poverty. That's why we've got in our lower-decile schools 50 to 70 per cent transients per annum among some of our kids because their mums and dads are living in garages or they're couch surfing."
Henderson said Labour's investment in state and transitional houses was the most major investment in that area since the 70s.
Local councils operating as local entities is fine, she says, but she thinks the interface between them and the government was lacking.
As someone with a PhD, she tends to listen to evidence and what she knows about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) worries her.
"We have lowered our borders down, we have slackened off our controls, and we've seen terrible things enter as a result. The almighty dollar is not everything," Henderson said.
"Let us get our people out of poverty and let us give them reasons to be involved in society and to have good jobs as ways to fight the meth scourge.
"There's mana in mahi. I am a Family Court lawyer. I have seen first hand what meth does to the whānau I work with and I see that as coming from a poverty of hopelessness.
"You are talking intergenerational unemployment and people who have just not seen themselves as having a stake in society."
She acknowledged her mum and director of Miriam Centre, Patsy Henderson-Watt, and dad, renowned Whangārei lawyer Stuart Henderson, as the strongest influences on her.
"As kids— there are six of us — we were never given the feeling that there wasn't anything we couldn't do but also we were given the strong, clear feeling that you have a responsibility to pick up the challenge to defend other people and to protect other people and they are the strongest influence in my life."