Inequalities in the cost of living and addressing mental health issues are key motivators for Taupō resident and Act party candidate David Freeman, 65.
As a low paid worker, Freeman says he can't afford another three years of increasing living costs. He says the cost of petrol, power and GST on essential groceries are all issues he wants to address.
A love of race horses saw him working for a trainer from the age of 11 years. He then joined the Army for 20 years, owned a bar in Palmerston North, and then bought his own truck and was an owner-driver. He has worked for the United Nations as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. Currently Freeman is employed to deliver windscreens and works 50 hours per week.
"I go through to Rotorua once a week and fuel is about 20 cents cheaper per litre, why is that? As a country, we are being charged far too much for electricity. In Australia they don't pay GST on essential groceries - if they can do it why can't we do it here?"
Freeman says Act's policy of cutting GST back to 10 per cent for 12 months is the most effective way to put money back into workers' pockets. He says Labour's policy of raising the minimum wage will place undue stress on employers.
He says Act's policy on mental health is a big leap forward for patients within the mental health system. From the ages of 11 to 16, Freeman was sexually abused and years later presented with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. He was referred to counselling, but when told he would have to wait six to eight weeks to see a counsellor, said "don't worry about it, I will be dead by then".
"The case worker told me to go and see Women's Refuge, and they sorted me out."
Freeman says he would encourage anyone interested in the mental health system to look at Act policy.
"It's about giving patients more say. At the moment patients within the mental health system have very little say."
Speaking to people in the Taupō electorate about issues that are important to them, Freeman says people mainly bring up the economy and employment.
"People are feeling the strain. When the wage subsidies come off it's going to get bad."
Having watched three family members suffer drawn-out deaths due to cancer, Freeman says he will be voting "yes" to the End of Life Choice referendum. Also a Catholic, he views this referendum as an individual choice, away from the influence of the church.
He says he's probably leaning towards "yes" for the referendum on legalising the recreational use of cannabis. He is concerned about research from other countries where the recreational use of cannabis is already allowed that shows the black market is still thriving due to a difference in the potency between what's allowed and what's not.
Freeman says it will be a miracle if he wins, but insists Act is not a one-horse show.
"You look at the top eight positions for Act, they are outstanding candidates."