The East Coast runs in my veins and serving our people and our place is what drives me every single day.
I’ve lived in almost every corner of this electorate, from the West in Paengaroa, to the centre in Edgecumbe and Whakatāne, to the East in Te Karaka and Gisborne.
Before I became an MP I managed a large agriculture and horticulture portfolio here in the East Coast that included kiwifruit, dairy farms, forestry sites and apiculture. Creating decent jobs feeding our communities from the land has always been a passion of mine.
My 10 years experience as an advocate, a lawyer and in the primary sector here in the East Coast has taught me how to get things done in Parliament.
That ability has been recognised by our leadership, giving me the opportunity to serve our electorate as the Chair of Labour's Rural caucus, the Deputy Chair for the Primary Production select committee and the Government's Junior Whip.
It has been the biggest privilege to be a staunch advocate for the East Coast in Parliament over the past three years under the leadership of PM Jacinda Ardern. With your support I will continue to be a strong and tireless voice for our place, the Mighty East Coast.
Q1 - The East Coast is my home, and when I decided to run for Parliament in 2017, it was grounded in wanting to make a positive difference to this region, and in turn the nation as a whole. The East Coast has a rich history and is full of potential, but it is over-represented in too many statistics. I knew our place had the ability to thrive but needed the backing of a supportive Government to do so. I am a staunch advocate for the East Coast, delivering the region a long awaited investment. Since entering Parliament in 2017, I have been relentless in my work to deliver results for the people of the East Coast, and I have made significant gains. We’ve seen projects like the Gisborne Airport redevelopment get underway, and same with the Ōpōtiki Harbour investment - but we still have more to do.
I have dedicated my life to advocating for the underdog because I know what it is like to have people around tables making decisions for you, who do so without understanding your community, your values or your worth. I want to continue to push hard for the people in the East Coast and start with the very real issues that are facing us. From failing infrastructure, to mental health, and decent jobs. These are issues that impact the community as a whole.
We have the chance to turn a corner, to go even further, to have an even bigger impact. I’m running for election because I want to create a just place for all of us to call home; I want to pull down barriers in the hope that everyone here can live a good life.
Q2 - A thriving community is one that looks after its people and its place. People need decent and fulfilling work. Our children need fit-for-purpose school and community buildings and access to quality education. Our elderly need warm, dry homes.
I will continue to push for the tools and investment we need to thrive. We are committed to boosting investment in health and professional training and development to make sure our people are healthy and able to find decent work. I will continue to advocate for more investment in significant infrastructure projects, including roads and community buildings, creating work, and improving safety and wellbeing. Finally, we need to boost resources to promote and support our regions' exporters. We rely on our primary sector, which in turn relies on a strong export industry.
Growing up there, I saw first hand the realities that lay behind the statistics. I saw how easy it was for people’s lives to become much harder; how significant having a decent job could be to the course of someone’s life. There is so much potential in the East Coast and it’s been too low on the priority list for too long.
Q3 – The community and voluntary sector is an important part of our democracy. It is a place where ordinary citizens can develop the organisations that create our rich and diverse civil society.
We’re supporting those who support so many others by getting behind our incredible community organisations that take care of New Zealanders, and save lives. This includes significant funding increases to target family violence, elder abuse, homelessness and sexual violence. During the COVID-19 lockdown, this Government worked hard to put together a $27 million package for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services.
Our small and medium NGO service providers are often on the front lines of community support and it is important that they are given the tools to flourish. Labour has a proven track record of working cooperatively with the NGO sector to enable them to provide the best service possible, while also recognising that local solutions and local leadership best fit local issues.