Kapi-Mana News : June 21st 2011
50 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JUNE 21, 2011 OPINION/NEWS 3825326 See next week's Kapi-Mana News for more information DIGITAL EDITION COMING SOON! ONLINE • Regular news updates during week • Read complete latest edition online • Read back issues online • Interact with us via Facebook Greens snuggle up to Labour in Ohariu TALKING POLITICS GORDON CAMPBELL All things considered, Greens MP Gareth Hughes would be happy to see Labour's Charles Chauvel win the Ohariu electorate seat from United Future leader Peter Dunne. I think Charles is a great guy, and a good MP. I've been in touch with him, saying I'm not contesting the candidate vote. I've been inviting him to events that I've been hosting in the elec- torate. We've got a good relation- ship.'' Of late, Hughes has been getting lots'' of emails urging him to drop out of the electorate race altogether. Hughes won't go that far, but will be telling people to cast only their party vote for the Greens. Such deals -- and they're happening on both sides of the pol- itical divide -- are turning Ohariu into a fascinating marginal seat at the November election. Dunne has a 1000-vote majority which would dissolve if even half the people who voted for Hughes last time switched to Chauvel. Similarly, National advised its supporters last time to vote for Dunne. Even so, 10,000 voters in 2008 still supported National can- didate Katrina Shanks. There is no sign yet whether National will endorse Dunne again. Right now, Hughes points out laconically, the IPredict betting website rates Dunne as having a 50/50 chance of being re-elected. Does Hughes find it hard to ask people for the party vote while tell- ing them that he's not interested in being their local representative? The way I look at it, this is a true MMP position I'm taking. I want to represent issues in Parlia- ment, national issues. I don't want to just focus on geographic issues. Some people do a good job of that. So I'm going out there asking for the party vote so that I can rep- resent people across the country on transport issues, digital issues, housing issues.'' Right. That could be taken to mean he's got more important things to worry about than doing the donkey work for his constitu- ents. No, no, he insists. It's not more important, it's dif- ferent. It's a benefit of our electoral system that both electorate and national issues get represented in Parliament.'' On average, the Ohariu elector- ate is white, wealthy and reason- ably young. That's not quite how Hughes sees it. Wealthy suburbs like Khandal- lah, he points out, co-exist with Newlands. Johnsonville enjoys good public transport, while Newlands has almost none. When not criticising the alleged folly of the Transmission Gully project, Hughes is an advocate for a light rail system that would no longer drop commuters at the rail- way station at the edge of town, but would carry them through the CBD, and beyond. It might seem counter-intuitive to campaign for a light rail link in a different electorate. But the main beneficiaries would be the people of Ohariu.'' Come November, Hughes expects Dunne will be campaigning again as the moderating brake on a National Government. Yet as a single member, I don't think he has much influence. As Revenue Minister, he's delivered the Government's tax policies. I haven't seen him speak against government policy.'' So the image of Mr Reasonable or Mr Sensible may not have much substance? No. I think people in the elector- ate are getting sick of him, because it is essentially Mr Bland, and Mr Whichever Way the Wind Blows.'' Gordon Campbell is an experienced political journalist and columnist who has written for The Listener and Scoop. Fully grown: Cannons Creek School pupils Elizabeth Uaisimeni Perekena, 9, and Faafouina Afamasaga, 10, celebrate the end of a decade-long school planting project in Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve. ''Watch your trees grow'' was begun in 2001 by nature groups Keep Porirua Beautiful and Friends of Maara Roa. Five Porirua East schools -- Cannons Creek, Glenview, Maraeroa, Russell and Windley -- have spent a decade tending to riverside plots in the reserve. The 10-year timeframe was planned to ensure pupils saw their trees grow. In 2004 Friends of Maara Roa presented each school with a carved pou to mark their plots. Pupils from all schools gathered on June 10 to receive plaques from mayor Nick Leggett, plant a final set of trees, and tuck in to a barbecue lunch. -- Andrea O'Neil Curtains given away By KRIS DANDO Nearly 100 households took advan- tage of the free curtains offered by the Sustainability Trust last week. Representatives from the trust's curtain bank, normally based in Wellington, spent three days at the Fanau Centre, taking measure- ments and giving out drapes to people on low incomes who could not afford to buy them. A few donations were also received, Erika Grant from the trust said. People are really grateful that we're here, it's nice to be thank ed all day. Overall, it's been really successful and I can't see why we won't have more [in Porirua].'' The curtain bank opened in July last year and is available to anyone in the region. The Sustainability Trust gave out 275 pairs of curtains last year often to families who had sheets hanging up over windows or even nothing at all. The Fanau Centre provided a handyman, free of charge, to help hang the curtains.
June 14th 2011
June 28th 2011