Jacinda Ardern is the Labour Party candidate for Auckland Central.
What do you think are the three greatest problems New Zealanders are facing at the moment?
Lack of affordable housing, low wages and not enough jobs, and the impact of rising inequality.
What have you done thus far to help?
We have a really fantastic set of ideas to tackle these issues. Not only will we make sure we return to surplus quickly, we will introduce a capital gains tax and build 100,000 houses to tackle the housing crisis, lift the minimum wage and develop regional economic development plans to boost jobs across the country, and put more support around families through things like our Best Start package, which will assist 50,000 children living in poverty.
What do you intend to do as an MP to help?
As spokesperson for Labour for Children, Police, Corrections, and Arts Culture and Heritage, I am lucky enough to have a chance to develop policy and ideas that will make a genuine difference in people’s lives, especially on behalf of children. As someone who lives locally and works across Auckland Central, I will continue to do everything I can go represent the local needs of this community on issues like housing, transport, and the environment. At a personal level, I also hope to be in a position after the election (but in Government this time!) to continue to pursue adoption law reform, which we still haven’t finished!
Why should our readers give you their party vote?
We are a party that puts people first, and always have been. That’s something that makes me really proud of Labour. Whether its pursuing issues of social justice like civil unions, marriage equality, adoption law reform, or developing progressive policies that mean we’re all better off, with things like KiwiSaver, working for families, or KiwiBuild. We are constantly looking for ways to make people’s lives better, and to make politics a more positive force in New Zealand.
What do you believe are the biggest issues specifically facing the GLBT community?
For one I don’t think we can assume that every battle has been won. There’s the constant everyday discrimination that we have to keep standing up to, and especially amongst young people. I worry about what the Youth Heath Surveys are telling us about our queer and questioning youth, and want to make sure that we pay particular attention to ensure they have the support they need in the most vulnerable period of adolescence.
What have you done thus far to address these?
As an opposition MP, I have done what I can to support Rainbow Youth on this issue, and Labour also wants to put more investment into groups like youth health centers as a way of supporting young people with proper counseling, support, and whatever other needs they may have.
What would be your message to the New Zealanders so disillusioned by politics that they are not planning to vote this election?
I can understand why people feel that way – but as Labour politicians we have to do things differently, and we will. We have a set of really positive ideas that I absolutely believe will make a difference. But if people choose not to vote they aren’t really protesting, they’re handing the decision over to someone else. I don’t think anyone should surrender like that.
Please complete the following sentences:
– When I leave politics I would like my political career to be remembered for… lifting the well being of children. And hopefully being scandal free!
– Winston Peters is… a resident in Auckland Central, and therefore a voter. I will leave it there.
– To be a great Prime Minister you need to have… integrity.
– Kim Dot Com is… controversial.
– Nice guys finish… filling in their enrollment forms, and vote. See what I did there?
– New Zealand is… a wonderful place, but one we can make even better.