Last weekend (September 24 and 25) was action-packed and memorable for two main reasons.
Firstly, the crucial Rugby World Cup matches featuring All Blacks (winner) and France and Samoa (winner) and Fiji and the victory of Warriors against the Melbourne Storm at the National Rugby League final in Melbourne after nine years were occasions to celebrate.
Secondly, the weekend witnessed political parties taking their campaign to the next level with candidates putting up hoardings in their constituencies and attending major events such as the Bula Festival (One Tree Hill College, Penrose) and Waitakere Diwali 2011 (Trusts Stadium).
We at the Labour Party enjoyed getting together to put up hoardings in the Pakuranga Constituency in East Auckland – the constituency in which I am privileged to contest in the ensuing general election on November 26.
I believe hoardings have gone up in many other constituencies throughout the country.
We had the pleasure of the presence of John Bullen, President of the Senior Citizens Club of Pakuranga, along with a large number of members of the local community and Labour Party. Their enthusiasm was inspiring and encouraging.
Mr Bullen, who is a Life Member of Labour, is known for his exemplary dedication and commitment, despite impaired vision.
He was keen to place the first hoarding with his own hands in Pakuranga to launch the campaign.
It was a moment of pride and heartfelt gratefulness to this stalwart’s contribution.
I was touched by the warm welcome that I received from the local residents, many of who offered hoarding space in their property.
I was honoured to participate in an interesting debate alongside my colleague Chao-Fu Wu (Labour’s candidate in Botany) with Jamie-Lee Ross of National Party, Lyn Murphy of Act Party and Helen Mudford of New Zealand First.
Maurice Williamson, the sitting MP from Pakuranga was conspicuous by his absence.
A number of issues and topics of public interest were debated.
Many people were stunned to hear Ms Mudford arguing against improving bilateral trade with China and India.
I look forward to the pleasure of meeting the people of Pakuranga in the coming weeks to understand their concerns and wishes and work towards addressing them.