As we come to the end of the campaign period, and the General Election looms closer many people have asked me what a day on the campaign trail looks like.
So, here is a sneak peek.
My day usually starts at about 6 am. If I do not have a train station to visit, I spend a few hours responding to emails, questions via social media or preparing for a candidate debate. On days I visit train stations, I stand outside with a volunteer or two for a couple of hours, hand out flyers and chat with locals. Discussing policy detail before my morning coffee is a skill that I have had to hone!
The day’s course
After a quick breakfast, I head off to the day’s events – school visits, political panels, community group visits or meetings with spokespeople or the Leader if she is in the electorate. Afternoons are spent door knocking, talking to voters outside schools and supermarkets. Evenings are increasingly spent at candidate debates, community events or phone canvassing (calling voters and having a chat about the issues that matter to them as we head into an election).
It is all about being accessible, finding out what is important to people and sharing Labour’s vision and policies with them. I believe in doing that by running a grassroots campaign, and getting out to where the voters are.
The Maungakiekie Electorate
If you live in Onehunga, One Tree Hill, Ellerslie, Penrose, Mt Wellington, Panmure or Tāmaki, you probably live in the Maungakiekie electorate.
If so, I am your Labour candidate.
Maungakiekie is an extremely diverse electorate. Almost half the electorate is either Asian or Pasifika. It’s a young electorate. Almost half the electorate is aged between 20 and 49. Just over a third of all households own their home, down from about half in 2007. One in 16 households stated in 2013 that they had no source of heating.
Housing crisis dominates
The housing crisis is the main issue for my people in this Electorate. It affects many people across the electorate.
My generation is locked out of home ownership. Many are struggling to find warm, dry rentals that they can afford. Homelessness has increased and recently a homeless man, Keith Johnson, died on a park bench in Onehunga.
This electorate also has a large number of young people who are not employed, in school or training. Crime is increasing, but groups that have been working successfully to reduce youth reoffending have shut due to lack of funding and local community police stations are also being shut down.
Government ignores advise
Point England, the largest public reserve on the Eastern side of the electorate, will be carved up for housing despite significant local opposition.
There was a viable alternative that would save the reserve, deliver more housing and address historical grievances. Sadly, it was never considered by the government. On the other side of the electorate, the East West Link – one of the most expensive roading projects – is being pushed through despite local opposition a and lack of evidence that it will actually benefit local communities.
Speaking to constituents
There’s a common underlying thread. Communities being shut out of decisions that will impact their wellbeing. If elected as the local MP, I will advocate for the well-being of our communities who feel that their voices are consistently ignored. I also want to make sure that the voices of 25% of the electorate, who are Asian, are heard.
I ask for your support to be the next MP for Maungakiekie, in a strong Labour-led government. Labour will make sure that we build a strong economy – not as an end in itself but as a means to end – to make people’s lives better.
An economy that does not deliver for people is pointless.
The next Labour-led government will invest in people and in our infrastructure – our environment, transport, safety, housing, health and education.
It is time to vote for a government that works for the many, not the few.
Please Party Vote Labour!
Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a voracious reader, champions social and community causes and is a strong advocate of ethnic and gender diversity in corporate governance and in public life. She is a Member of the Labour Party Policy Council and was recently elected Chair of Multicultural Labour (formerly known as Ethnic Sector of Labour Party). She is Labour Party’s candidate for Maungakiekie.