Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Tuesday 3rd October 2023
Under New Zealand’s electoral system any individual can stand as an Independent Candidate (not affiliated to a political party) in one of the 72 electorate seats. For the 2023 election there are 22 independent candidates standing. Of particular interest is Tauranga. Here there are 10 candidates standing of which one is an independent. That individual is my friend Larry Baldock.
Standing for the two major Party’s in Tauranga is Jan Tinetti who is 6th on the Labour list and therefore will get back into parliament irrespective if she wins the candidate vote or not. The National candidate is Sam Uffindell who is 57th on National’s list so very unlikely to make it on current polling unless of course he wins the candidate vote. It is worth stressing this point. An independent MP is truly ‘independent’ meaning that he/she can focus on the concerns and issues of the electorate and is able to vote on issues free from any particular policy or position that a political party will have.
Larry is a seasoned politician. His election platform is centre-ed around pressing issues facing Tauranga as you will see in my short interview with him last week.
1. Why are you standing as an Independent candidate in Tauranga.
For too long Tauranga has been ignored by both Labour and National Governments. We are the fifth largest city and host the country’s largest port.
The state highways and rail network delivering freight to and from that port are woefully inadequate and we are now being called the most congested city with some serious air quality issues and they are only some of our needs on a long list that need addressing.
Like many cities in NZ, Tauranga has a housing crisis that has been getting worse for at least a decade. You may remember that at the 2017 election National refused to acknowledge a crisis & Labour campaigned on a promise to build 100,000 new homes that never eventuated.
There are far too many hard working individuals or single parent families having to sleep in cars. What they need is a temporary solution for a year or two such as cabins and tiny homes with bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette facilities. These could be provided quickly to meet the needs of our working homeless if Central Government and Local Government worked together to fund and consent places for them to be located and operated.
Families should not have to abandon the dream of home ownership. We just need to remember that when NZ used to have a high percentage of home ownership many lower income households could get 30-year fixed interest rate loans through State Advances Corporation. While that might sound impossible in today’s market you may be surprised to know that it is still common in America to see home loans with 30 yr fixed interest rates.
If the Government can offer interest free loans to students worth $16 billion as at 2021, then they can and should be offering 3-4% home loans to first home buyers through the Kiwi Bank. If more parents had the security of home ownership by the time their children were going to university there would not be so many needing to rely on the Govt student loans.
2. How will you ensure you will deliver for Tauranga?
What I know for certain is that what we have been doing in the past hasn’t been delivering for Tauranga. The only way to make any Government in Wellington deliver a decent transportation network and more affordable housing is to send the message that we will no longer vote along party lines when it comes to who represents our city. The advantage I will have is that I will have allocated general debate slots and question at Question time where I can raise the issues we face and I will not have to wait for permission to speak about Tauranga nor tow the party line. That is not the case with our current representative ranked 57th on Nationals list.
3. Would you consider working with both the left or the right?
If I am elected, and my independent vote was needed to form a government in some way I would first talk with the party with the largest share of seats in Parliament to negotiate the best deal for Tauranga I could. The polls last week indicated that National and Act would have only 60 seats in the House, one short of the majority needed. This week the polls may show a different potential scenario. We will have to wait and see.
4. Who is Larry Baldock?
He grew up in Gate Pa in a state house with a solo mum who worked hard to raise 6 children. They might be biased but all her children think she did a pretty good job considering all she had to contend with. He has been married to Barbara for 46 years and their three adult children have been great contributors to the places they have lived. Their best work has been to give us 10 grandchildren to love and enjoy.
Barbara and Larry spent 20 years in voluntary unsalaried work with 15 of those years in the Philippines where Larry was the National Director of YWAM’s work there for 10 yrs. Returning to NZ to pursue involvement in Government and politics he was first elected in 2001 to the Tauranga City Council and then Parliament in 2002 as a list MP with United Future. There are more details on the website www.baldock.nz for those interested along with a few videos that might help voters understand his passion and commitment to Tauranga.