Voters get vocal at Federated Farmers event

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 12:37 03/09/2014
Russell MacPherson
VOCAL VOTERS: Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson had to call for order several times during the rowdy meeting.

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Southern candidates faced heckling, name-calling and even chicken clucking as they tried to woo voters at a Federated Farmers candidate meeting.

Eight candidates based in the Invercargill and Clutha-Southland electorates spoke to about 25 people during the event on Tuesday night moderated by Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson.

MacPherson had to call for order several times during the evening, as audience members vocally disagreed with candidates across the political spectrum.

National candidate Sarah Dowie could not escape the Dirty Politics, her speech momentarily interrupted by an audience member shouting ''Cameron Slater'', while Green list candidate David Kennedy was called a communist by another voter.

Later, Labour candidate Lesley Soper was subjected to chicken clucking as she spoke about hens she had rescued from a battery-farm.

Candidates also turned on each other, with Act candidate Don Nicolson telling Kennedy he was ''disingenuous'' during discussions about deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

Despite the scrappy display, the aspiring MPs also talked policy, with capital gains tax being a hot topic among attendees.

Soper said Labour planned to introduce the tax to help make the tax system fairer, as other countries had done.

''We are one of the only two countries left in the OECD who don't have a capital gains tax - do we really want to be the other Turkey?''

She stressed the tax was not retrospective, and, once it was introduced, she would also have to pay it on her additional properties.

However, Dowie argued the capitals gains tax would only increase housing costs, and the answer to New Zealand's housing issues was building more.

''It's economics 101. More houses mean lower prices.''

Nicolson, NZ First candidate Ria Bond, Democrats for Social Credit representative (filling in for candidate Stephnie de Ruyter) Owen Horton, Conservative candidate Lachlan Ashton, and independent candidate Karl Barkley all said they did not support a capital gains tax, with Kennedy stating the tax would direct investment into productive industries.

Other issues touched upon were encouraging more regional growth, keeping the New Zealand dollar down and the environmental impact of farmers.

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- The Southland Times

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