Candidate a surprise choice

Last updated 11:07 02/05/2014

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OPINION: Like many I've been waiting for National's choice of candidate for Clutha-Southland.

This week's announcement, however, took me by surprise.

Not by the youth of National's selection: we need young people in Parliament. But in terms of what he stands for and whose interests he's been advancing, in his relatively short career.

As candidates representing the two major parties, the differences between us couldn't be starker.

For 20 years, my work in public health has brought me face to face with the damage nicotine addiction inflicts on our communities.

The issue that saddens me the most is the 40-60 babies we are losing each year from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy.

Underpinning these deaths is nicotine addiction, and the role smoking while pregnant plays in increasing SUDI risk.

In contrast, Mr Barclay has made some interesting career choices.

The fact he has already demonstrated a willingness to advocate for those profiting from products that harm our communities is worrying.

His most recent job, working as a lobbyist to sway policy in tobacco companies' favour he says, taught him how corporates operate in New Zealand.

This year, Clutha-Southland voters have a clear choice. As does the rest of New Zealand.

A National Government that's happy to cosy up to big businesses that harm New Zealanders; or a Labour Government that wants every child to get the Best Start in life.

This year, think carefully before choosing the status quo.

Some habits die hard, even on election day - and some are worth breaking.

DR LIZ CRAIG

Labour Candidate for Clutha- Southland

 

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- The Southland Times

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