Labour candidate gearing up for a fight

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 12/08/2014
Penny Gaylor
CHARLOTTE CURD/ Fairfax NZ
INGLEWOOD WALKABOUT: Taranaki-King Country Labour candidate Penny Gaylor, left, went on the campaign trail in Inglewood yesterday with Labour MPs Andrew Little, centre, and Annette King.

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Penny Gaylor says she's going to give the National Party a fright.

Brave words, considering she's contesting one of the Government's safest seats, but the Taranaki-King Country candidate was in no mood to roll over nicely when she visited Inglewood yesterday.

"I'm not here for a hobby. Not here to make up the numbers. It makes a difference for your enthusiasm for it if you believe the policies the party is rolling out."

Taranaki-King Country has been a National stronghold since the electorate was created in 1996 and won by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.

Retiring National MP Shane Ardern has held the seat since winning it in a by-election in 1998.

His majority at the last election was 15,089. Dairy farmer Barbara Kuriger, of New Plymouth, is the National candidate.

Gaylor was out on the hustings yesterday with Labour MPs Annette King and Andrew Little.

This is Gaylor's first foray into politics.

From the Kapiti Coast she saw a vacancy for Labour in Taranaki-King Country so thought she would give it a go.

"And it was a contested selection so I was really chuffed," she said.

She has been travelling all over the electorate and has found Labour's education policies are really popular, she said.

"Because like myself, parents know those are the things that will make a difference, having more teachers with the children in a classroom. Parents know that makes a difference."

King said they had been to a rest home in Inglewood where they had had a good discussion about health care.

There has been huge growth in the number of elderly people going to emergency departments, King said.

"In the last four years there has been a 12 per cent increase in elderly folk arriving at ED while the growth in their population is only 6 per cent, so they are ending up at the expensive end of the system."

Labour will put $1b of new money into health and education, she said.

In 2014 Treasury said they had given money for population growth but only a contribution towards cost pressures which is why DHBs are struggling.

DHB staff are going on strike because they are only going to get a 0.7 per cent pay increase, when Treasury has said inflation will be at 2.2 per cent, King said.

"In other words DHBs are so cash strapped they are asking their hard working staff to take a pay cut."

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