Getting to know Glenda Alexander
Twenty years as union official should provide a solid background for Waitaki Labour candidate Glenda Alexander in the upcoming general election. Mrs Alexander has confirmed her candidacy for the Waitaki electorate and spoke last week to Jacquie Webby.
Q: You are the Labour candidate for Waitaki, please give me some brief details of your background:
A: I am married to Rex and we have three daughters and four grandchildren. I studied at the University of Otago as a mature student and after doing nightshift at a local hospice, I was persuaded to look at a career of nursing.
I graduated from the Dunedin School of Nursing and spent time in the main operating theatre before Rex and I moved to Wanaka where we built a house and opened a restaurant.
We returned to Dunedin and I have a long association with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, including the negotiation of the first national collective agreement.
Rex and I also own and operate Envirocom, a company which offers test certification and approved handler training relating to hazardous substances and new organisms.
Q: In 2010, you stood for the Dunedin North seat, why have you chosen Waitaki this time?
A: I believe the area is currently under-represented. Waitaki needs a strong voice and I consider I can make the difference.
Q: You are standing for Waitaki; will you also go on the Labour list?
A: No, I won't go on the list. I want to be a full time Member of Parliament for Waitaki. I want to be accountable and consistent and fully represent the district I am committed to.
I have taken three months leave to campaign for the seat and intend to give it 100 per cent plus.
Q: The Waitaki electorate will change for the 2014 election. How do you see the changes?
A: Waitaki is about the size of Switzerland and has around 94 towns. It is a big patch with diverse industries and areas of employment.
Everyone who lives in the electorate wants the same things, amongst them access to education, access to health services and jobs.
I want to work on reinforcing (with central government), the importance regions play in the overall picture. There is life outside the big cities.
Q: The growth of dairy farming in the Waitaki has brought a number of positives to the local economy. Do you think dairying should be capped at a certain level, if so, what is that level?
A: The positives are the financial flow-on effects for towns and cities in the areas where intensive dairying has been established. It flows on to all areas, such as local shops, trade suppliers and such like.
There are areas of best practice, including land management and fresh water management which need to be continually monitored.
Farmers are, on a whole, good guardians of their land and know what is required and how to achieve it. I do have a concern with the cut back of jobs at Invermay, because we will lose an immense wealth of knowledge.
The international outreach of this knowledge cannot, in my opinion, be under-estimated.
Downsides: We need to continually monitor and strive to maintain (or improve) our environment best practices.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: Rex and I go to Wanaka where we have a permanent spot for our caravan.
What is your favourite tipple?
A: Central Otago savignon blanc.
Where did you spend your last holiday?
What book are you currently reading?
A: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.
Did you make a New Year's resolution and if so, what was it?
A: To turn the seat of Waitaki red.