Overlooked candidate gatecrashes debate

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 10:25 08/08/2014

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Mana Party candidate Angeline Greensill was overlooked for a candidates' debate on environment issues but that did not stop her from gatecrashing the party to get her point across.

The uninvited guest took her place alongside seven other candidates from five different political parties but said it was no surprise the Waikato branch of Forest and Bird and the Waikato Environment Centre did not call on her.

"I didn't expect an invitation. I heard about it and said: this is my field, so I'm going along anyway."

Other members of the panel included Maori Party candidate Susan Cullen, ACT's Dr Ron Smith, Hamilton East and National MP David Bennett, Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta and candidate Dr Cliff Allen, and MP Eugenie Sage and Mark Servian of the Greens.

Greensill joined the the candidate evening despite not being formally announced as the Mana Party candidate for the Hauraki-Waikato seat.

The decision appeared to be a fait accompli. "I can't say that, you will have to wait for announcement but I would be surprised if I am not," Greensill said.

Mana Party president Lisa McNab said Greensill would "absolutely" be the Hauraki candidate, to be confirmed at a meeting of the executive today.

More than 60 people quizzed the candidates at the Chartwell Room at the Hamilton Gardens on water quality and climate change.

Smith is the ACT Party's candidate in the Hamilton East electorate and told the audience climate change was a fallacy.

"I hope this isn't news for you but the temperature hasn't been going up for 17 or 18 years."

He said the quality of some rivers would have to be compromised for the sake of business and it was unrealistic to have all of them in pristine condition.

"It is not a realistic requirement to have all of our rivers like this," he said.

"We would have to compromise with various things, including the economic future of the country."

Funding for environmental clean-up schemes came from the primary sector and a sophisticated cost-benefit calculation needed to be done before money was spent, Smith said.

Sage was in Hamilton for the day and said water quality was the key environmental issue. She said more needed to be done to increase the value of milk powder and to build a productive sector for the forest industry instead of exporting raw logs. "Actually processing them here, because then we create jobs here rather than the simple economy - more drying, more mining, more irrigating - adding value through an innovation economy which is smarter."

The Labour candidate in Hamilton East, Allen, who is a former dairy farmer, said party policy would reduce nutrient run-off.

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Bennett said National would maintain a balanced approach to environment issues.

elton.smallman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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