What Denise Roche stands for

Rose Davis/ Stuff

greens promise free ferries for young

The Green candidate for Auckland Central, Denise Roche, wants to start closing the gap between rich and poor.

Roche is concerned about protecting the environment, addressing homelessness and managing the pressures of tourism on Waiheke Island, where she has lived for the past 20 years.

She would like to see Waiheke become a Living Wage island, where all businesses pay staff at rates that allow them to cover the necessities and participate in the community.

Green MP Denise Roche in her Waiheke Island garden.

Green MP Denise Roche in her Waiheke Island garden.

The current Living Wage is $20.20 an hour.

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"We've got such a diverse community here, but we risk losing that and becoming a haven for the super wealthy.

Denise Roche is concerned about protecting the environment and closing the gap between rich and poor.

Denise Roche is concerned about protecting the environment and closing the gap between rich and poor.

"We need to ensure those with more modest incomes can afford to live here."

She would like to see more state housing built, rent to buy schemes and a warrant of fitness scheme to improve the quality of rental housing.

The Green Party wants to introduce free public transport for people aged under 19 and this would include free ferry fares for young people, Roche said.

A Green Card is planned that would offer free off-peak travel for students and people with disabilities.

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The two travel schemes would cost about $80 million a year.

"That's equivalent to about one kilometre of road for the National government's roads of national significance.

"We think investment in public transport might be a better option," Roche said.

The current SuperGold card scheme for senior citizens would be reviewed and free ferry travel to Waiheke could be restricted to island residents.

"The Gold Card is fantastic, but there's an argument young people have less disposable income."

Subsidising public transport costs for young people would encourage them to get into the habit of using buses and trains, she said.

"It's a way of ensuring we trigger an increase in the use of public transport - that's what we need to do if we're ever going to have congestion free roads."

Roche supports Waiheke breaking away from Auckland Council and having a council of its own.

"People affected by decisions should be involved in making those decisions.

"The Supercity hasn't resulted in cost benefits - if anything, it has increased the costs because there is more bureaucracy."

​She is behind Ron Walden's application to the Environment Court to reinstate the Rural Urban Boundary on Waiheke that protects rural land from intensive development.

"Only a few people would benefit and it would change the entire shape of the island.

"One of the best things about this island is the way our citizens will oppose injustice and the imposition of rules that are made without us."

After 21 years working for trade unions, Roche was an Auckland City councillor and Waiheke Local Board member, before becoming a Green MP in 2011.

In her rare moments of leisure, she likes playing the guitar and ukulele and reading crime novels.

"To let off steam, I whack off a few tunes and sing really loudly."






 - Stuff

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