Do I want to know? Why or how does it matter?

But before addressing our HB candidates, let me be clear, how you cast your party vote absolutely matters.

One major party is intent on slamming on the brakes in so many areas, if not lurching backward, dusting off policies already shown to fail, selling the ‘trickle down’ that never trickles down. Baited by cave-dwellers further to the right.

The other party timidly avoids eye-to-eye contact, seemingly afraid of its own core values and the policies those should animate. With its would-be partner facing the lonely prospect of trying to keep warm embers burning ‘til the next cycle.

All riding a tide of disillusionment and disappointment, with voters more focused on blame than root causes, or plain exhaustion of spirit rather than rousing aspiration.

Nothing this column says will change your judgment about all of that!

But meantime, we also get to vote for the individuals who will actually represent our region as MPs.

Wouldn’t we like to know what they really stand for, their core values, the commitment to our community they have previously demonstrated? 

Unfortunately, it’s hard in most cases to penetrate the ‘party’ armour in which they are clad.

Why should candidates Catherine Wedd and Katie Nimon reveal themselves when they’ve already been anointed into Parliament – win or lose their electorate votes – by their party’s inner sanctum? An entitlement further confirmed in Wedd’s case by her presenting a Youth Parliament certificate at a candidate’s meeting as evidence that she was pre-ordained for elective office … no election required.

Ask either Wedd or Nimon any policy question, and you’ll get the well-rehearsed party talking point on the subject. If not immediately, a day or two later after they’ve checked the briefing book from party HQ. There’s no point in attempting to probe any further.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to know what they might actually fight for (or against) in their party caucus, or where they think their party might have it wrong. Or which interest in HB might have to be advanced over another.

With Anna Lorck, you also get a deference to the party line, but we’ve had years to see her in action, and it’s clear she’s not shy about speaking her mind or declaring clear priorities. As she said at a recent candidates’ forum, if she accomplished – and were to be judged by – only one thing if re-elected another term, it would be getting a $1 billion hospital for HB. Her commitment to that is palpable and believable. She gives you a reason to consider voting for her, irrespective of the party label.

And there’s no sense of entitlement in her case. She’s worked her butt off both to get elected in the first place and to outspokenly champion the interests of HB, taking her lumps along the way in full public view.

Definitely not a party Stepford wife!

Her Labour compatriot in Napier, Mark Hutchinson is also unusual in that he too actually has and expresses views. Are they aligned with his party’s line? Sure. But there’s ample evidence that he’s thought about the issues and can speak insightfully about Napier’s needs on that basis, and not from a script.

BayBuzz recently received a release from Hutchinson describing his “six pledge priorities”. At the top of the list was securing fit-for-purpose 24/7 medical centre in Napier. The list included looking into a biofuel plant for Hawke’s Bay, pressing Air NZ on more affordable regional airfares, and more. These are not talking points from the party briefing book, they represent applying his personal values to his perceptions of Napier’s needs. Indeed he has the temerity to support a capital gains tax. Take that Chris Hipkins!

I asked Katie Nimon if she would supply something like that – her six pledges – for comparison. No reply. Maybe her mail is late in arriving from Wellington.

If only because I believe we should not vote for robots, you might infer my leanings when it comes to these four individual candidates.

But actually I’m greedy. I want all four in Parliament, in the possibly delusional hope that four voices in Wellington championing the needs and aspirations of Hawke’s Bay are better than two. 

And since Wedd and Nimon have already been anointed to Parliament courtesy of their high National Party list positions, why not vote Lorck and Hutchinson in as well?

Voters of Hawke’s Bay, I say, get greedy!


Join the Conversation


  1. There are no guarantees when it comes to list positions Tom and it would be foolish for people to gamble with their vote like that. The best outcome for HB given the probability is we will have a National led government, is for the two National candidates Nimon and Wedd to win their respective seats. A throwback to the days of Tremain and Foss and look what they achieved together…

    1. Well said Ben & what formidable forces Katie & Catherine are, no “Stepford DNA” present. These women are leaders in their fields with proven track records.
      Why would you risk not voting them in?
      Hawke’s Bay deserves and needs their strong representation.
      #PartyVoteNational #TwoTicksBlue

    2. Tom illustrated National’s strategies brilliantly: “One major party is intent on slamming on the brakes in so many areas, if not lurching backward, dusting off policies already shown to fail, selling the ‘trickle down’ that never trickles down. Baited by cave-dwellers further to the right.”

      Will this party benefit HB by…

      * opening the borders for cheap labour to keep salaries at a minimum
      * scrutinise those on benefits and cut their entitlement
      * paying lip service only to avert a climate catastrophy
      * reducing taxes by cutting services which will then have to be obtained from private providers at a much higher cost
      * pretending that all is well with our economic model based on growth, which scientists agree nature is unable to sustain

      I hope you remember your choice when the next cyclone devastates HB, or when you build a wall around your property because the poor can’t survive without looting.

  2. Aagh but there is a new party in NZ, it’s name is NZ LOYAL, and it is gaining unprecedented momentum, membership and followers. Emphasis is on speaking the truth, listening to the people, building a fair and inclusive society, that doesn’t succumb to the whims, conditions, and absolute crap of WEF, WHO, UN, and Multi- National Corporations intent on causing harm. Multitudes of Kiwis have had enough of continuing interference in their daily lives. We are sick of “sucking it up”.

    1. The previous decades of rocking back and forth between two very similar options have not worked, time for a real change.

  3. I’m a Tukituki voter – and I agree with all you say about Anna Lorck – at least she is standing for the electorate and has no show of getting in on a list place – so it’s all or nothing for her – which is why she has my vote – she also has it for her efforts over the years and her commitment to The Bay. Like her politics or not, she’s a battler for the electorate and deserves her place in the Beehive. The others are guaranteed a place so voting for Anna gets more representation for The Bay in the debating chamber

  4. Thanks Tom. I always appreciate your insights leading up to elections. And I am afraid to say that my one face to face experience with a candidate totally confirms this comment: “Ask either Wedd or Nimon any policy question, and you’ll get the well-rehearsed party talking point on the subject.”
    My opening line was something like “I’d like to talk to you about your environmental policies”. That was all I got to say. I received a two- minute non- stop spiel that did not allow for me to express one single view or question. My suggestion to all candidates: there is a lot to gain by just listening.

    1. Well said Tom and on the button as you so often are!
      Candidate vote would have 4 MPs working hard for this beautiful region that certainly needs it!

  5. Sorry Tom.
    Even if you can get Labour reelected they can’t afford another Pravda fund
    Guess Bay Buzz will have to go back to selling ads

    1. An Editor’s call: With limited resources and time, we need to focus on the candidates that have a realistic chance of representing us.

      1. Don’t you consider that election interference? Of course someone has less of chance of being elected if they’re not given equal representation.

        Martin Langford is one of only 3 Napier candidates running for election…It’s literally ONE more person, you’ve absolutely got time/resources for that, especially when I know he would’ve responded where the National candidate didn’t.

        1. Valid comments relating to equal exposure for all candidates, Bry. And it’s far more interesting and refreshing to hear about all candidates and views that veer further from the usual party lines.

      2. Then why didn’t the headline read Our “4 Labour and National” MP candidates …there’s others ya know. And if the media did their job properly, maybe they wouldn’t sway so much of the peoples’ decisions.

  6. What about the other parties and independents? Media bias is extremely undemocratic. Why even have MMP if you’re not going to write about the other candidates?

    1. My thoughts exactly!

      Media claim that there is no point giving coverage for people “unlikely to win the election” but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy as voters then aren’t informed about who those candidates are and what they stand for.

  7. Death of democracy right here! There are more than two people standing for the people of Napier, and I am sure same can be said for Tukituki! wont be buying Bay Buzz any longer

  8. Effectively, Tom, here you are telling us how to vote. You’re entitled to do that – this is a free country. But in doing so you reveal a distain for the political literacy of the Hawke’s Bay voter. We can make up our own minds.

  9. I’m sure they will Tom, but somehow, I have this feeling that you are of the belief that you consider that your assessment and judgement is superior to that of your readers.

    1. Don’t underestimate your readers Tom. And it’s a real turn-off to have such a narrow band of information and assessment. If you don’t want to look at the wider spectrum yourself, what about having a few others present some objective factual pictures of all candidates? How interesting that could be.

  10. You go well beyond informing; you’re advocating. You urge the voting for your preferred (Labour) candidates in the two local electorates, one in which you don’t even reside, on the basis that the National candidates will get in on the list. This suggests that in head-to-head contests you think the Nats would win. So, by being relegated to list status they become second class local M Ps. Stick to informing by all means, but let the people make up their own minds.

  11. I doubt all those here, who are upset with Tom for stating his views, will be upset when Mike Hoskin, Kate Hawkesby, Heather Du Plessis-Allan, etc. express their views.

  12. I have to say, I have been a keen National voter for all my elections I’ve had the opportunity to vote in, HOWEVER…
    It has been great to see Anna so roaring and strong!
    The Green party candidate to add has been so well researched and the ACT party candidate seems to have his head in the game too.
    I have found the Tukituki National Candidate to be so scripted, just disappointing for National as they won’t be getting my vote this election.

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