What do you think is the biggest problem facing New Zealand and if you’re in government, what would you do about it?
Chris (65) Rotorua
The economy. Any growth in the past two decades has been from the Christchurch rebuild spending and tax collection, logs and milk to one market – China – and immigration to boost consumption. Productivity is low compared with other countries. We would develop export-growth projects, get research and development humming again so industry can advance, bring relief for exporters by giving the Reserve Bank tools to deal with the overvalued dollar, and most importantly, encourage added value instead of exporting raw products, while raising wage levels to make New Zealanders independent of the state.
Immigration is a hot issue this election. What is your policy regarding our increased migration rate and will you put measures in place to slow it down until infrastructure can support such an influx?
*Lyn (53) Auckland
New Zealand First is the only party that, early on, recognised the dangers of mass immigration and all the stresses such a policy would bring to New Zealand, such as massive housing demand and infrastructural requirements to accommodate such population growth. This mass immigration is a merry-go-round we can’t get off, with over-demand chasing under-supply, until we reduce it to around 10,000 skilled people this country needs. We need to press the pause button on mass immigration so we can fix up the problems we have now.
How do you balance your career and your family?
Natalie (50) Wellington
With great difficulty. I am lucky I have such a supportive family.While I recognise infrastructure projects in our cities are important, I’m a born and bred farmer.
What policies would you implement to make life easier and more profitable for farmers and those living rurally?
*Denise (48) Waikato
Regional New Zealanders should get more support from the government – you should not be disadvantaged because you live outside the cities. Our policies understand that. Just one example is that GST paid by international tourists will go back to the regions where it was paid so local authorities have the resources to properly provide regional populations with the services they need. We know it is regional New Zealand that has built our big cities, not the other way around. We will put funding into rural infrastructure and modern IT access.
Why did you get into politics in the first place and if you were not a politician now, what would you be?
*Shirley (60) Orewa
I had a successful background in law, with a thriving law practice, but I believed I could change things politically to better the lives for far more people than I could as a lawyer.
What are the challenges of being a politician?
Cole (13) Auckland
There are many challenges, but the greatest and most difficult is the loss of a private life.
Elections bring out a lot of negative comments and I would like to hear something positive. What is one positive quality you think the three other party leaders [Bill English, Jacinda Ardern and James Shaw] would have if they were prime minister?
Angela (49) Auckland
Whatever abilities and talents they may not have, they are nevertheless seriously decent and good New Zealanders. Despite all the criticism of politicians, if the majority of New Zealanders were like them, we’d be a better country.
What are your party’s views on One World Government and globalisation? And how would you define these?
Jean (75) Taupo
We want a system that works first for New Zealand. There have to be sound reasons to belong to global world systems, such as the fight against climate change or,
for that matter, terrorism. However, if globalisation, which is fine in theory, has to, in economic terms, pit small players against powerful global entities, then the answer is obvious. These small players will hugely outnumber those involved in big entities. And our job is to balance out their rights so that society is fair
and not dog-eat-dog.
How do you take your cup of tea?
Jenny (73) Tauranga
I like green tea with nothing added – my wisest friends tell me this is good for me.
Why should we persuade our parents to vote for you?
Matthew (11) Auckland
Because if you want someone to look after you, my policies will better enable them to do just that.
My children are desperately trying to buy a house, but have found themselves firmly priced out of the market. A ridiculous deposit is expected for their first home, which they cannot afford. Do you believe this is a problem and if so, how would you fix it?
Anonymous (56) Auckland
Many years ago, I started warning New Zealanders of how mass immigration and offshore buying of New Zealand homes would send house prices through the roof, costing in some cases over 10 times a taxpayer’s annual income. No housing policy reform will work until we cut back the artificial demand and build affordable housing for people living in New Zealand. We did that once when we were a leader in world house ownership. When we forgot how to do that, our problems began.
What makes you proud to be a New Zealander?
John (41) Dunedin
Many things, but perhaps most importantly, from a lifestyle and environmental perspective, is that I was born in a country called God’s Own. It may have become now the devil’s own mess, but we can fix it and that’s what this election is all about.
**To hear from the other party leaders, click their name below: