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Election 2017

The 2017 New Zealand General Election has been at the forefront of the country’s media for the best part of the year. Regardless of your political affiliations, the activities of the campaign and the ultimate result of the election has impacted us all. For many members of the Kristin Community, the 2017 General Elections has provided the opportunity to work alongside fellow New Zealanders and to be a part of the process that shapes our country’s future.

We caught up with a few of these individuals to find out what roles they played in the election and to understand what drives them to be involved.

 

Erica Stanford (née Poppelbaum)

Kristin Alumni: Class of 1996 (Years 3–8 / Std 1–Form 2)

National MP for East Coast Bays

BA (Hons) – Political Science

(Pictured above: Erica and her family)

What does it mean to you to be the new MP for East Coast Bays?

This area means a lot to me: I was born and raised here; I met my husband at Rangitoto College and now we are raising our family here. It is particularly special to be the first female MP for the area and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people of East Coast Bays for their support. The people of this community are my inspiration and the driving force behind my decision to stand. Growing up here, having a family here and working in the electorate office have introduced me to so many people in various community groups, schools, organisations and businesses who are working so hard to make the community a better place. It means a lot to me to be in a position to be able to advocate for them as their local representative.

What do you think are the most important issues facing New Zealanders today?

There have always been two things that drive me. One of those things is the environment, which is the greatest gift that has been bestowed upon us. I’m a member of the Blue Greens, which is the environmental group within the National Party. The East Coast Bays is a big part of why I feel so strongly about this; at one end we have the majestic Okura Estuary and marine reserve, and our coastline is peppered with beautiful beaches that all need protecting. I will be a strong voice within National ensuring that we place a high degree of importance on sustainability issues.

It is important to me that New Zealanders are able to reach their goals, dreams and aspirations, and we are there to make sure they are provided the tools to be able to achieve them. A strong economy gives government the means to provide with those tools; so the way in which we manage our economy is paramount.

What is your message to young New Zealanders about getting involved in politics?

I know that it can seem like Parliament and the decision-makers are far away in Wellington, and that the work that we do is not relevant to the lives of young people. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I want young people to know that every single decision that is made in Parliament affects every New Zealander. Their future is dictated by the work we do; so it is important that everyone is involved in that decision-making process.  Around 86% of seniors in the East Coast Bays vote and the inverse is true for the younger voters, around 68%. The message I give to young people is that decisions about their futures are being dictated by others. As a local representative, I want to engage with young people to show them that politics is local, it is relevant, it is accessible and that it does make a difference to their lives.

 

Analiese Jackson Kristin AlumniAnaliese Jackson

Kristin Alumni: Class of 2005 (Years 710)

Co-Campaign Manager for Jacinda Ardern, Labour

Communication and Content Manager, Media Design School

BC, BA (Hons), PGDipBA – Marketing, Media Studies, Business Communication

What has been your biggest challenge during this campaign?

Prior to 2017, I had been involved in several Labour Party campaigns in various capacities, but this was the first campaign that I had been invited to take on the role of local Campaign Manager for the electorate of Mt Albert (which Jacinda Ardern had previously won in the February 2017 by-election). Because of the scale of the task, and not to mention working full-time, I took on the role of a Co-Campaign Manager with another Labour volunteer who had also been heavily involved in the by-election campaign. This was a fantastic opportunity as I got to look after the aspects of the campaign I most enjoy – primarily Social Media, Communications and Volunteer Engagement. Being able to shape a local-level campaign was incredibly challenging but just as equally rewarding.

Learning how to run a political campaign as you go is particularly challenging, but when your candidate is elected Leader of the Labour Party part-way through the campaign – that’s a whole other (rather exciting) story!

What do you think are the most important issues facing New Zealanders today?

I think it’s incredibly hard to generalise what matters most to all New Zealanders but, from talking to people from across Auckland on the campaign trail, I think that housing affordability, improving New Zealanders’ access to health services (especially mental health) and ensuring that future generations have access to quality education are all issues that resonate on some level with all Kiwis, irrespective of where they live or their circumstances.

What is the best thing you’ve seen come out of the 2017 General Election?

Obviously, the Mt Albert campaign team were exceptionally happy with the end result of the General Election but, at a more local level, our amazing network of volunteers (which grew throughout the course of the campaign!) helped Jacinda increase the electorate vote majority and the Labour Party vote in Mt Albert. This result is a testament to the work that our volunteers put in during the campaign. 

 

Jack Donovan

Kristin Alumni: Class of 2015 (Years 913)

General Executive Officer, Victoria University Political Student Society

Studying a BCom in Finance and Accounting at Victoria University, Wellington.

“As the General Executive Officer at Victoria University Political Student Society, I’ve been involved with holding events related to the election and I moderated an electorate debate for the candidates for Wellington Central. I’ve always been interested in politics and I think it is important to help people learn as much as they can. My role allowed me to get invested in politics from a neutral position, so I could learn a lot from people from varying perspectives and put on unbiased events to help people like myself to be as informed as possible.”

 

Robyn Stables

Kristin Staff: Specialist Support

Voting Place Manager, Greenhithe

“I have worked in the past three elections, but this was my first time as a Voting Place Manager. I wanted to take on the challenge of ensuring Election Day runs smoothly for voters. I also wanted to challenge myself by working under pressure with strangers to get a successful end result.”

 

Declan Weir

Kristin Alumni: Class of 2015 (Years 713)

Issuing Officer, Northcote Electorate

Studying towards a Bachelor of Urban Planning (Hons), University of Auckland

“My role involved issuing individuals with their voting papers on Election Day. As I suspected, the voting booth staff were dominated by older people. There had been a lot of focus in the media about young people voting, but not about their involvement across other aspects of the election process. I’m a firm believer in the need for a representative cross-section to participate in our democratic processes, so I was there representing my generation.”