Meet the Candidate: Todd Muller

Todd Muller

Todd Muller is the next MP for Bay of Plenty. He was Waikato Young Nationals chairman in 1990, and President of Waikato Student union in 1992. Since then he’s worked in great New Zealand businesses like Zespri and Fonterra. We got to know him a bit better:

What is your number one policy priority for your time in Parliament?

I want to ensure conditions for successful exporting to the world are constantly improved and enhanced. We are a trading nation, so open access to world markets plays to our competitive advantage of producing safe and nutritious food back up by world class innovation and manufacturing excellence.

Having worked in agribusiness, what do you see as the role of primary industries in 21st century New Zealand?

Helen Clark once said she thought Agribusiness was New Zealand’s sunset industry. Well, we would have had a long dark night of economic suffering over the last 6 years if it wasn’t for those same agribusinesses! Primary Industries are the backbone of this country – for this to continue we need to ensure the environment for success is maintained – stable economic management, investment in market focused innovation, a balance of environmental and economic success, and increased investment in our people.

What is something about you that we should know, but don’t know already?

With Peter Douglas (formerly Prime Minister’s Office, in the Bolger years) we bought Nelson Mandela a batik shirt in a Maori design which the great man wore in NZ. We then both got to meet him and he personally signed his Long Walk to Freedom autobiography for us

What makes the Bay of Plenty a place you’d like to represent?

It truly is one of New Zealand’s special places. Productive heartland that can grow anything well, due to its climate, stunning beaches, beautiful coastline and harbour, and great people – many who have moved from elsewhere to make something for themselves and their families. I like the mix of young making their way in the world, intergenerational and new entrant farming and our more mature residents who have chosen the Bay for the next stage in their life’s journey. The Bay is still primarily made up of smaller communities that are welcoming and friendly to one another, and I like that about my home town.

Meet the Candidate: Andrew Bayly

Andrew Bayly

Andrew Bayly is National’s candidate in Hunua. His career before politics includes military service, farming, business ownership, accounting and finance. He has served in the British Parachute Regiment, and owned an award-winning horticultural recycling and compost business. We wanted to know a bit more about him:

What is your biggest policy goal – what do you want to change in New Zealand?

Last week, during John Key’s visit to the United States, the Chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve referred to our economy: “I’ve just heard a lot of very good things about [it]… it seems to be doing extremely well.” Indeed, growth has climbed to 3.8%, primary exports are at record highs, Crown debt is under control, and we are bringing expatriate Kiwis home. This is an incredible start, but it must be sustainable over the longer term. I aspire to be a part of this team that continues to create an environment where businesses can thrive and investment in health, education, infrastructure and housing follows.

In the Hunua Electorate, I am focused on ensuring the growth in new housing areas is well managed – it needs to be responsible growth. New housing developments should occur where it is appropriate and when they are linked to infrastructure such as water, roads and train services. When you get this balance right, you have a recipe for sustained growth that we can all feel comfortable with. In essence, it is about having vibrant communities that are well connected.

You walked to the South Pole a couple of years ago, what was the most memorable part?

Actually stepping off the Ilyushin aircraft onto the snow! It was the result of many years of planning and great to be finally in a position to climb four mountains (one unclimbed previously) and drag a sledge 112 kms to the South Pole. The other revealing aspect of visiting Antarctica is the visual assault on your eyes due to the exceptionally clear air – what looks like 5 kms away, is in fact 20 kms. In Antarctica this means you need to be very careful not to over-estimate distance and times, especially when you are high up on a mountain.

What is something about you that we wouldn’t already know, but should?

I have an identical twin brother – so be careful about which one you are talking to!

Who is someone that you aspire to be like in your political career?

Winston Churchill. The patience he displayed in his political career and command of the English language certainly distinguished him amongst his peers. His other interests and career also made him a much more interesting (and robust) character.

Five Young Kiwis who are Backing National

With just over 100 days to go until the election, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are already deciding to back National with their vote this year. They come from different backgrounds and points of view, and have a variety of different reasons for supporting National and John Key. Here are five young New Zealanders, and why they are each backing National and Team Key.

Bonnie

Bonnie, Librarian and Marine Science student from Auckland

I’m Backing National because… who wouldn’t want to party vote National? We’re kicking arse on the economy, welfare reform, justice, and health! I’ve been a party member since 2010, and I am so proud of the achievements this party has made in the past two terms. National has opened four marine reserves in this year alone, developed the EEZ Act to promote sustainable management in our waters, and funded research into learning about our amazing underwater environment. As someone who is particularly interested in marine conservation and science, these achievements have been amazing to watch.

 

Sam, Accounting grad from Christchurch

Sam, Accounting graduate from Christchurch

I’m Backing National because… well, the reason I’m backing National in 2014 can be summarised with one word, Opportunity. We all want the opportunity to succeed, to be rewarded for our hard work and to thrive in whatever we choose to do. We live in the best country in the world, and I back a government who delivers on equality of opportunity for all New Zealanders.

 

Anna, Law student from Dunedin

Anna, Law student from Dunedin

I’m Backing National… because within their latest term in government, the National Party under JK’s selfie-parading leadership, has brought us back into surplus, witnessed the changing of societal values through marriage equality and completed a number of outstanding Treaty settlements. This is a government that cares about the future of New Zealand families, and individual choice and freedom. Personal responsibility is a key (ha) value for the party, one that resonates well with most Kiwis. And I certainly want to live in a country that advocates for individual freedoms, choices, and challenges me to reach my potential.

 

Stefan from Auckland

Stefan, Commerce student from Auckland

I’m Backing National because… I got active in National just before the 2011 election. When Paula Bennett tells you to come and wave some signs in Henderson, you don’t bloody well argue! Jokes aside, I realised that National isn’t a party of fat cats, but hard working middle New Zealanders who believe in self-responsibility, reward for effort, and supporting the Kiwi battler. I heard the sacrifices members make for family and work in their daily lives, which mirror the struggles of everyone else in New Zealand. I decided I liked their aspiration and belief in National’s policy direction. I found myself agreeing with them, and wanting to be part of that positive direction.

 

James, History student from Auckland

I’m Backing National because… this is a party that knows what it’s doing. John Key’s decisive leadership has pulled New Zealand out of recession and National’s investment in health, education, infrastructure, and welfare has expanded the job market for many people. The National Party recognises and values diversity, and people from all walks of life. My parents worked hard to give me the best opportunities in life and taught me the value of hard work and individual responsibility. I believe National in government creates opportunities for everyone to succeed and achieve their personal goals in life.

 

Conference 2014

AGM

New Zealand Young Nationals 

Notice of Annual General Meeting 

27th June 2014

REGISTER TO ATTEND

This is to give notice that the New Zealand Young Nationals Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 27th June 2014 at National House, 41 Pipitea Street, in Wellington.

As per the Constitution and Rules of the New Zealand National Party, nominations for the National Executive must be supplied in writing by each region to the Secretary of the NZ Young Nationals, by 5pmFriday 13th June 2014. Regions are required to accompany those nominations with their most recent AGM and SGM minutes, which also verify the nominations.

Nominations for the following elected positions on the National Executive are open: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Policy Officer, Projects Co-ordinator and Grassroots Co-ordinator.

Adam Roland

Secretary

New Zealand Young Nationals

Meet the Candidate: Hamish Walker

Hamish Walker

Hamish Walker is National’s candidate for Dunedin South – he’s one of National’s youngest candidates this election, yet he brings a broad life experience – we asked him a few questions:

What is your number 1 policy priority for your time in Parliament? What would you like to change and why?

Drink Driving laws are a very personal one for me. My good friend Jonathan Keogh was killed by a recidivist drunk driver on Mother’s Day in 2006. I believe that anyone who repeatedly drink drives must be permanently prevented from driving, so no more innocent lives are lost. I believe we must deliver harsher consequences to recidivist offenders who are like dangerous weapons on our roads.

Who is a person that has inspired you to seek election, and why?

I believe John Key is the best leader we have ever had in NZ Politics. This is demonstrated by the highest ever election results under MMP in 2011. The Prime Minister demonstrates an extraordinary affinity and ability to interact with people and also strong leadership skills.

What is something that we don’t already know about you, but should?

I live with type one diabetes which involves monitoring my blood sugar levels daily and having several injections of insulin each day. I was diagnosed at the age of 14, which is a real blow for any teenager at an age when you are really trying to find your feet and who you are as a person. This had a real effect on my schooling, which resulted in me leaving school with no qualifications. However, the positive side of this is that it made me realise how short life is and really motivated me to get out there and make a go of life! Diabetes has never held me back from anything, apart from a dream of being a police officer. Even though I left school with no qualifications, I still went to Uni at the age of 23 and graduated with an accounting degree. I then worked for Deloitte and the BNZ and started my own successful property management business at the end of 2012 which I’m now franchising. I have also worked my way up the ranks of the rugby referee world, making my first class debut last year which only the top 20 or so (out of 4,000) rugby referees in NZ are fortunate enough to achieve.

You’ve travelled around the world as a rugby ref, where would call your favourite spot?

Really tough questions! Favourites are either Dubai or Fiji refereeing 7s, although I would have to say Fiji because of the people. I have been lucky enough to have made a few trips up to Fiji to referee 7s. This isn’t a sport to them, it is almost a religion! One trip in particular that comes to mind, was last year I was lucky enough to be on a trophy tour, the week prior to the tournament starting. Fiji’s most famous rugby player of all time Severi, Ben Gollings who is the highest IRB 7s points scorer of all time and myself were the three people promoting the tournament and touring Fiji with the trophy. Seeing the look on the Fijians faces when they saw Severi (who is like a god up there!) was a truly moving experience. Also Fiji would be the only place in the world where a rugby referee gets groupies!

Meet the Candidate: Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is National’s candidate for Kaikoura. He’s a grape grower who challenged a sitting MP for the right to be a candidate in this election – and won. We asked him a few questions about himself and what he hopes to achieve:

What is your number 1 policy priority – what do you hope to change as an MP?

My number one policy priority is water. Water for irrigation, management of water quality issues to maximise irrigation opportunities. Recreational fishing for blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds. A coastal feeder service for Picton to increase efficiency for producers and exporters. I am not waiting until I become a Member of Parliament to act, I have been involved in all but the Hurunui Water Project before becoming a candidate.

What is something that we should know about you that we don’t know already?

I once spent spring break in Cancun, Mexico with a couple of mates. Hotels were quite expensive but we found a very reasonably priced hotel that looked five star in the photos, with a swim up bar, an infinity pool, perfect. When we arrived just on dark it appeared as the photos had promised, the room was fantastic, we checked out the swim up bar and went out on the town for a good night. There is always a catch and in this case, the catch was that the hotel was still under construction. Everything from our floor down was complete including most the landscaping, but at 6am workers started with what sounded like jack hammers on the floor above us. Not good after a night out in the bars of Cancun. However we soon adapted to the wonderful custom of a siesta, it was a case of having to.

We fell into a pattern of getting up at 6am for a morning swim, lounging around the pool playing volley ball, body surfing or a day trip somewhere, followed by a long siesta. We would rise early evening go out for dinner then on to enjoy the local night life.

Lesson learned though, if something is cheaper than the competition, there has got to be a catch.

What made you want to stand for National? What inspires you politically?

My family has been involved with the National Party for as long as I can remember as has my wife, Julie’s, and with a farming and business background the National Party’s values and vision align with my own. During my time as Chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers I worked with Ministers in both the Helen Clark and John Key governments, a very interesting experience. National Government Ministers have an enabling attitude, their attitude is to keep the Government out of the way and to let business get on with it does best. I liked what I saw and wanted to get more involved and it went from there.

You’re a grape grower by profession – can you recommend a great Marlborough wine?

This will sound like a political answer, but it depends. Try as many different wines as you can in the price range you can afford, price is not always an indicator, but it is a good guide. Generally consumers who like in your face flavours and sweeter wines will find wines to their taste in the lower price bracket. Those with a taste for subtle wines with depth and complexity will find wines to their taste in the higher price range.

Wine lovers usually start out with taste preferences in the more in your face category and as their palate develops will look for more complex and subtle wines.

Meet the Candidate: Shane Reti

Shane Reti

Shane Reti is National’s candidate who hit the headlines for breaking up a fight in his electorate earlier this year. He’s a medical doctor and wants to be the next MP for Whangarei. We had a few questions for him: 

As an MP what do you hope to change in New Zealand society?

I would like to make geekiness cool and acceptable, to encourage students into the sciences. We need to move past improvisation and towards innovation.

What is something that we wouldn’t know about you that we probably should?

Bill Clinton was the motivational speaker at an expensive speaking engagement in Auckland a few years ago. I was a government appointed member of the Northland DHB and a member of the monthly Hospital Advisory Committee. The advisory committee needed a speaker for their monthly meeting and I suggested Bill Clinton as he was in town that month.

Everyone laughed and moved on. I, on the other hand, wrote to Bill and offered the invitation suggesting that while we could not afford a speakers fee we did have most delicious club sandwiches. The Northern Advocate picked this up at the next board meeting and before you knew it there were local competitions for “Where will we take Bill” if he comes to Whangarei!

Who is a political figure, past or present, that inspires you?

I am inspired by Georgina te Heuheu. Her path through the judicial system was persuasive and her grace and composure as an MP and a minister was exemplary.

If you were inviting John and Bronagh Key to your place, what would you cook for them, and why?

I love to cook and I would probably cook one of my favorites for John and Bronagh which is basically cold roast lamb with a range of side options including mashed potatoes, baby carrots, mint green peas, brown onion gravy, and a green side salad. The real Kiwi touch would be Rewena bread.

5 Things You Need to Know About The Budget

 

Young Nats Policy Chair Nick Cross breaks down the essential elements of today’s budget. 

1) Back into Surplus

The final budget delivered by Michael Cullen in 2008 predicted a decade of deficits, leaving a legacy of debt for today’s young New Zealanders. Despite running surpluses during the good times, Labour’s 3rd term spending binge had prepared New Zealand poorly for the GFC. This budget confirms that National has succeeded in turning that around in two terms, with a small surplus of $372 million predicted for the 2014/15 financial year. That surplus is set to grow to $1.3 billion in 15/16.

Most importantly the government is doing this without raising taxes which would burden the recovery. The government has also announced what might qualify as the most miniscule tax cut in history by abolishing cheque duty. Hopefully there will be more news on this front before the election.

2) Long Term Debt is tracking downwards

One of the government’s core goals was to get Net Core Crown Debt to 20% of GDP by 2020, and this budget shows we are on track to achieve that. That would effectively put debt at very manageable, pre-GFC levels. Debt was previously projected to blow out to 40% and beyond.

3) Economic Growth: Full Speed Ahead

You only need one figure: Real GDP growth is set to hit 4% or just under for 2014. That’s huge for New Zealand, and the growth will flow through to wages and jobs as it’s already doing.

Average weekly wages grew by 3.2% over the last year, with inflation being just 1.5%. There are also 84,000 more people with jobs now than a year ago, a figure that reflects National’s commitment not just to create jobs, but to help break the cycle of dependence for welfare recipients who previously wouldn’t have been looking for work (and thus wouldn’t have been considered unemployed). Labour force participation increases from 67.9% in 2013 to 69% in 2014.

4) Focus on the things that matter in Education

Rather than making the education portfolio a cash cow for middle class welfare recipients, the government continues to focus on the most vulnerable and in need. $359 million has been allocated towards the government’s executive teachers and principal’s policy to put top teachers into underperforming schools. $156 million more will go to early childhood education, which is where evidence shows the most difference can be made. Lifting participation in ECE has been a core benchmark for improving long term outcomes for those most in need. $11 million more will go into assisting vulnerable children, following the progress of Paula Bennett’s Vulnerable Children’s Bill.

5) A focus on Science, Innovation and Jobs in Tertiary

Of the $198.6 million more allocated towards tertiary education, $136 million goes towards science and innovation in the tertiary portfolio. This will ensure lower fees for many courses in science, agriculture and health through a fee subsidy. $57 million more goes into science and $58 million into research and development. Science is a key part of the long term future of the New Zealand economy. There is also funding for 6000 more apprentices and $100 million to assist those on welfare into work. This will assist with unemployment falling to 4.4% over the next three years.

Meet the Candidate: Wayne Walford

Wayne Walford

Wayne Walford is National’s candidate for Napier. He is a business leader, and CEO of Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, he was the campaign manager for National in Tauranga – the election that unseated Winston Peters. Wayne is of Ngati Porou descent and is a true Hawke’s Bay local. You can follow him on Facebook, and on Twitter

What is your biggest policy goal for your time as an MP?

We need a strong economy to enable us to make good choices for Health, Education, Law and Order.  I have a reasonable knowledge of Economics but I give way to those who are passionate about this and will support them with creative, intuitive design and passion for people achieving their potential.

Having worked in Health, Education and the Arts I am very keen to see policies that support the development of skills and jobs that will attract our young talented people back to NZ.  Centres of excellence around research and development.
Concepts like design centres that give people permission to be creative and develop strong future based businesses.

What is something we should know about you but probably wouldn’t know already?

I can design, make can make patterns and create my own clothing.  I love fashion and the opportunity to express oneself through design.

What’s your favourite drink?

I am not a beer drinker and enjoy a range of Wines. Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay,  Hawke’s Bay Rose, Pinot Noir, big  Hawke’s Bay reds – Cabernet Sauvignon and even the odd sticky. My wife and I enjoy entertaining and experiencing great wine with good people.

Meet the Candidate: Sarah Dowie

Sarah Dowie and Family

Sarah Dowie is National’s candidate in Invercargill. She is a lawyer, a mother of two, and the daughter of two police officers. If elected she’ll be the first ever woman to represent Invercargill. We sent her some questions, to get to know her better. As you can see, a week is a long time in politics. Have a read of her responses:

What is the one law you’d like to enact, change or repeal, if elected?

I would like to see a total ban of Psychoactive substances. In my opinion they are unproven with respect to the effect and risks associated with their use and I do not buy the argument that ‘legalising’ this type of product necessarily means control.

Who would you call your political inspiration or role-model?

I’ve answered this type of question before… so I’d better be consistent. Kate Sheppard or Emmeline Pankhurst. They had a vision and a passion for Women’s rights, put in place a plan, faced prejudice and physical harm yet overcame this, and achieved their goal.

But not only this, and especially in Emmeline’s case – she installed the values of democracy and freedom in her children whom also became politically active and effective. My daughter who is four, is called Christabel, the same as Emmeline’s first born …. A coincidence, and a family name, I promise!

From more modern times, I have always really liked Katherine Rich. She is a talented woman who has also balanced politics and career with her family. She also has integrity – see her valedictory.

What is something we should know about you but don’t already?

In 1990 as a 15 year old I danced (ballet and jazz) with a semi professional troupe in the Soviet Union. Communism still encased the country at this time, though Gorbachev was effecting reform. This experience caused my first political epiphany.

If you had to take a member of the opposition out for coffee in your electorate, who would you take?

Shane Jones – because I think if you took him out for an Irish coffee, he would be great fun! In other words, he comes across as one of those likeable rogues who enjoys robust debate. Hence, I’d take him to the Monteiths Bar, The Kiln on Don Street, Invercargill – one of my favourite haunts!