The Labour Party’s attempt to win over voters in Mataura did not go as planned on Sunday afternoon when nobody attended its meeting despite months of planning.
Clutha-Southland Labour candidate Cherie Chapman said people might not have attended because it was a Sunday or because it was too early in the election campaign.
The meeting was to be held at the Mataura RSA.
“It was really fruitful, because we had some great chats with locals in the RSA,” Mrs Chapman said.
“They had some great ideas,” she said.
“‘I wanted to have the opportunity to hear the reasons why we need to change the government, and the solutions Labour is putting forward.
“We are now on the top of developed nations in terms of number of homeless per head of population. We are one of the most expensive places to buy your own home, with housing affordability going from 33% to 5% in the last 10 years under a National Government.
“I would encourage people to put principles and policies above personalities in this election.
“Vote for what people stand for, not for how dynamic or charismatic they are.”
She had planned to talk about the “fantastic Labour solutions to the complexities of issues such as affordable housing, renting and health”, Mrs Chapman said.
“I took along a book with the policies in for people to read and ask questions.
“All [housing] rentals would have to have a WoF, particularly for insulation and heating.
“Health services would be increased and more accessible.
“Schools would be properly funded; early childhood schools would be required to have trained staff.
“Young people who are out the of system (not studying or employed) would be supported to get work and life skills and eventually become a part of the workforce,” Mrs Chapman said.
An issue she would like to see resolved was the storage of Ouvea premix, an aluminium byproduct, in the former Carter Holt Harvey paper mill in Mataura.
“I am also interested to find out why the kanakana (lampreys) have a disease that causes white rings on their bodies – what is this infection? Is anybody following it up?”
Mrs Chapman was joined by Green Party candidate Rachel Goldsmith on Sunday, whom she invited under the terms of the memorandum of understanding the two parties had signed.
“We work together, particularly in this very large electorate.