Wellington Central Candidates Forum in Aro Valley

This afternoon, Sue Kedgely joined representatives from National (Stephen Franks), Act (Colin du Plessis), the Workers’ Party (Don Franks) and Labour (Grant Robertson), to participate in a forum held at the flat of VUWSA President and Workers’ Party campaigner, Joel Cosgrove. The venue was packed, as many students joined with local residents to hear what the candidates had to say.

Media turned up in sufficient quantities to make manoeuvrability around the room difficult, and cheerfully hogged the open fireplace, a bulwark against the worsening weather which had seen the forum moved inside from the BBQ area.

The candidates began with a short presentation of their campaigns, followed by questions from the floor. Climate change, peak oil, public transport, food security and child poverty were all hot-buttons, handled expertly by Sue K, and with varying degrees of crowd heckling by other candidates. Stephen Franks arrived late, and was allowed a quick summary of National policy (“no, don’t stop, tell us everything” one heckler interjected…) before joining in on the panel responses to the current question from the floor.

The crowd spilled out into the garden, and down the hallway of the flat, with a PA system relaying the speakers’ words. This resulted in some heckling coming from “invisible” spectators, which prompted Grant Robertson to quip “I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and find out who belongs to that voice” at one point. All candidates responded graciously to the cramped conditions and varied levels of questions put forwards from the crowd. Both Sue and Grant had another forum to attend, so question time came to an end as they left, although informal discussions continued for some time amongst those attending.