What Year 9 social studies should have taught you: Election Guide 2017

By now, you’ve probably been notified by the road corner overflowing with freshly printed billboards and your Facebook feed being plastered with your relatives’ annoying shared posts; It’s once again time again for another general election!


With less than a week to go, every vote matters. Living in the safe seat electorate doesn’t mean your vote won’t make a difference. Under MMP, every voter gets two votes: a party vote and an electorate vote. Not only can an electorate be flipped, but the system ensures that your party vote counts towards the final distribution of MP’s in Parliament so that your votes are not wasted.


Why You Should Vote

The last general election had a record low turnout of 77%; the second lowest since 1893. Political scientists and pollsters had a name for the 23% who were enrolled and didn’t bother to vote– they named them…idiots. It’s illogical to not vote and proceed to complain when you’re unhappy with the results. Why do politicians seem to listen more to old people? Because old people vote. As of right now, only 67% of 18-24 year olds have enrolled to vote; while 97% of over 70’s are ready to vote. We’re the ones that are going to be the most affected by the decisions being made in Parliament right now, yet we’re seem to care the least.


Go out, get enrolled and spend 30 minutes doing research and then tick some boxes. Even if you can’t vote yet, you’ll certainly do so at some point in your life, and it never hurts to be informed


If you slept through Year 9 Social Studies (or just forgot), then here’s a helpful video that’ll get you up to speed on the MMP voting system, which is the reason why you have two boxes on your ballot.


The Candidates

We’ve summarised information about the 4 electorate candidates standing in Pakuranga. The electorate include candidates from the National, Labour, Greens and the Maori Party. These candidates are running from Pakuranga to Farm Cove, to Howick and all the way up to Bucklands Beach.


To find out which electorate you’re in, check here. Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn about voting information and to access other resources.


Simeon Brown (National Party)

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  • Brown is 25 and lives in Clendon Park.
  • He graduated with a law and commerce conjoint degree from the University of Auckland. He is currently a commercial banking associate working for a major New Zealand bank .
  • He was elected to the Manurewa Local Board in 2013 and is its Deputy Chair. He stood but lost in the last general election as National’s candidate for Manurewa.
  • In his time as the Deputy Chairman of the Manurewa Local Board, he successfully lobbied in a campaign to ban the sale of synthetic cannabis and legal highs across Auckland, which then led to nationwide reform.

“One of the main reasons I got involved in politics is simply because I wanted to effect positive change within my community, and I believe the best way to do that is to stand up and get stuck in. I’m a strong believer in working with and for your neighbours and community, and my focus will always be on the people I represent and what I can do to help them… If elected as the next Member of Parliament for Pakuranga, I will bring with me a clear set of priorities:

1) Smarter transport solutions that don’t punish motorists, and that find the right balance between improvements in roading infrastructure for everyday drivers, and public transport options

2) More police and increased community safety, to ensure we all get to enjoy that basic right to feel safe in our own homes.

3) Support for Pakuranga families and local businesses, as this Electorate is full of hard-workers and entrepreneurs who should have every opportunity to reap the benefits of a strong, growing economy.

4) Continued improvements in educational achievement, so all young people can leave school having had a world-class education that prepares them for whatever they dream of doing next.

5) Well-resourced local health services, which will be there to look after our community and pick us up whenever we fall.

I’m passionate about East Auckland, and I look forward to being a strong voice for those that live here.” — Simeon Brown

Facebook | Newsroom profile

Barry Kirker (Labour Party)

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  • Kirker is 48 and lives in Half Moon Bay
  • He holds multiple degrees in the areas of psychology from the University of Auckland and the University of Sydney.
  • Kirker has worked as a registered clinical psychologist for 20 years and now often prepares prepares psychological reports on defendants for the court and attends as an expert witness. He currently runs a small local business.
  • He stood for the same seat in the last general election but lost to the current incumbent.

“I am passionate about, assisting people as they seek to overcome an injustice or solve a problem. I would greatly value the opportunity to provide skilled advocacy and support as the area’s local MP.

  • I am a particularly focused on the continuing issues for individuals and families accessing Adult and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, as well as with Special Education services at schools.
  • I am standing for Labour because I want to see people who need health and specialist education services get them, as well as people having the security of owning their own home, and people working for wages they can live off.
  • As a business owner I want to see less corporate greed so small business can flourish. I want to live in a society where all people feel secure and have the opportunity to prosper. I particularly want to earn the trust of young first timer voters, and people who do not usually vote.
  • You will find me to be a genuine values-driven person who is brave in taking on issues in a straight up manner while having rationality, humility and compassion.” — Barry Kirker

Facebook | Times profile — Unfinished business

Guy Hunt (Green Party)


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  • Hunt holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a major in accounting from the University of Otago.
  • He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and currently works as CFO at a large retailer. He previously had worked both in the UK and New Zealand in the retail and technology sectors.

“Having worked in a number of businesses, community groups and countries over the past 12 years, I see the need for a fully sustainable approach to both business and our economy. We have a chance to be world leaders in sustainable change, and I believe we can do it. We need to incorporate the 3 legs of sustainable development, the environment, society, and a green economy. If we get these right, we can have a truly great country. Climate change is the biggest threat to future generations and we cannot ignore this as my generation, and our future generations, are going to feel the impact. I strongly believe in the Green Party policies, and principles.” — Guy Hunt

Suzanne Kelly (New Zealand First)


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  • Kelly is a local businesswomen and has run multiple companies with “extensive business networks in New Zealand and Australia”
  • She was a Westpac Manukau Business Award finalist in 2004 in recognition of her company’s growth in its first year of operation.
  • Note: The quote below is derived from an Eastern Courier article

“I believe Aucklanders and in particular the people of Pakuranga are suffering because our population is growing too fast. With around 45,000 people moving to Auckland every year, our hospitals are at capacity, with long waiting lists, a chronic shortage of doctors and schools bursting at their seams. With uncontrolled immigration and 250,000 work visas issued every year, there are now 800 more cars on our gridlocked roads each week … We need time to catch up and build the infrastructure, hospitals, houses and schools …With rising violent crime and the out-of-control P epidemic, we want a serious increase in front-line police on our streets. “NZ First is the only party that puts New Zealanders first ahead of big business and foreign investors.” — Suzanne Kelly

Facebook | Times profile — Kelly: Enough is enough

Carrie Stoddart-Smith (Māori Party)


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  • Stoddart-Smith lives in Eastern Beach and holds a conjoint degree in philosophy and law from the University of Auckland and a master’s degree in law from the University of Canterbury
  • Stoddart-Smith currently works as a Business Analyst at Te Puni Kōkir (the government’s primary advisory department on Maori issues). She’s previously managed Ministerial-led Trade Missions to Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

“If you elect me as our Pakuranga representative, together we will have the opportunity and relevant experience to use our collective voice to influence greater investment in our electorate so that we can:


  • Set up a Culture, Commerce and Community hub to:  grow the cultural wealth of our community through cultural exchange and language learning and to support local business to access all the services and products they need to grow their businesses. Design policy as an electorate collective with our community voice at the centre
  • Implement sustainable transport solutions that reduce the amount of time we spend in traffic, better connect us to other areas across Auckland and help our country achieve our carbon neutrality goals.
  • Develop community led approaches to justice that will keep our children, our families, our homes, and our community safe and free from violence.
  • Restore and protect our beaches, coastlines, and waterways for future generations. We will be able to champion a National Coastal Erosion Strategy to protect our environment, our people and our homes and ensure the government is accountable and not the rate payer.”


— Carrie Stoddart-Smith

Facebook | Times profile — “Maori party values actually align with the community”

Related articles:

Party Information

  • If you have no clue about which party to vote for, then you can take the Vote Compass test from TVNZ, which pulls in responses to a few poll questions and outputs a detailed result of which party’s positions most closely match your views.
  • If you need a TL;DR on every parties positions, then The Spinoff has a Policy browser which neatly organises each party’s policy on handy virtual cards.

Voting Information:

  • If you’re unsure of which electorate you’re in you can check here.
  • To get enrolled, you just need to be 18 and a citizen who has lived in NZ for more than a year. You can get an enrolment form from a PostShop or just text your name and address to 3676 to get an enrolment form sent to you.
  • If you’re enrolled, then these are the places to go on voting day for the Pakuranga electorate. Note that Macleans is in the list.
    • Elim Christian College, Junior Campus, 94 Golfland Drive
    • Botany Downs Primary School, 35 Mirrabooka Avenue
    • Botany Downs Secondary College, 575 Chapel Road
    • Elim Christian Centre, 159 Botany Road
    • St Columba Presbyterian Church, 480 Ti Rakau Drive
    • Bucklands Beach Intermediate School, 247 Bucklands Beach Road
    • Bucklands Beach Primary School, 107 Clovelly Road
    • Macleans College, 2 Macleans Road
    • Macleans Primary School, 10 Wycherley Drive
    • Stand Children’s Services, 1-9 Pigeon Mountain Road
    • East City Wesleyan Church, 219 Burswood Drive
    • Cockle Bay Playcentre, 17 Pah Road
    • Point View Primary School, 25 Kilkenny Drive
    • Rockabye Early Learning Centre, 122 Aviemore Drive
    • Cockle Bay School, 24 Sandspit Road
    • Howick Intermediate School, 1 Botany Road
    • Owairoa Primary School, corner Wellington & Nelson Streets
    • Auckland Fijian Methodist Church, 128 Whitford Road
    • Mellons Bay Primary School, 140 Mellons Bay Road
    • Our Lady Star of the Sea School, 14 Oakridge Way
    • Anchorage Park Primary School, 16 Swan Crescent
    • Edgewater College, 32 Edgewater Drive
    • Elm Park School, 46 Gossamer Drive
    • Farm Cove Intermediate School, 14-16 Butley Drive
    • Pakuranga College, 176-180 Pigeon Mountain Road
    • Pakuranga Heights Primary School, 77 Udys Road
    • Pakuranga Recreation & Youth Centre, 13c Reeves Road
    • Riverhills Primary School, 13 Waikaremoana Place
    • Sunnyhills Primary School, 17 The Crest
    • Panmure Community Centre, 7-13 Pilkington Road
    • Somerville Intermediate School, 39 Somerville Road

They’ll be open from 9am to 7pm on September 23rd.

If you are enrolled to vote and live elsewhere or need to place your vote in advance, you can find your voting places here.

Written by: Justin Hu 

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