This is the last column you’ll read from me before the Mt Roskill by-election this Saturday 3 December. As I sat down to write this, I found myself presented with a lot of different things I wanted to talk about.
I considered summarising my strong local plan. A plan I’m very proud of. It focuses on reducing crime, better local transport, more affordable housing, backing local businesses, investing in education and improving healthcare.
I could have written about my background as a scientist, a businesswoman, a mother, a community advocate, and a hardworking List MP.
I would have liked to go into more detail about how proud I am to call myself an Indian New Zealander, a Kiwi, and supporter of all ethnic communities.
And I could have talked about how this is an historic opportunity to elect the first Indian New Zealander in an electorate seat, as opposed to on the list.
Instead, I want to talk to you about something far more important. I want to share some stories from the people I’ve met out on the campaign trail and those I know from my 20+ years of being involved in this area.
I’m talking about business owners like Johannes. He gets up at 5:30am each day, works until about 6:00pm at night, and then goes home to split his time between paperwork and spending time with his family.
He loves his business and doesn’t mind working hard. He tells me he doesn’t expect the Government to fix all his problems, but appreciates everything the National Government has done to reduce red tape for small businesses. Johannes says he’ll support me because I share his experience running a small business and because I share his family values and work ethic.
There’s people like Maureen, one of the lovely seniors we have living in the electorate who has lived here almost all her life. She told me she didn’t vote for National at the last election, and loved Phil Goff, but that she would support me. Maureen lives in social housing, something she says she knows is a privilege and not a right.
She is proud of her home, treats it well, and is pleased to see that National is investing a huge amount improving the quality and supply of social housing for people like her who need a bit of extra help to have somewhere safe and secure to call home. Maureen said she’s voting for me because I’ve worked hard to help others who need social housing, and because I’m a strong advocate for better social housing in Mt Roskill.
I’ve met people like Pradeep. We’ve seen each other at lots of local community events – temple and public meetings talking about the quality of bus stops in the electorate. Pradeep is a proud local and a proud family man. Last week he invited me to join his family for a very special occasion, his grandson Shubhankar’s first birthday.
One of my fondest memories is celebrating one of my own son’s first birthday here in Mt Roskill, so of course I was honoured to attend. My opponents criticise me for focusing on things they say are too local, but I’m the type of person who thinks there is no issue too big or too small for a dedicated local MP.
These are just a few of the many, many people I’ve come across who aren’t of much interest to the media, so you don’t see people like them on the front pages or broadcast at 6pm. They’re not actively talking about how much money they’ve made or how many square metres their house is.
They’re just ordinary people who love living in the Mt Roskill electorate, love Auckland, love New Zealand, love their families, and celebrating their diverse cultures in their own way.
They know candidates who are so desperate to get into Parliament will say and do anything, and they’re more interested in having a local electorate MP who has a local track record of experience and success in getting things done.
There’s a quote in the Bhagavad Gita that I love:
In battle, in the forest, at the precipice in the mountains, the good deeds a person has done before defend them.
For over two decades, I’ve poured my heart and soul into Mt Roskill and all its communities. I’ve worked hard for you and your family, and I’ve gotten results.
In this by-election, I am the clear choice and I hope to have your vote.
Voting closes 7pm Saturday 3 December - for information on where and when you can vote visit www.parmjeetparmar.co.nz/voting