From left: Dora Langsbury (Te Tai Tonga), Metiria Turei (Dunedin North), Rachael Goldsmith (Clutha-Southland), Myself (Invercargill).
Sue Coutts (Waitaki) left just before the photo was taken. Shane Gallagher (Dunedin South) and Alex Kruize (List Candidate) had work commitments that kept them in Dunedin.
This weekend we held one of our regular "Quarterly" provincial meetings in Invercargill and had five of our southern most candidates present. It was a great opportunity to compare campaigns and see where we could co-ordinate our efforts.
We had a number of people present to us over the weekend to provide different environmental, iwi and local government perspectives. The presentations confirmed to us that our three main election priorities have local validity and provided us with some "close to home" stories to support their existence.
One of the most compelling stories came from Michael Skerrett's presentation. Michael has a number of leadership positions within Ngai Tahu and is hugely knowledgeable and passionate about environmental issues. He described his long association with the Titi (Mutton bird) Islands and how his own experience and scientific research had provided some concerning evidence regarding climate threats to the birds' existence. Climate change appears to have a direct impact on the cycles of the El Nino/ El Nina oscillations. El Nino is the warm phase and while it is present the food sources for Titi are seriously limited. El Nino used to occur approximately every five years but recently the cycle has noticeably shortened and the Titi are struggling with increasing numbers of birds not surviving the breeding season. By digging up our lignite we are supporting the destruction of Titi!
All we Green candidates have close relationships with our communities and have first hand knowledge of how poverty, unemployment and environmental threats effect our electorates. The stories we witness and are related to us are compelling and no other party has practical solutions as convincing as ours to truly make a difference and give us some real hope for the future.