Meet the Candidate Meetings
Heading towards the general election the MAG team were just starting to get off the ground again and the first idea was to visit as many of the candidate meetings as possible. Under the banner of “Riders Are Voters” the aim was to establish a presence. With parliament closed and no Minister of ACC there is no one to protest at or challenge so talking to as many potential politicians as possible while they are trying to win votes was the plan.
Parking one bike per car park is to become standard practice and as close to the entrance as possible so we would be fully visible with flags flying.
Northcote - Beachaven
First up was the Northcote candidates meeting at the Beach Haven hall. This was the most entertaining of the meetings we attended as it was pretty much open to the public to ask questions.
MAG parked up by the entrance next to NZ First mobile music box on the back of a truck. We watched as many cars came in to the narrow dead end car park then had to reverse out again.
Jonathan Coleman (National) gave us a nod and acknowledged us as he strode into the meeting with his “Young Nats” support groupies. We were noticed. After a brief introduction from each of the candidates the Q&A began. More entertainment than watching the main leaders debate on TV. Richard Hills (Labour) was impressive for a young man starting out in his career versus the sly old fox of Coleman who came across as a bully.
We left before the end due to getting bored with the bun fighting. The starting up of the bikes caused the door to be closed to drown us out....Harleys... noisy things they are...should be banned. WIN!
Next was Glen Eden Baptist Church for the Kelston meeting. Kelston is a new electorate so this was wide open to a candidate to make a statement and ring in change. Previous correspondence with the fresh faced and full of enthusiasm Christopher Penk from National had him acknowledge excessive ACC levies for motorcyclists in his response to issues. WIN!
Carmel Sepuloni the Labour candidate was an impressive speaker but the most entertaining for us was Paul Sommer from the Conservative party. This time we stayed to the end as the Q&A was structured but the answers were very much the same as the Northcote meeting.
Finally a visit to Papakura for the out going ACC Minister Judith Collins.
It was here that MAG got the most attention. Asked to move our bikes (one bike per park) on to the grass to let the cars in. The riders refused and one attendee was heard asking for security to move the bikes. This meant one of us stayed with the bikes to ensure this did not happen. WIN! The most entertaining part of this meeting was the somewhat failed “tongue in cheek” comment by Kevin Stitt (Conservative) about not wanting to send his son to James Cook High School.
So what did we hope to achieve? The main aim was to start the process of letting the politicians know that MAGNZ is back and that we are not happy with the ACC levy situation. Reductions to cars and not to bikes is discrimination. Most we spoke to were sympathetic although that is more than likely an attempt to get votes. Did we succeed? Time will tell as will future action.
What we want:
Reduction of ACC Levies in line with cars
Removal of CC rating based levy
Removal of the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council (MSAC)