G’Day Mates! As many of you know, I have been working for the New Zealand Labour Party in Auckland these past three weeks, but not anymore. I recently had the opportunity to move to Wellington to work on Ginny Andersen’s campaign. She’s a new Labour candidate in her district of Hutt South and it’s a tight race, so there’s a lot of work to do!
Wednesday night I moved into my new homestay. I’m living with an elderly woman named Ruth, along with another fellow. Ruth is an absolute delight. She treats us as if we were her grandchildren – stuffing our faces with yummy dinners and desserts, telling us stories from when she was younger, and giving us a few history lessons on New Zealand. My room is also wonderful, as I have my own little nook overlooking the entire city.
Thursday we had an orientation with Ginny and her team. It went very well and I became even more amped to work for her. She is the most personable, caring, and humorous woman I have ever met. She is extremely honest, does not avoid the tough questions, and her passion to bring positive change to New Zealand was evident from the moment I met her. Ginny’s top concern at the moment is quality access to mental health care in Hutt South. New Zealand ranks on the top of the list for teen suicide, yet the subject of mental health remains a taboo subject. We are currently planning a community forum centered around mental health to create a community action plan to address the issues surrounding mental health care. Ginny wants to hear directly from the community members to better understand how she, as a future member of Parliament, can serve the needs of the constituents.
As if Ginny wasn’t amazing already, she got the fellows on her campaign tickets to see Helen Clark give a lecture on human development. Helen Clark is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administer of the UN Development Program. She gave an impressive lecture regarding job development in both developed and developing countries, as well as the importance of why we must focus on job growth. After her lecture, we had the opportunity to meet her and snag a photo. While professional while giving her speech, she was extremely relaxed and casual once you met her in person. Clark is undoubtedly an impressive woman and someone I will always admire.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were spent canvassing across Hutt South with Ginny and the team. While it was cold and rainy, I honestly had such a good time meeting and speaking with the voters, hearing their concerns, and letting them know how Ginny would provide the change they desired. After our first day of canvassing, Ginny took us all out to dinner and we all had a blast!
Apart from campaigning and attending lectures, I’ve been doing some exploring in Wellington and I absolutely love it! Wellington has more of a city feel to it than Auckland, as everything is more compact. So far I took the cablecar up to the top of a mountain, walked around the botanic gardens, and had the most wonderful view of the city! Saturday night, all the fellows in Wellington met up at a pub to watch the All Blacks vs. Lions rugby game. To everyone’s disbelief, the Lions won! It was quite an exciting game and it was so much fun to experience a rugby match in New Zealand. The fans were amazing and so entertaining.
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more adventures and campaign updates.