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OPINION: On Tuesday November 2, I went to my PO Box in Kilbirnie to check my mail. There was a letter and bank statement, and I thought nothing of it.
James, who's my flatmate, checked the letter box back at home. The postie delivered two letters — one addressed to James and a second to Bradley (my other flatmate) — on the top had a return address to MP Nicola Willis, who twice stood for the National Party in Wellington Central.
I did a TikTok detailing letters delivered from Nicola Willis to my flatmates, but not me. I'd taken some calls to some I know within the Ohariu Electorate.
Some had received letters from Nicola, whereas others didn’t.
@samthemanwiththeplan2019a letter from Nicola Willis to my Flatmates but not me♬ original sound – Samthemanwiththeplan2019
At the Biden Household in Woodridge, Joe received a letter from Nicola, whereas Jill didn’t. Jill thinks that might be because she is a paid-up member of the Labour Party.
In Wadestown at the Addams family, Gomez, Lurch, and Fester got a letter but Morticia didn’t get one because she enrolled in the Te Tai Tonga Electorate.
The suburb of Broadmeadows, Mckay-Jones household of Callum and Justine received two separate letters, suggesting that might have happened because of their last names — Justine keeping her Maiden name.
Rollin' on to Newlands, I found Samatha Stephens disappointed she had to share a letter with her husband, Darrin Stephens.
Over in Ngaio at the Rafter Household, Dave, Julie and Ted all received separate letters from Nicola.
Crossing over to Tawa, where Bernard Woolley, former secretary to Prime Minister Jim Hacker, received a letter — he’s not sure if he will swing his vote behind Nicola, as he is Loyal to the Candidate, not the party brand.
Across the road in the Peterson Household, Carl and Molly got their individual letters, but Randy was disappointed not receiving one for himself. He recalls having supported the Labour Party with active membership might be a reason.
Back to Newlands. Cheryl West received three letters and realised they were from National, so they went straight into the bin unopened. Father in-law Ted was pleased he didn’t have to take a peek at the now binned letter.
In Churton Park, Brady Truebridge was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter in the letterbox, but was disappointed when she saw the return address. It went straight into the recycling bin.
These are merely some encounters from those who'd received a letter, with many Ohariu residents who also haven’t.
On Friday, I checked my PO Box, and there was a letter from Nicola. It was exactly the same as James', except addressed to me as Samuel.
There were two pages, one personalised, asking if I want to deliver flyers for Nicola, and the other about who she is.
A few local shots were included in the flyer and of the Potato Top Pie from Nada Bakery in Tawa.
Now this is only a theory, but I suppose Nicola sent so many letters to Ohariu enrolled voters, that she overflowed the Marsden Shopping Village post box on her first visit. She had to make multiple trips to that post box on a number of separate days, to get her letters out.
This explains why I received my letter at my six-day-a-week delivery PO BOX later than my flatmate’s letters which arrived at least one day earlier in our one-day-a-week delivery letterbox delivery at the front of our home.
I can thank Nicola for supporting the posties of NZ Post, who took this task to deliver these letters to our doorsteps.
Now, this is not the first time Nicola has sought to take an electorate. She twice attempted to win Wellington Central; the seat of MP Grant Robertson, who in 2017, had a majority of 9,963 ahead of her. In 2020, Robertson increased his majority to 18,878 while Nicola scored 107 more votes than James Shaw from the Greens.
Does Nicola expect she can dent Greg O’Connors' majority of 11,961 from the 2020 election in 2023 and become the first female MP to represent the Ohariu Electorate?
Nicola won’t be the first to tempt this fate. She will join the wall of female candidates, including The Opportunities Party’s Jessica Hammond, who twice attempted with an increase in electoral votes on her second attempt. The retired National MP, Katrina Shanks, nearly got as many votes in 2008 as Peter Dunne.
Will Nicola do as well as Hutt South MP Ginny Anderson, who was 710 votes short of toppling Peter Dunne in 2014? Will Nicola be prepared for the intense trail of around a dozen Meet the Candidate meetings?
This is a ritual all Ohariu Candidates must take before becoming the local MP, and something to consider, since in 2020 Nicola had to apologise at some Meet the Candidate Events in Wellington Central. Nicola would have to step back from being on a country-wide campaign, as these meet the candidate events are spread throughout the campaign period, and voters question why a candidate doesn't turn up, especially in Ohariu.
What other achievement has Nicola made?
In 2020, she expressed frustration with Minister of Children, Hon. Tracey Martin, over asking 64 questions. One was for every general electorate, but none for the Māori electorates. How many young people, if any, are on youth justice community-based placements in the Electorate and how does this compare to this time last year?.
Other achievements in the house include her bill, Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, which is at Select Committee at the moment and is aimed at improving the way body corporate run (including requiring all body corporate to have a long-term maintenance plan to avoid the sudden shock bills which some members have been subjected to in the past).
Nicola was a strong voice for Wellingtonians on the questioning of Greater Wellington Regional Council when the 2018 Bus Network Change happened but turned into a Disaster. She championed for those who weren’t being heard.
So, does Nicola feel like she's up to the commitment of being a full-time Ohariu constituent MP, if she is successful in 2023, or will it be better to stay on the list to focus on her passion – Housing?
Sending letters is a easy start but you got to put the hard work in to gain the support of the Ohariu Voters, who understand MMP and how to maximize each vote.
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