I am becoming more convinced than ever that, in David Seymour’s words, something big is happening with the Act Party. There are several reasons for this. First the party’s gradual rise in the polls. I believe the peak prior to this election has not yet been reached. Second, the party’s campaign launch at the ASB Waterfront Theatre is a sellout and more seats have been added to accommodate those wanting to go. This venue holds about 680 people. Who would have thought that at the beginning of this year? Third, the calibre of person standing. The list has now been released.

Obviously David is at the top. There is a new deputy who looks the goods in more ways than one! Brooke Van Velden stood for Act in Auckland Central in the last election. She is qualified in international trade and has had private sector experience as a corporate affairs consultant. Her political experience has been gained working as a parliamentary adviser to David Seymour. Both these roles have given her a deep understanding of the economy and the effect big government policies and rushed laws have on businesses and individuals. She switched from the Green Party to Act while studying economics and international trade at Auckland University.

At number three is Nicole McKee. She is a small business owner and has delivered firearms safety education in rural and isolated communities for the NZ Police. She has a background in law, firearms component imports, was the coordinator of the nations volunteer firearms safety instructors for the Mountain Safety Council as well as being the spokesperson for the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners and it’s Fair and Reasonable campaign. In short, she probably knows something about guns. Also a non-pakeha for diversity.

Number four is Chris Baillie, a secondary teacher, ( bet he feels lonely at work), and former police officer. He resides in Nelson where he owns a bar employing thirty people. Good mix of occupations there.

Number five is Simon Court who works as an engineer. Simon has a Down syndrome son so obviously has an interest in that area. He will stand in Te Atatu.

Act President Tim Jago said among the candidates were End of Life Choice advocates, a former police officer, two teachers, two lawyers, three farmers, four engineers, eleven business owners and thirteen licensed firearm owners. Jago said the calibre and experience of candidates would impress people from every persuasion. I don’t disagree.

Van Velden and McKee are smart choices at two and three. The gun lobby is sewn up and there is plenty for the voter to ponder when considering a party vote for Act. I can only see things continuing to improve for the party.

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