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ACT Announces First 49 Candidates From Small Business, Farming, Law And Engineering

ACT has today announced candidates with a range of talents who will stand from Northland to Southland for 49 of the 65 general electorates.

President Tim Jago says the Party is thrilled with the talent coming through to campaign for ACT. “The calibre and experience of our candidates on the hustings will impress voters of every persuasion. We have businesspeople, farmers, and professionals from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses and who want to protect and enhance our free society.”

Among the candidates are two teachers, two lawyers, three farmers, four engineers, eleven business owners, and seven licensed firearms owners.

Standing in Nelson is Chris Baillie, a full-time teacher who also owns a hospitality business employing 30 people. “I am standing because I believe in freedom, particularly free speech. As a business owner, I believe that less bureaucracy is the way forward for New Zealand.”

Toni Severin runs a successful business out of Christchurch that is also active in Auckland in Wellington. Standing in Christchurch East, she is a long time ACT supporter who has stood for the Party in previous elections. “I lived through the devastating Canterbury earthquakes and watched the community come together to rebuild businesses and homes. This year, we face Covid-19 and we must rebuild again, not just in Christchurch, but the whole of New Zealand.”

Some candidates are particularly motivated by the campaign for End of Life Choice. Stu Armstrong, standing for Selwyn, has campaigned passionately for the right to choose. Brooke van Velden, who is standing for Wellington Central, was acknowledged in national media for the role she played in passing the End of Life Choice Act. “End of Life Choice showed me how it is possible to make real positive change in Parliament. I want to take ACT’s values of personal freedom to Parliament for more positive change.”

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ACT’s candidates have been working through the Party’s ‘School of Practical Politics’ and are each campaigning for the Party Vote in their electorate, with one exception.

David Seymour is confirmed as the Party’s candidate for the Epsom Electorate, where he is a two-term incumbent. “I’ll be campaigning to my neighbours with the same two propositions I took to them in February 2014,” says Mr Seymour. “One is that I will be a diligent MP for the Epsom Electorate. Two is that, by voting for the ACT candidate, Epsom voters can gain a strategic advantage electing additional MPs. Even my opponents concede I am a good electorate MP, and the second message is as powerful as ever with recent polls indicating ACT will bring in three MPs.”

Three candidates have local government experience. Deputy Leader Beth Houlbrooke, standing for the new electorate of Kaipara ki Mahurangi, lawyer Carmel Claridge (Tamaki), and real estate agent Niko Kloeten (Port Waikato), have all served as elected representatives in local government.

Seven of the candidates are licensed firearms owners. Some have stood for ACT previously, while others have been driven to support ACT by last year’s offensive and ineffective Arms Amendment Act. They are standing because they believe New Zealand needs better firearm laws that treat licensed firearms owners with dignity and respect while closing the loopholes that allowed our nation’s tragedy in Christchurch last year.

Long-time party supporter and previous candidate Dr James McDowall is standing for Waikato where he raises his daughter and runs businesses. He led the development of the Party’s firearms policy. “I have supported ACT for 15 years. Being a member of two pistol clubs in the Waikato is a part of my life. I was proud that ACT stood for common sense when it mattered most,” says Dr McDowall.

ACT’s Northland candidate is Mark Cameron, a Ruawai dairy farmer. “The rural sector has been under considerable pressure from bad government policy over the past decade, but it has intensified in the past two years under this Government. It is not only that the Zero Carbon Act and water regulations are damaging to rural New Zealand, there is a feeling that we have been forgotten and I see the pain and anguish in my community daily. I’m standing for ACT to help put some balance and perspective back into politics when it comes to rural New Zealand.”

ACT will confirm candidates in the remaining electorates and the Party Board plans to carry out a ranking of the list on 28 June.

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