Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey has been facing a few critics lately, of the unseen kind. Forty of his election billboards have been vandalised around the electorate, He says MPs have to be resilient and his team is already working to get them back up.
Asked if he has any idea why his billboards are being targeted he said: “It could be young kids with too much time on their hands, it could be people who really don’t like what our government is doing but it could also be the wind.”
The Labour MP says employment in his electorate will be at the forefront of his campaign for re-election. Waiariki, especially his hometown of Rotorua with 1 in 5 people employed by tourism, has been hit hard economically by Covid-19. However, he says the mood in the electorate is positive with $300 million announced for the tourism sector as well as another $10 million directly to Māori in tourism.
“We can’t save every job but we can sure as hell try.”
He also says there are opportunities for those who have lost their jobs already. “Those people who have found themselves without a job, who maybe don’t have a job in the foreseeable future, might think about training in a different career. We are very short of tradespeople.”
While the pandemic still plagues other nations he is optimistic Aotearoa is on the right path.
“I’m constantly having a conversation with people about how their Covid-19 lockdown was. I think that is the single most defining issue of our term.”
“it was a tough time, it still is a tough time. We still have whanau who are coming back from all parts of the world, having lost their jobs maybe or just wanting to come back to what’s essentially one of the safest places on the earth at the moment.”