Wayne James used to work for the railroads, still lives near the train tracks in Islington, and still enjoys the sound of trains.
At 69, his working days are behind him, but he remains a staunch trade unionist and supporter of the Labor Party. Passionate about greyhounds, he credits Winston Peters for saving the racing industry, but isn’t grateful enough to vote for him.
When Things sightseeing, he is tough against a freezing wind and digs holes for a new fence with his wife, Jeanette, and a friend across the road, former concreter Rodney Anderson, 60.
Islington, in the western corner of Christchurch’s Wigram electorate, is a suitable place for the Plugging In tour, with his racy Nissan Leaf, to stop.
* Plug in … in Ilam where voters are divided over who should keep the wealth
* Plug in … in East Christchurch where voters talk about climate change and conspiracies
* Connect … to Waimakariri: will Nat voters be influenced by the Ardern effect?
* Connection …. to Christchurch Central
The seat, as secure for Labor as neighboring Selwyn’s electorate is for the national, is dissected by a highway, a railway line and a national road, and things are moving.
It has lots of tenants in Riccarton, traditional working-class suburbs like Hornby and shiny new housing in Wigram.
But back in Islington, Jeannette James, 65, who worked at the Westland Milk Plant, is overseeing the construction of the fence and will be in red.
“Jacinda is doing a great job. [Sitting MP] Megan Woods is an honest person. I will vote for them again.
Anderson considers himself lucky to be alive after five bowel operations. He is voting for the Labor Party this time.
He believes the country would have been riddled with coronavirus if National had been in power.
“It would have put a strain on the health care system, which would have affected people like me who need cancer treatment.”
Emma Cooper, 38, and her husband Grant, 46, are in Kyle Park with their daughter Sophie, 3, making the most of the blustery day by flying a kite.
Grant Cooper works in security and Emma Cooper is in retail, and they don’t find it easy to make a choice.
Emma Cooper feels a little overwhelmed by all the issues.
“There is so much going on in New Zealand. It is so hard to know what to do. Leaders have their pros and cons. “
The couple drive an electric vehicle and believe climate change is a significant issue.
“When you have kids, you have to look to the future,” says Emma Cooper.
Grant Cooper is also undecided, but he sees in his work how government cuts affect safety in his workplace.
“There is so much spin, it’s hard to say. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to change the captain of the ship at this point.
The Landing is a new commercial development in the middle of the Wigram Skies housing estate at the southern end of the former Air Force base. The view is a sea of rooftops with a lot more on the way.
Nancy Wasley, closer to 90 than 80, is a retired teacher who owns an apartment in Lady Wigram’s village. She says the main problem for her is health financing.
“I have always voted national, but this time that might change. Like most seniors, I think Jacinda made a difference. Part of it is her personality and her frankness.”
Greg Bain, 59, has lived in a townhouse in the area for four years and gets supplies at the supermarket. He works as a forklift driver in a cool room and doesn’t find the Antarctic winds blowing through the parking lot too uncomfortable.
He has been a Labor since his days in the freezer shops and “goes with the flow”.
“For me she is [Ardern] did nothing wrong. She did a great job. “
Ange Graham, 41, who is about to start a skin care business, struggles to throw a party.
“Jacinda did a great job, but the debt and all that. I have always been a national girl, but I feel that the party is not stable enough. But I couldn’t put a check mark next to the red one. My parents would deny me.
David Harrison, 54, who turns out to be a special type of operations and an international man of mystery, enters the scene. He does not trust the main parties and looks at the smaller ones.
Around lunchtime, we hook up in Spreydon, and Paul Davis, 48, supervises his son doing bike jumps near Pioneer Stadium. He runs a home sign business with his wife, Kelly, who also works as a kindergarten teacher assistant.
He’s voting nationwide at this point, but he likes David Seymour and is hoping the ACT will take a few votes from Winston Peters. The tax cuts promised by National are not very attractive to him, he says.
“I just have the feeling from the past that for small businesses they are better than Labor.”
Emma Postles, 36, takes care of her 3-year-old boy in the playground and has just gone on maternity leave. The cardiac physiologist is worried about the effect of dairy farming on the water quality in the region and like an avid skier fears that the bad ski season is a harbinger of climate change.
Her party’s vote goes to the Greens, and she believes they perform a useful function in making it harder for any coalition partner to do “stupid things”.
Robyn, the mother of two daughters, emerges from the Pioneer Pool with her two charges. She works full time with young adults and her husband uses large machines. She feels that Ardern understands her situation.
“Jacinda knows what it’s like to raise a family. You cannot do it alone. Where I am in life she seems to be focused on that.
Des Lamond, 81, walking Amber to Warren Park in Hornby, looks in much better shape than her Labrador-Collie cross. He takes her to the park three times a day and normally votes nationwide, but will go for the Labor Party this election.
The former owner of a commercial cleaning company says his most pressing issue is getting rid of the ‘fucking Covid’ and keeping the ship stable.
“Now is not the right time to change captains,” he said.
He thinks Peters has been a good watchdog, but his impending demise is “in many ways his own fault”.
In Sockburn, psychotherapist James Driver, 38, spends the afternoon caring for Elise, 3.
He and his wife, who have another child, are strong supporters of the Green Party.
“There is no greater challenge than climate change – ecological, economic, physical and mental health. I am voting on which party has the strongest position on how to mitigate its effects and prepare for it.
The Greens also have the best policies to tackle mental health, systemic racism and inequality, he says.
Kate Woolley, 28, is an outdoor teacher who rents a quaint cottage in Sockburn with her partner. Like many, she feels she needs to do more research before she votes, but it will be a draw between the Greens and Labor.
“I love Labor for the environmental side of things and maybe the Greens. What Jacinda has done in all of the testing she has had is impressive.”
The Plugging In tour takes place in a Nissan Leaf generously provided by EV City at 158 Wordsworth Street, Christchurch, firstname.lastname@example.org. Stuff is committed to reducing its carbon emissions.