When I was growing up near Marton, my grandparents lived in a cottage on our property. This meant that I could see them whenever I wanted, so most days, after school, I’d drop in for a cup of tea and a chat.
Granddad believed that I should know how to debate, so often he would introduce a topic and we would each take a side and hammer it out. In this way he taught me to use logic, to reason and to see an argument from many angles.
I’m so grateful that my grandparents shared their wisdom with me. But I’m more grateful that they shared their love, time and care. I grew up feeling that I was part of a wider family unit and knowing how important I was to them.
My partner and I wanted our own children to experience this kind of upbringing and, for this reason, seven years ago we moved to this region, bringing us closer to extended family in Paekakariki, Levin and Palmerston North.
Our kids don’t get to see their grandparents as often as I saw mine, but their loving relationships with them are just as strong.
Not everyone wants this kind of family situation. But everyone wants to live in a community where they feel they are important to others, where they feel safe, nurtured and cared for
Everyone wants the children in their lives to have somewhere to go, where they can feel heard and can learn to express themselves.
We all want our children to be connected to the place they live, and to understand their responsibilities to each other . And everyone wants to know, that as we get older, we will all continue to be valued for our contributions to our families and our communities.
These were the values my grandparents held and that’s why they were staunch Labour supporters. These are the values that drew me to the Labour Party, and that highlight why I’m asking for your support in the forthcoming general election.
We are not numbers on a bank balance sheet and we don’t deserve to be treated as such.
We need leaders who understand the importance of family, friends and our connections within the wider community. I’m sure you’ll agree.
Editor’s note: We will also be asking the other local candidates for their personal statements for the coming election.