SPEECH: Sam Uffindell Campaign Launch

Last Sunday I became National’s candidate for Tauranga and it’s been a whirlwind since then.

I’ve been door knocking and talking to local voters about their lives.

I’ve visited businesses large and small to talk about their ambition for Tauranga.

I’ve put up hoardings and delivered some of my own flyers and to be fair, it’s still sometimes a little weird to see my picture up around the place.

I want to thank every single one of you for being here today.

My heartfelt thanks to the many of you who are working hard and campaigning with me.

I also got to go on Tova yesterday – my first ever radio interview and I think Chris must have buttered her up for me because I really enjoyed it – talking about Tauranga and how we can make this the best city to live in New Zealand.

Sam

So I’m Sam Uffindell, National Party Candidate for Tauranga.

I’m 38.

I’m the Head of Financial Economic Crime for Rabobank New Zealand and we own a small agri-business in the Bay of Plenty.

I’m married to Julia, and I want to say thank you, bub, for all your endless love and support over the past ten years, and especially over the past two weeks!

We have three wonderful young children – Lily, Zippora and Teddy.

Lily turned five on Wednesday, and Lily, I want to say thank you for allowing us to move your birthday party from this morning to this afternoon to kindly accommodate our campaign launch.

We’re a very close family.

Julia and I have lived overseas for more than a decade where I worked in international banking.

Lily was born in Sydney. For Zippy and Teddy we returned to New Zealand so they could be born close to family in Tauranga.

A few years ago we had a conversation about our children.

The world offers a lot of opportunity. But we decided to sell up and return home so they could grow up here and call themselves Kiwis.

It is one of the best decisions we have ever made together.

But for us to fulfil our commitment to our children, we need to make sure that Tauranga and New Zealand is safe and offers them the best opportunities in their education, their careers and their lifestyle.

Issues

This week, local people told me they’re sick and tired of sitting in their cars trying to get from A to B.

They’ve said that Tauranga didn’t used to be like this but over the last five years it has ground to a halt.

The only good thing about that is voters get to see my signs for longer.

But this is a serious issue.

How can we have a vibrant local economy? How can we have the quality of life we deserve if the people of Tauranga are stuck in their cars?

Virtually every road that is currently under construction was announced by National and delayed by Labour.

We deserve better and fixing congestion and roading will be a priority for me as your Member of Parliament.

I see that a major supermarket has announced a price freeze on 500 grocery items yesterday.

They’ve worked out there is a cost of living crisis.

The people of Tauranga know there’s a cost of living crisis.

And I know many local families are having to choose between paying the bills or feeding the kids.

That’s not the country that I left a decade ago under a National-led government, and it’s not the country I want my kids to grow up in.

Under the strong leadership of Chris Luxon and Nicola Willis, National will get the cost of living and inflation under control and it would be a privilege to join them and the National team and work hard to help Tauranga families get ahead.

As the Tauranga Member of Parliament, my commitment will be to law-abiding citizens not to the gangs, criminals and those engaged in anti-social behaviour.

You deserve to be safe in your home and in our community.

I’ll fight tirelessly for Tauranga to get more than its fair share of police resources so that we can get on top of rising crime and gang intimidation.

On the radio yesterday we had a quick fire round of questions so I’m going to have one now.

I support democracy – we should be electing our own council.

I oppose Three Waters.

I don’t support co-governance – I believe in equal citizenship.

I’m in favour of less government not more.

And I want to be your MP so I can be part of Chris Luxon’s next government.

Vision

I have a vision to make Tauranga the best city to live, work and raise a family.

To do that we need world class infrastructure, education and health.

There is no reason why students from all around the world shouldn’t come to Tauranga to get their degrees.

We should be attracting the world’s best tech companies to come here and enjoy the lifestyle many of us are able to take for granted.

My campaign office is at the start of Devonport Road.

Many of the buildings around it are empty.

They could be retrofitted as free coworking spaces and tech hubs to bring people and life back into our CBD.

With New Zealand’s biggest port servicing a vibrant horticulture sector, we should be home to the world’s best agricultural, horticultural and aqua marine technological discoveries, producing a high skills, high wage economy here in Tauranga.

We will experience growth – it’s inevitable - because we are one of the most desirable places to live in New Zealand.

But this must be sustainable, it must preserve our green spaces and ensure our unique beauty so that the quality of life that we enjoy is enhanced and not taken away. 

Less than a week ago I was humbled to be chosen by you as your candidate for this by-election.

I make you a promise:

I will work tirelessly every day between now and the election to earn the right to call myself the National MP for Tauranga.

As your MP I will work hard every day to make you, my young family and the people of Tauranga proud of me.

Together we will get Tauranga moving again.

I will be your strong local voice for Tauranga.

Now I invite you to come and join me on the campaign trail – we have 28 days until early voting.

Join me to spread the word about Christopher Luxon and his vision for New Zealand and why we should vote Sam Uffindell, National, for Tauranga in this by-election.

Thank you.