National party candidate promises a strong voice for Hamilton


Tama Potaka, National Party’s candidate for Hamilton West (Image Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, September 28, 2023

From community issues to trade and industry, from health to Crime prevention, Hamilton will surely have the work cut out for the next government, and National Party candidate Tama Potaka is ready to action change.

Hamilton West has been in focus since the by-elections last year, which saw Tama Potaka represent the constituency in the Parliament.

In an interaction with Indian Newslink, Mr Potaka shared, “I have spent the time so far in knowing my constituents and creating a relationship of trust. I have gained an understanding of protocols and functioning of the system first hand and I feel I am prepared and ready to be an effective representative for my fellow Hamiltonians.”

He said, “I have an existing relationship with Waikato business communities, and I feel like understanding their aspirations and offering them the right support would be crucial so that they continue their positive support for community and city by the way of commerce, charity and engagement.”

Matters of discussion

The Hamilton West electorate comprises the inner city district of Hamilton and the suburbs west of the Waikato River, from Fitzroy and Glenview in the south to Te Rapa Park and Pukete in the north as well as the Flagstaff area on the eastern side of the Waikato River. The western boundary is marked by the suburbs of Temple View and Western Heights, and the area east of Lake Rotokauri.

Just like the area, the matters that need to be discussed are also diverse and multi-layered. Mr Potaka agreed and said, “We are a diverse and multicultural city. But in my constant interactions, Crime, cost of living, economy and Health sector concerns are a common thread.”

People in Hamilton are feeling unsafe and they need something to be done.”

Mr Potaka had visited a vape shop on the same day that had been subjected to repeated instances of robberies.

“Violence is still present and it is unfair for businesses to work in fear and face constant interruptions due to crime and violence.”

Waikato Hospital is another crucial point of discussion for the constituents. Mr Potaka said, “Waikato Hospital is a large establishment which caters to a large number of people from the entire Waikato and neighbouring regions. We know that things are not in order and our hospital staff is under pressure. They are growing tired of repeatedly sharing their struggles and not getting any answers.”

Medical Boom

National has promised to establish a third medical school in Hamilton, to address what leader Christopher Luxon said is a health “workforce crisis”.

The creation of the New Zealand Graduate Entry Medical School (NZGEMS) is based on the proven success of international models of community-engaged graduate entry-only medical schools.

Talking about the announcement, Mr Potaka said, “We have a massive shortage of medical practitioners and by funding the University of Waikato, we will be able to create more spaces for New Zealanders to stay in the country and be trained, instead of flying overseas to study.”

He said, “Waikato is a big hospital and having a medical school in the city is sure to provide the added support to the region. With varied disciplines covered from preventative medicine, chronic disease management, mental health, child health and acute care medicine, we will be able to provide the required additions to the workforce, while making more seats available for the students to study their preferred stream of education in Hamilton.”

The campaign run in Hamilton gets busy as the election day approaches (Image Supplied)

Housing matters

Mr Potaka has strong views on the current housing situation and wants to see the government take a back seat in the provision of housing. He advocates for solutions to emergency housing that are sustainable and practical.

He said recently that economic and regularity dials need to be in the right place so there is a mix of housing provision both by the government and mainly by private developers, community providers, iwi and others who want to provide housing, whether that is social and transitional housing through to market housing.

“Right now the dynamic in terms of the economic dials and the regulatory dials in our view, the view of the National Party and myself, are not in the right place where you can grow and deliver housing at scale. They are definitely in a place where government, given its low cost of capital and some other attributes, can deliver at scale but that skews the market and in my view that is problematic,” Mr Potaka said.

Ethnic Communities in Hamilton

Mr Potaka mentioned how ethnic communities play a crucial and highly valued role in Hamilton’s social and economic weave. He said, “Our ethnic families are highly engaged and focused in all discussions. They are active members who enhance our cultural identity while working hard and contributing to the growth of Hamilton and I am ready to work hard and advocate their passions and highlight their vision for Hamilton moving forward.”

He also shared how the announcement by the National Party regarding the changes to the Parent and Grandparent Visa was a step in the right direction. He said, “Strong whanau connect is valued by all ethnic communities, and it matters equally to us. We have witnessed the lack of support for these hardworking families and I personally believe that family is crucial for one’s personal and emotional well-being. I am happy that the families can look forward to having their loved ones join them and flourish together.”

“Moving ahead, I look forward to being a strong voice for Hamilton and work towards creating a stronger community where both commerce and community can thrive.”

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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