Rub-a-dub-dub, as election day looms a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker of Hamilton West share their concerns.

The Butcher

For Dinsdale Countdown butcher 20-something-year old Lee, the election is something he hasn’t really thought about.

Tax is a bit of a concern for him, as are the country’s beneficiary and crime punishment systems.

Butcher: Lee is all for lowering taxes.

Butcher: Lee is all for lowering taxes. Photo: Libby Kissick

The sole butcher at the supermarket meat section feels tax money should be spent well rather than “flitted around on planes”.

“I’m all for lowering taxes, mate,” says Lee.

As long as those in charge are honest, he is not fussed who takes out this election.

“I’d like to have less people taking advantage [of the beneficiary system] and the crime punishment needs to be sorted out. It is real soft in this country.”

He says drug testing those getting monetary support from the government should become the norm.

In an ideal world the cost for stealing would be a finger as they get a lot of thieves coming in and nicking produce.

“We can’t go around lopping off hands ’cause there’s all the cost of rehabilitation that goes with it. ACC and all that,” he jokes.

The Baker

Gailer’s Cake Kitchen Ltd owner Sharon Smith also wants to see a change from the next government.

Running both Victoria and Anglesea Street bakeries for 16 years now, Sharon, 43, believes less people should be on the dole and benefits.

“I have people coming in here asking me to sign letters saying they have had a job interview, when they haven’t. Then they get abusive when I won’t sign.

“They have no energy because they are not motivated. The ones on the dole, why not get them down to help clean up Christchurch?” says Sharon.

She too would like beneficiaries drug tested and the concept of work crews readopted by Work and Income.

“We used to have the PD System where those on the benefit would report to the Ministry of Welfare centre and the first 50 through the door were taken out to work. The work crews maintained gardens in schools and around the community…and a lot got pride from doing it.

“Some got full time work from it because they proved they could do the work. They weren’t sitting at home getting money for nothing.”

As for who should take over the nation’s ropes Sharon feels National should get another go.

“We need to start looking after the small businessman. We [Gailer’s Cake Kitchen] get hammered a lot.

“So come in, say what you are going to do and do it. But don’t sell our assets. I know it may seem like it will help us in the long run, but it won’t.”

The Candlestick Maker 

Owner of self-started vintage wares business Reloved Vintage and frequent Tamahere Market stall holder Amber Bold, 34, is a National voter.

“Labour are idealists in the current economic situation and we need the financial wisdom of John Key to this country through it.

Candlestick maker: Vintage teacup candles from Reloved Vintage.

Candlestick maker: Vintage teacup candles from Reloved Vintage. Photo: Libby Kissick

“Them [Labour] with the Greens have lovely ideas but we have to be realistic. Labour is about helping those ‘in need’ but have the extreme view to bleed the rich to feed the poor.”

The mother of two and her husband are in the midst of home renovations in an effort to accommodate Amber’s vanilla scented teacup candles and plate clock creations.

The 20 square metre extension to the family home has a 1970s stainless steel sink fitted to a wood veneered cabinet – matching her business’ “reloved” style of giving new life to the old/vintage.

Both she and her husband had to work hard to get where they are today.

“Sure if people need a hand, help them, but help them to help themselves. You need education to get that self-confidence. How empowering is it to get money every week as opposed to bludging off the government?

“I went four to six months without work when I got out of school. I refused to take subjects at school I didn’t really need and worked in dairies, did weekend shifts …all the jobs no-one wanted to do. And work experience.  I ended up at State Insurance for 10 years, where I met my husband.”

According to Amber when Labour got into government her husband wanted to move to Australia.

“He started on nothing and made his own [success]. He is manager of New Zealand Insurance here in Hamilton but started off as a lonely cashier, working in an office.”

What started out as two mums having a go – Amber and a fellow appreciator of vintage wares who has now gone into real estate with her husband – has turned into a popular business.

A suggestion to send images of their vanilla candles in old glassware, floral-patterned china to Auckland businesses Garden Party and IkoIko lead to a road-trip to Auckland with a boot-load of candles.

Amber cannot wait to get into to her finished workspace and not have to move candles so the toaster can be plugged in and she can cook toast.

“It will be nice to eat at the dining table again. No more “sorry kids we are eating in the lounge again!”

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