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The Big Debate

The Big Debate

The Big Debate

Wednesday, 27 September 2023 (7:00 PM - 8:00 PM) (NZDT)


We invite you to join us for the Stuff/Marlborough Express and Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Big Debate, an insightful and informative event in the lead-up to the highly anticipated 2023 general election.

We bring you an engaging debate between the current local candidates from the main parties to help you make an informed and purposeful decision when it comes time to vote. The debate will be moderated by Pete Coldwell, CEO Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and Ian Allen, Editor The Marlborough Express.  

Meet the Candidates:

🟦 Stuart Smith, National MP for Kaikōura 

Stuart comes from a Canterbury family that were fifth generation sheep & deer farmers. He is married to Julie and father to three adult age children - Hugo, Louis and Fenella.

Stuart and Julie moved to Marlborough in 1994 and began growing grapes. In 1996 they established their own wine label and Stuart became interested in the wider Viticulture industry. He had an early involvement with the Marlborough Grape Growers Association.

Since then he has held several local and national roles including being President of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. He was subsequently inducted as a Fellow of the New Zealand Winegrowers Board for services to the industry.

He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

In 2014 Stuart entered Parliament winning with a majority of around 11,000 votes and successfully held his seat in the 2017 election by a similar number.

He is spokesperson for Energy and Resources, EQC and Viticulture. 

🟥 Emma Dewhirst, Labour Candidate for Kaikōura 

Emma is from a long-established Marlborough family and lives in Blenheim with her partner Shaun.

They have two young children and being someone who likes to get things done, Emma has been President of Blenheim Playcentre for the last 18 Months.

Emma worked in London and Melbourne managing projects and teams, she is currently working remotely in the regional sector. 

In our electorate Emma will seek more Labour initiatives that deal with our desperate shortage of affordable housing. She aims to work with our nurses and doctors to help resolve the needs in our health system, and will support our teachers and parents to get the resources to ensure our children get the best possible start.

Jamie Arbuckle, New Zealand First Candidate for Kaikōura 

Jamie is a Marlborough District Councillor with over 13 years’ experience in local government. He has worked across all facets of Council, is an RMA Hearings Commissioner, and Chair of the Economic, Finance & Community Committee.

Jamie is well known from his time at local markets and for his family’s long involvement in farming and fruit growing in the region. Jamie completed his Business and Management Diploma at NMIT. Married to Sally, they have four children aged 15-23. You will often find them at sporting and community events.

🟨 Keith Griffiths, ACT Candidate for Kaikōura 

A new ACT Party candidate, Keith Griffiths, is a Nelson resident with a background in finance and banking.   

Having lived in the top of the south for 12 years, Keith is very familiar with Marlborough, having enjoyed “a lot of sailing through the Sounds”, and had been lucky enough to complete an Outward Bound course in Anakiwa. Keith is already planning to move into the wine region in the near future.

Keith has worked for companies such as Westpac in an investment management role, UBS in an asset management role, and more recently with the Bank of New York Mellon.

A lot of his work had been tied to government policy and working with government agencies, and he had always had an interest in the Government’s decision-making process.

🔲 Ted Howard, Independent Candidate for Kaikōura  

⏹️ Sandra Campbell, Democracy NZ Candidate for Kaikōura

Why You Need To Be There?

If you’re in business, it is crucial to stay abreast of the latest developments, future policies, and economic outlooks each party is offering. This debate will give you a unique opportunity to grasp their plans, strategies, and vision. 

This is your opportunity to be part of the conversation. You can submit your questions to Pete Coldwell 

Marlborough Girls' College
21 McLauchlan Street
Blenheim, Marlborough District 7201 New Zealand

Main Hall

Event Contact
Zoe Gray
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Wednesday, 27 September 2023 (7:00 PM - 8:00 PM) (NZDT)
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