`I’m here if you need anything’

Tofik Mamedov. Photo supplied

Labour Party candidate for Botany Tofik Mamedov knocked on 500 doors in and around the Golflands area, on the weekend.

The hard-working candidate, who arrived in New Zealand from communist Azerbaijan at the age of 16, admits that the pavement-pounding is a bit exhausting but he loves every moment of it.

“Out of the 500 people I met on the weekend, only three of them shut the door in my face. That’s not a bad outcome,” he smiles.

On the rest of the days, he finds time to personally hand write 200 cards that takes him around two to three hours each day.

“I’m here if you need anything,” he signs on the card.

He says that on the last count, he has door-knocked 11,000 homes since October 2016.

“Each day I write down the number of houses I visit. During summer I can visit around 500-600 homes,” he says.

It’s about connecting with people and finding out what they really want.

“Of course I was totally sunburnt and had worn out my shoes, but it’s the trust factor and accessibility that is most important for me.

“I may not have all the answers to all the different issues but I am there to listen to people’s concerns and help in any which way I can,” says the Labour Party candidate who runs his own Local Real Estate Group business.

“This is who I am. Also, once you have the trust of people it is very important to maintain it,” he says.

Being stuck in traffic for hours, travelling from Cockle Bay to the city was the trigger that pushed him into politics in 2013.

“I thought something has to be done about it, and someone needs to take a leadership role to make it happen. I have been lobbying for transport with the Labour Party all along.

“Last week, our Party announced a bus route from Howick to the airport. But I will not rest till we get light rail.

“I was talking to one of the residents in Cockle Bay who suggested there should be a mini bus to transport people from Cockle Bay, Shelly Park and the neighbouring areas to a central bus station and that, I think is a brilliant idea.”

He says that with Jacinda Ardern on board, they will start on the transport project from day one. “It won’t take 20-30 years to work on it.”

Talking about `the Jacinda effect’ he says that she has impacted young people to get involved in politics overnight.

Ms Ardern is going to be at the Te Tuhi Centre for Arts on September 2 for a meet-and-greet and will be spending time at the night market thereafter.

He says his personal slogan has always been `one team, one country, one success’.

“No matter where we are from, we are one,” he says.