Ben Atkinson | Banks Peninsula

Ben Atkinson | Banks Peninsula
Ben Atkinson | Banks Peninsula

Kia ora. After working most of my life as a chef and musician I quit my job in 2015 and founded an organisation to feed tamariki going to school without lunch. Donating over 63,000 lunches to hungry Kiwi kids, enabling them to have a better capacity to learn, I realised that I had a passion for community engagement and working directly with people. I then worked as a capability coach for promising young leaders, launched a men’s mental health 71 hour sit-in event, co-founded a youth political engagement campaign, and petitioned Canterbury Police to revise their social media etiquette. Recently I turned my hand to social support work, engaging daily with mental health and addiction clients and working through their housing and community support needs.

Sadly in October 2019 my fiancé was diagnosed with tongue cancer, and we were informed she could be off work for a year, if not more. Once we dealt with the emotional toll of the news we started looking at how we could financially survive... it turns out we couldn’t. We would receive next to no government support and were left to beg and borrow from our loved ones.

I realised that I needed to get behind a movement that would look after all its people. The Opportunities Party’s Universal Basic Income would have meant that we would have been able to survive comfortably and deal with the cancer without the financial stress. I will work hard to represent TOP in my electorate. I believe in our truly progressive policies for us and our future generations, and I will continue to roll up my sleeves to get the real mahi done for our community.