When are we pleased to see the Aussies? Certainly when we’re beating them at rugby and definitely when they are supporting Labour’s election campaign.
Bryce Roney, who works for Labor in Tasmania, has been seconded to Fraser House by the Australian Labor Party and is helping with a range of campaign projects.
“I have been working with Rob Salmond on targeted direct mail and have created mapping resources to help the campaign visualise where different target groups of people are in an electorate,” said Bryce.
“I am also helping coordinate the Labour Bus, including preparing a guide to help the local teams prepare for the bus coming to their area.”
Bryce’s Labor roots go back to his childhood in New South Wales, where his father worked at an aluminium smelter.
“He worked 12-hour shifts in hard conditions and always made a point of impressing on me the importance of workplace rights and unionism because the union had fought for good pay and conditions to make up for the difficult nature of the work,” said Bryce.
“Another factor is my appreciation of the good education I got in public schools.”
When Bryce was in grade nine his father was made redundant and they moved to Tasmania to be near his grandmother.
He went on to study law and business – including marketing units - at university in Hobart. He also gained practical experience as a volunteer providing social media and communications for youth programmes.
“At the end of my degree I was offered a job doing digital work for the Labor State Premier Lara Giddings,” said Bryce.
“I did online work for Lara and her team and helped with canvassing activities. It was great experience working in a leader’s office. I did that for 18 months but unfortunately we lost the State election in March this year.
“I was asked to stay on and work with the new leader of the opposition Bryan Green. That was an honour as there are only nine staff on the team. I am still doing online stuff but with a small team you have to be flexible and prepared to work in other areas too.
“The Australian Labor Party sets aside money to send campaigners to interstate and overseas elections. My name was put forward to support NZ Labour with online and canvassing work and I was seconded to come here until 5 September. “
It’s Bryce’s first overseas trip – although he says Hobart and Wellington have many similarities, with both being built around a harbour, and he feels very at home.
“The first event I attended here was the Dirty Politics book launch which was a really interesting way to kick off my visit,” he said.
“Last weekend I worked on the ground canvassing with Grant Robertson and his team in Karori and Aro Valley. We did door knocking and street corner meetings. There was a really good turn-out of people just coming to show their support - that’s something you don’t see a lot of in Tasmania.”