Viewing entries tagged
Kiwi Party

Kiwi Party candidate full of get up and go


Kiwi Party candidate full of get up and go

Tony Christiansen has been a paralympian, pilot, drag racer, motivational speaker and signwriter in his life. Now, he's looking to add politician to the list.

The double amputee is standing for the Kiwi Party in the Bay of Plenty electorate, alongside party leader Larry Baldock in the Tauranga seat.

Tony Christiansen will contest the Bay of Plenty seat. Photo: Alan Gibson

Tony Christiansen will contest the Bay of Plenty seat. Photo: Alan Gibson

Mr Christiansen announced his bid yesterday, fresh from clocking 292km/h in his V8 roadster at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats last month.

He said he had decided to go into politics because, as a motivational speaker, he was always encouraging others to make change.

"As a speaker I talk about things like, 'If you do what you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got', and I really believe the country's in that situation at the moment. We're just doing the same things."

Mr Christiansen has known Mr Baldock for several years and made his decision after being invited to speak at the Kiwi Party's campaign launch on August 31.

"I started talking to all the guys and they actually made really, really good sense.

"I've always gone on the premise of fair and reasonable in my life and I think so many things we're having forced upon us are not fair and reasonable."

Mr Christiansen strongly supported Mr Baldock's petition for a referendum on the anti-smacking law, saying the law was "a load of rubbish" and "makes criminals out of good New Zealanders".

The 49-year-old said as a husband of 28 years, father of three and grandfather of three, he followed the same family values promoted by his party.

He also wanted tax cuts for small businesses, and tougher law and order. He hoped people in the Bay of Plenty and Tauranga would give their party votes to National and their candidate votes to him and Mr Baldock respectively because the Kiwi Party offered one of the only viable coalition partners for National.

Mr Christiansen lost his legs in a train accident at age 9, but went on to become a surf lifeguard, Cessna pilot and paralympian.

He won a gold medal in the shot put, two silvers in javelin and discus, and a bronze in the 5000m at a World Games, and also holds a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do.

He has climbed Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and raced cars at speedway and drag tracks for 25 years.

He has lived in the Tauranga area all his life.

Now his motivational speaking job takes him all around the world, and after seeing the film The World's Fastest Indian 27 times, he decided to follow Burt Munro's example and try his luck at Bonneville.

Although he did not reach his goal of 200mph (322km/h), he is vowing to return to the salt flats next year - even if he becomes an MP.