Mitchell Hopping is the current chairman of the Manawatu Young Nats, having taken on the role in March of this year. Mitchell was born on August 23, exactly 173 years after Mexico declared its independence. Mitchell is a Leo, has travelled overseas to such countries as Australia, and is an old boy of Palmerston North Boys’ High. He sat down for some online intercourse with Massive, discussing his love for National and Palmerston North, his views on public nudity and what he thinks about students’ associations.
1. What’s the best and worst thing about living in Palmerston North?
Palmerston North is a fantastic city; you get the best parts of city living without losing the feel of small town New Zealand. The only thing lacking in this city is a student network. I’ve studied both in Wellington and Palmerston North, and Wellington was fantastic for students who lived outside the halls. There was a better network of students because they all largely lived in one area of town which doesn’t seem to happen quite as much here in Palmerston North.
2. What are your views on nudist clubs? Would you be comfortable getting naked in public?
I think the idea of nudist clubs could be a good idea – especially for young people who are wanting to live their lives and find out who they are. My concern would be the potential for young women getting objectified and slandered for being in a nudist club. So I would probably say that the practicality of nudist clubs would be a bad idea. Personally, I am very comfortable and secure with my body so I do not have a problem with getting naked if it was somewhere like a nudist club or beach.
3. Away from study and politics, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I wish I had the luxury of spare time between study, chairing the Young Nats and work. But when I do get spare time, I like to hangout with friends, usually over a drink or three!
4. What does the National Party mean to you?
The National Party is extremely important to me. To me it represents stability, common sense and equal opportunity for New Zealand. Their values resonate strongly with my own which is why I am an avid supporter of a National-led Government.
5. Are students better off under National? If so, why?
Of course students are better of under National. I personally don’t believe the cock-and-bull story of three years’ free tertiary study that Labour has promised if elected. The money simply doesn’t exist without raising everyone’s income tax and/or borrowing heavily. The idea of it is alluring, but I believe that everyone who wishes to further their lives by obtaining a Bachelors or Masters degree, or even a PhD, should see it as an investment in their future. The student loan scheme holds students accountable for their learning, and also encourages people who do obtain their degrees to stay in New Zealand which is ultimately good for New Zealand. Once a student has graduated, it is assumed that they will be earning a decent wage. National continues to protect students by not enforcing hefty taxes on high earners. This means that they can pay their student loan back faster, allowing them to then look at buying a home and/or raising a family without undue financial burden.
6. What do you most admire about the Labour Party?
In some respects the Labour Party is useful. They have played a vital role over the last three elections, ensuring that the left side of the vote is fragmented, thus allowing a strong and united right-wing government. Despite everything, I do admire their stance on the poor and unemployed. They encourage a radical and vigorous effort to improve their lives, a view that I also hold. I don’t, however, agree with their method of ‘free hand-outs’ as a legitimate response to this problem New Zealand is facing.
7. What are your personal views on students’ associations? Should students have to be a member of their association?
I think that student associations are a good thing, in principal. It is important that the students have a voice amongst the board of directors and the like. I think that students should have the choice to be a member or not: it is important that everyone has the right to choose the level of involvement that they are comfortable with.
8. Would you consider running in the MUSA elections this year?
I personally would not consider running in the upcoming elections, for no other reason than that student political forums such as MUSA do not interest me. I am appreciative for the work that they do – don’t get me wrong – I just don’t wish to have that sort of involvement with them.