Dear New Government

Dear New Government

I am writing to you as a New Zealander to set out my hopes and aspirations for the incoming Government, regardless of who it is.

I am a New Zealander, I am not a Maori, not a Pakeha, not European, and it doesn’t matter whether I have been here for 5 minutes or 5 generations.  I am a New Zealander and I consider that we are all the same.

I seek a better New Zealand not just for me, but for my children and grandchildren, and for any others that come to call New Zealand their home in the future.  I think we all aspire for New Zealand to be a better place.

While we have just had an election, and have been relentlessly subjected to different parties' policies, I don’t think political parties disagree with the sentiment that we all want a better New Zealand.  It is simply the emphasis that we place on particular areas that differ between the parties.  Probably 90% of what the Government spends would be the same under any political party, so what we are talking about is trying to get some more common agreement between the different parties, particularly around long-term goals and aspirations.

So here is a wish list for you my new Government about things that I would like to see for New Zealand going forward:

  1. We need to make New Zealand a place that people aspire to live in and that is world-leading.  For too long we have been sliding down the rankings of economic output, health, education, and any number of other international measures that we are marked against.  We can look at other countries like Ireland and see that what were once basket case economies, are now world leaders, why can’t we do the same?  What cross-party buy-in and agreed vision do we need to have so that we can all row the boat in the same direction?
  2. We need to improve our productivity per person.  While the economy has been growing, we each produce less each year.  How can we do this and how can we invest in innovation, technology, and people to make this happen?
  3. We are all New Zealanders, and as Shane Jones says let’s put the “K” back in the Kiwi.  Whether we have been here for 5 minutes or 5 generations, we are all people and we are all equal.  We do need to stop race-based pathways and simply look after those in need according to their need, not their race or ethnicity.  People with needs should have those needs addressed.
  4. However, I am also the first to acknowledge that Maori and Pacific Island peoples in general have been under-achieving and under provided for in New Zealand historically.  But rather than putting an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, let’s look at how we can make better pathways and opportunities for these people.  Part of this is about providing better education, and part of it is to provide better regional growth opportunities so that if you are in Northland or the East Cape, there are good jobs that pay well and inspire young people to want to work harder to make a better life for themselves.  There have been some fantastic recent innovations in both those areas as examples, that we need to look at, learn from, and create aspirations for regional New Zealand to provide a better lifestyle.  Let’s stop the urban drift, and start building better opportunities for all New Zealanders, wherever they are.
  5. We need a health system that looks after people.  Sadly, like many of you, I have had to deal with the public health system with ageing parents.  It is slow, cumbersome and ridiculously inefficient.  It took me 5 hours one day to get my father discharged from the hospital and that is from when they said he was able to go.  There is too much paper and bureaucracy, not just in the health system, so we need to work out how to make things work better.  Let’s put money into front-line services not back-room administration and build systems that are truly world-leading and efficient.
  6. Finally, personal security and safety.  We all deserve to live in a safe and caring environment.  While I appreciate that many out there are suffering, and finding it hard to make ends meet, that doesn’t give you the right to go and steal or ram raid just because you cannot afford otherwise.  Our social services should provide a backstop in these situations.  There are many countries in the world, particularly Middle Eastern countries, where you simply would never think of stealing, attacking another person, or breaking the law because the consequences are just too severe.  Perhaps in New Zealand, it is the lack of consequences that have caused the decline in our personal feelings of safety as we go about our day-to-day lives.  We have all either witnessed, or known someone who has been subject to or read about events that leave us feeling uncomfortable in our own country.  This must end.

So dear New Government, can you please work with your fellow political parties on both sides of the political divide to agree on some long-term aspirations for New Zealand to make it a better place for not just me, but my children and grandchildren and for any others that choose to make New Zealand their home in the future.  New Zealand is a beautiful country and a great place to live, we just need to make it one of the best places in the world, and none of us should accept this ongoing gradual decline into third-world mediocrity and failure that is the path we are currently heading down.

Here's hoping for a better tomorrow for all of us.


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