By the time this column goes to print, the general election will be just a week away and early voting will have already started.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Indian community for the hospitality that I have been shown all around the country – whether in visits to temples or community forums or just engaging one on one with members of the community – it has been a privilege to engage and hear out your thoughts and concerns.
I want to let the Indian community know what our Green vision in government means: safer communities, decent housing and a cleaner environment for everyone.
There are too many in New Zealand that feel unsafe. The attacks on dairies, homes and international students are unacceptable. It is a damning indictment of National’s record that there have been 1287 aggravated robberies – an increase of nearly 87% from the previous year. We will put victims first by ensuring that victims of crime get compensation and the support they need.
There are no excuses for the attacks and that is why we will take strong action on crime.
The Green Party will bring true justice by reforming our justice system so that we can shift to a model which is proven to reduce crime by reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and ensuring that prisoners are not just released into the streets with no transition programme.
Poverty needs addressing because it drives so many New Zealanders to the point of desperation where they wrongly feel as if they have no choices but crime.
Our families package will help end the poverty that many people in New Zealand face.
Too many families – particularly in Auckland are having a hard time finding warm, dry and affordable housing. Whether you are renting or wanting to buy a home – we believe that you should be able to easily find warm, dry and affordable accommodation.
Cooling the market
That is why we want to cool the housing market by putting in a capital gains tax and putting a ban on overseas-based speculation.
It is completely unfair that a Hollywood tycoon is pricing out the cost of housing for a young couple who worked hard to get residency and are wanting to make a future in New Zealand. We will make life easier for homebuyers through our rent-to-buy scheme which will enable the state to provide low-cost financing for first-homebuyers having a hard time. For renters, we will help by making tenancies longer, banning letting fees and improving your rights. You should be able to make a home wherever you are – whether or not you own your own home. We know that Asian-New Zealanders are twice as likely to be renting and so, we have made it a priority to help protect your rights as a renter.
Last but not least, I know that many people come to New Zealand to experience the wonders of our beautiful country.
We want to protect New Zealand’s beautiful environment and create green jobs through our Green Infrastructure Fund which will invest in smart, clean and sustainable jobs for the future and reduce pollution.
We will also protect our conservation estate and parks by doubling the funding for the department of Conservation and protecting them from mining.
The Green Party in Government will keep our communities safe, in warm, affordable and decent housing and protect our beautiful environment.
James Shaw is Co-Leader of the Green Party of New Zealand.