Labour has always stood beside our Indian communities and we always will.
Now, with 155,000 people of Indian origin living in New Zealand, and with Indians being our fastest-growing ethnic group, it is crucial that we renew our alliance for the new century.
This year you will hear politicians promise many things.
I ask only that you consider who has the best record for meeting with your communities and standing up for your families.
Labour’s policies will have a major and positive impact on your community in Health, Housing and representation.
Our once prized health system has become just an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, because too many people cannot afford to get the care they need.
Labour will give 700,000 people in low-income communities free or heavily discounted GP visits. We will also make doctors’ visits and prescriptions free for all New Zealanders aged 13 and under and 65 and over, and for pregnant women too.
This will make a real difference in the lives of so many New Zealanders. Nearly 40% of New Zealanders (1.7 million) will get free doctor visits and prescriptions under Labour’s health package, which has been carefully costed as part of our responsible fiscal plan. That is up from 12% at the moment.
Your community will also benefit from the major changes we will make in housing.
We know that we are in the grip of a housing crisis. In Auckland, house prices have gone up by a massive 33% in the last three years with the average house price rising by $75.000 in the past three months. In Christchurch, alone 2000 houses have been rebuilt where 11,000 homes have been destroyed.
So far, the Government’s response has been as I have already said nothing more than a ‘band aid.’ Instead of addressing the problem, National wants to spend $218 million of taxpayers’ money to fuel demand even more. It will drive prices even higher
And we are not the only ones saying this. The New Zealand Treasury has already warned against this approach saying it failed in Australia.
Labour will fix the housing crisis by building 100,000 affordable homes for first homebuyers. Labour will also remove the current tax preference for speculators, and issue a National Policy Statement under the RMA directing Councils to increase the supply of new housing.
We can only make New Zealand a better place if we do it together.
I know our Indian communities will be crucial partners in upgrading this country. That’s why Labour will create a full Ministry of Ethnic Affairs with powers in health, education, housing, law and order, broadcasting and employment, including the unacceptable under-employed skilled migrants.