We are all lucky to live in this country.
It is a fundamentally good place with many natural advantages.
New Zealand’s geographic isolation and relatively small population mean that we simply don’t face the problems that many parts of the world do, while our long-standing traditions of parliamentary democracy and respect for human rights are the envy of those who live in less free societies.
But none of these means we should ever be complacent. We can and always should strive to make our country even better. The Labour Party of which I am a proud member, has a 100-year history of leading progressive change and always asking ‘What can we do to make New Zealand an even better place’?
And as we approach the end of nine years of National government, there is much to be done.
We all know that there is a desperate need for action on housing. With house prices in Auckland still over one million dollars in most suburbs and exploding homelessness, our current policies are clearly failing.
Good House test
For Labour, decent housing for all families is a priority.
We will roll our sleeves up and build affordable homes that young first-home buyers are crying out for through our KiwiBuild plan which will create 100,000 affordable homes over ten years.
We will stop non-resident speculators from buying existing houses and pushing the price up for residents, and we will extend the Brightline test to five years so that those trading houses for profit pay a fair share of tax.
With the right investments in transport, we also have the opportunity to get people and freight moving in New Zealand.
Moving people and goods
Our cities are congested and many of our regional roads have become run-down.
Labour’s transport plan is ambitious. It will not involve spending more than the current government, but it will involve using the money better.
In Auckland and our other cities, we will invest decisively in high quality, 21st Century public transport.
A Labour government will deliver Light Rail to the airport and the north-west, bus rapid transit from east Auckland to the airport, and in time light rail to the north shore. This will create a linked-up transport network that helps people to move in our biggest city. In our regions, we will invest in run-down roads and create an efficient commuter rail service for the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga.
In our communities, we need action to ensure that people can feel safe in their homes, on the streets, and at work. Labour’s plan for 1000 new community based police officers will mean that there are more police on the street to prevent and solve crimes.
Crime Victim support
We will ensure that victims of crime are better supported, and that we take action to stop crime in the first place by getting our young people into meaningful work.
As Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern makes her way around New Zealand, there is a huge feeling of optimism building.
I have known Jacinda for a long time, and the positive public persona she projects is utterly authentic. She spends little time criticising the government and other parties, and is more interested in finding positive solutions to deal with our problems and maximise New Zealand’s opportunities.
People are ready for some new ideas and energy.
Labour is ready to serve.
We have the ideas, we have the Leader.
New Zealand – let’s do this!
Michael Wood is elected Member of Parliament from Mt Roskill and Labour Party’s Spokesman for Transport and Ethnic Communities.