For decades, we have believed that New Zealand is a fair country.
Fairness is part of who we are – we believe that New Zealand is a country where anyone can thrive and succeed, and where we are, at least in a sense, equal.
For me fairness means that we all have a warm, dry, family home, a place to call our own. That at the end of the month we all have enough to pay the rent or the mortgage and still put plenty of food on the table. That our children will have opportunities, good education and good jobs. And that our communities will be safe and enjoyable.
And fairness means that our neighbours in those communities will be from all walks of life. That children of refugees will play with those of recent immigrants, Pasifika and Tangata Whenua and seventh generation Pakeha.
In a fair country, some of us will be better off, some of us not so much. But that we will all be neighbours, and when someone gets into trouble, we will all pitch in to help. Our communities will be connected and caring.
That’s the country I want to live in. That’s the future I’m committed to. It’s not flashy or grandiose. It’s not science fiction. It’s just a better world and it is entirely possible.
But increasingly, as I travel through New Zealand – from the suburban doorsteps, to the community organisations, to the corporate boardrooms – people are telling me that we are losing that sense of fairness.
That New Zealand no longer feels like the country in which they grew up, or came to, looking for a better future.
People are uncomfortable with what they see – with people being locked out of clean, safe, dry homes. At people, not being able to find good jobs that pay decent wages – and also at businesses not being able to find the workers they need. At children going to school hungry and without the basics. And at a government that doesn’t seem prepared to really address our future challenges.
I know this isn’t the New Zealand we want. It grates with who we are and doesn’t sit well with our sense of compassion and fairness, our love of our land, of how we think about ourselves.
Reclaiming New Zealand
The Green Party believes it is entirely possible to reclaim that cleaner, fairer, and smarter New Zealand.
We can have a New Zealand in which every child has enough to thrive. We can have a smarter, greener economy that benefits every one of us. And we can have a New Zealand where our rivers are clean enough to swim in and our precious beaches are safe from oil spills.
With the right leadership and with our communities, our businesses, and our government, we can transform things for the better.
The Green Party’s plan to bring fairness back to New Zealand means making sure that all our children have enough to thrive. We will invest in education – because that is the best way to provide opportunities. We will build the affordable, dry warm houses that people need. We will restore funding for our health services. And we will start the transition to a clean green economy that will create good jobs for the future.
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this article in this 17th Anniversary Special of Indian Newslink. Your publication is a strong and important voice for your community – and that is something we need more than ever these days.
James Shaw is Co-leader Green Party and a List Member of Parliament. He is the Party’s Spokesperson for Climate Change, Economic Development and Finance (including Revenue and State-Owned Enterprises).