As New Zealand prepares for summer holidays, Indian Newslink readers will reflect on the impact of year 2012 on them, their businesses and families.
This also gives us an opportunity to develop plans for 2013.
I wish all readers Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
We are fortunate that the 21st century ethnically diverse New Zealand provides us with many opportunities to celebrate unique festivals and special occasions.
Christmas has become a truly universal festival in which all Kiwis participate, with families getting together with their loved ones and enjoying the benefits of summer. This is also the season when we focus on children.
We must spare a thought for those who have lost their loved ones this year and those for who Christmas might not be as joyous as it will be for others.
There are many who have given so much to the service of others and we think of them at this time of the year.
I want to thank everyone in the community who had engaged with me this year and offered their friendship, support, and thoughtful advice.
It has been an honour to serve you. I am pleased that many of you will have a more pleasant Christmas because of our engagement.
As a Labour Member of Parliament, I am privileged to promote the interests of all New Zealanders. As a member of the Opposition, I constantly think about what would make life better for our citizens.
I believe that 2012 has been a tough year for many New Zealanders.
Our businesses generally have not done as well as expected and, for many, jobs have been difficult to find while the costs of living have increased.
But every New Year brings the promise of new directions.
A part of my excitement about 2013 arises from the new direction for Labour that positions New Zealand on a pathway to a new economy, more jobs and higher wages. We do not want another three years during which we lose our best and brightest to Australia and where our children cannot get good enough foothold in this country.
Opportunity to succeed
Labour’s path is about giving all Kiwis the opportunity to succeed and building a smart, new and powerful economy that delivers a fairer society.
Fundamentally different will be our hands-on approach in Government.
It is about the Government being a player, not a spectator.
Many specific policies and programmes would emerge from our approach to development. These include (a) Paying employers the equivalent of the dole if they take on an unemployed person as an apprentice (b) Backing businesses by giving them a tax break for research and development and (c) Helping our exporters by tackling the high dollar.
We will give the Reserve Bank of New Zealand more tools to enable it to focus on broader issues than just inflation.
We will introduce universal KiwiSaver to build a pool of money that can be invested in our businesses, while doubling as a secure retirement nest egg.
We will deliver world-class education at your local school, work with community agencies to provide food in schools and extend reading recovery to all schools so that our children do not fall behind and drop out without basic skills.
We will also oversee and invest in the biggest building programme that the country has seen in the past 50 years to put 100,000 Kiwis into their first home that will provide a $2 billion boost to the economy, including creating thousands of new jobs and training opportunities.
As the Sun sets on 2012, we are excited about the future.
I hope you would also be excited.
Dr Rajen Prasad is Member of Parliament on Labour List and spokesperson of the Party on Ethnic Affairs.