In many ways, this is a significant election for New Zealand.
Interestingly, there are multiple policies on the battleground of major parties. While one Party has promised not to increase taxes, another has offered free education for the first year and another one has highlighted the abysmal state of the carbon emissions.
Promises made in the election manifestos excite common people and take their aspirations a notch higher, but these promises have not always been implemented.
All election manifestos include assurance of fighting crime and improving safety. The two major parties talk of improving the condition of workers.
New Zealand People’s Party (NZPP) does not shy away from indicating how to meet these expectations and manage the finances. It should be incumbent upon every political party to have clarity on its policies. They must have a feasible approach like we do.
On quality of education – The University of Auckland fell nearly 30 places (from 165) on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It will be out of the first 200 by next year. The reason cited is that the government is not providing enough funds to the sector that has given the economy the highest boost by attracting international students.
Again, the government has gone back on the promise of making international students permanent residents.
The health sector is in dire straits. The number of suicides reached an all-time high to reach 606 this year.
The Health Ministry axed $800,000 contract for Lifeline to provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers – an organisation that has worked to prevent suicide. This is because funding was shifted to a new preferred supplier by the National government.
As a responsible government of the people, we must provide universal and quality access to affordable and effective healthcare. When will the much-needed increase in health expenditure happen to support the right to basic health facilities? When will we have the right ratio per person of doctors, nurses, hospital beds and specialists? When will the long wait list to access state services end?
Can we actually pride ourselves as a progressive economy? How long can we hide our heads in the sand and assume that everything is fine?
I often ask myself these questions: How long can we ensure this National government? Do we not deserve a change for the better? How long should people suffer an indifferent government? Is it not time for NZPP be a part of a government?
Our Party plans to start with step one – deal with the confronting the economy – cutting down wasteful expenditure and investing in infrastructure. We have introduced a comprehensive smart plan and we want to divest funds to enable access to high-quality health, education, housing, transport, tourism and agriculture.
We will also enhance accountability of the government and its agencies and State-Owned Enterprises.
We must welcome the new idea for a change and increase our trust in allowing fresh talent.
The thrust should be more on implementation of schemes that are already enshrined in the policies of our party.
Our goal is clear – to be in the next government with our own separate identity.
We are not here to just win this election. We are here to create a change.
No matter how long it takes, we will continue our relentless fight to be represented and be heard in a way that matters.
NZPP is your own party. And that is why, it is better together with us.
Roshan Nauhria is Leader of the New Zealand People’s Party.