UnitedFuture to put government policies to 20-year test

Ben Rickard

Wellington, September 1, 2017

UnitedFuture would require all new ministry policy, regulations and legislation to meet a 20-year impact test if we become a part of the next government.

For decades government policy has been focused on short term fixes, with thinking that extends only as far as the next election cycle.

This has meant storing up problems for future generations to deal with, and we do not think that has right.

Ambitious aim

UnitedFuture was, until party leader and only MP Peter Dunne’s recent withdrawal, aiming to secure the electorate of Ohariu and an additional 50,000 list votes, which would give them a second MP.

Without a realistic chance of hitting the 5% threshold to enter parliament this election, Mr Rickard says they are focused on their core message of securing a better deal for future generations and hope to influence the debate, and perhaps government policy, post-election.

A strong turnout for UnitedFuture, even though it is unlikely to turn into parliamentary representation this term, will send a message that governments must consider the welfare of future generations of New Zealanders in any legislation.

Long Haul relationship

We are in this for the long haul, not just an election cycle.

We heard both leaders in last night’s debate pay lip service to the concept of kaitiakitanga, but most Kiwis understand that politicians are by nature focused only on the next three years. UnitedFuture, as a small party that has worked with both major parties and has been part of government for the past 15 years, is the only party that can claim to carry through on the promise of delivering the long term thinking our country needs.

We would ensure every government department reported annually on how they are delivering better outcomes for future generations and we would develop a set of principles against which all new regulation and legislation must be tested.

Those principles would be along the lines of “What will the impact of this policy be for New Zealanders in 20 years?”

Commission for Future Generations

We would also introduce a Commission for Future Generations, whose role will be to advocate within government for policy that addresses issues that need a long-term focus, such as climate change, the impact of technology on work and communities and the effects of an ageing population. The Commission would report every year on progress towards a set of 20-year goals for our nation.

UnitedFuture has been part of the New Zealand government for the past 6 terms, working with both Labour-led and National-led governments. The party successfully introduced the Families Commission, now known as Superu, whose role is to influence government agencies with good quality evidence on what works to improve the lives of families, children and whanau.

The Game Animal Council is also a product of UnitedFuture policy. Its role is to represent the interests of the hunting sector and improve the management of hunting resources while contributing to positive conservation outcomes.

Not being spectacular

By its own admission the party ‘never set out to be spectacular’ but has contributed to stable government and achieved some important, albeit not well understood goals.

These include the National Drug Policy, which moves towards a health and compassion-led approach to drug misuse and the Psychoactive Substances Act, a much maligned but world leading attempt, given the failure of outright bans, to control and regulate the use of artificial highs.

Ben Rickard is Spokesperson for UnitedFuture Party.

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