Petty point-scoring reveals lack of vision
The continuing failure of the parties in parliament to see beyond their self-serving agendas raises questions. Are they unaware of possible solutions to New Zealand's problems? Or are they aware but simply can't raise themselves above the usual tit-for-tat election campaign debates?
NZ Democrats for Social Credit Party health spokesman, David Tranter, notes that on a recent The Nation programme National and Labour social development spokesmen were supposedly discussing "the best ways to provide for those in need". But by largely confining themselves to petty point-scoring, and following an "our policy is better than yours" line, any innovative ideas such as a Universal Basic Income seemed beyond their blinkered vision.
This narrow focus dominates the political thought processes in all areas where following the same old path evades problems instead of confronting them.
Another example is the housing crisis with more and more Kiwis unable to afford a house or who get into dreadful mortgage stress if they are able to acquire one. Given the success of organisations like Habitat for Humanity - and numerous community groups working to help people with housing - why don't governments get behind such ideas? Or is it that the comfortable circumstances of most of those in parliament blinds them to the harsh realities of life for increasing numbers of Kiwis?
Then there's the cash-strapped public health system where government forces DHBs to take their loans from the high-interest commercial banking sector. Ridiculous when these loans could be provided at minimal interest through the Reserve Bank.
Added to the absurd 8% "capital charge" on DHBs, the only logical explanation for such policies is that government wants to drive DHBs into crippling debt in order to further their health privatisation agenda. In 2015 DHB interest charges were $108 million and the total capital charges were $190 million. That sort of money could pay for a lot of urgently-needed health care in both the general and mental health sectors. It's anti-New Zealanders that successive health ministers turn their backs on such matters.
Election campaigns give all politicians the chance to promote positive alternatives to the current petty points-scoring that dominates their electioneering. Are they unaware that there are perfectly attainable solutions to our society's long-standing problems? Or are they still wedded to the Roger Douglas maxim, "There is no alternative"?
David Tranter, Health Spokesman, NZ Democrats for Social Credit Party firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: September 2017