My thoughts on election policy in 2020: Part 1


Over the next three nights I look at policies that I would like to see be given effect by New Zealand politicians. Every three years just before an election campaign kicks off, I go back over my thoughts from previous elections and revisit ideas put forward either by politicians, or ones that I came up with. In the name of keeping my policies current I run a three strand rule of thumb over them:

  • Did they have a modicum of realism – i.e. is there any realistic chance of a N.Z. political party giving effect to any them
  • How badly does New Zealand need those issues addressed
  • Is there any party in New Zealand that has seriously thought about these

In this part I look at justice, housing and the need for a technological economy.

In Justice I have noticed that the spectrum is a double edged sword. On the right of the sword, you have the proponents of a heaver sentencing regime. These are typically conservative, pro-Police, pro-judge – although they talk about restorative justice many of these typically just want a heavy sentence to be handed down without real about what they want from it. I therefore propose:

  1. Introducing alternative sentencing for non serious crimes that do not involve danger to ones life; introduce 1wk jail sentences for those who flee the Police at stops;
  2. Legalize cannabis to decrease the rate of minor drug offending; increase sentencing regime available for Class A drugs like methamphetamine
  3. Heavier sentences for employers who exploit staff, particularly those not from New Zealand
  4. Introduce extra training for Police to improve trust between them and Maori and Pasifika communities

Science and technology is always something I have thought to be rather underfunded. New Zealand has long had one of the lower rates of investment into research science and technology. I believe that this would go some distance towards discouraging scientists to remain in the country, and why those that do like Dr Siouxsie Wiles who stick around and take a leading role become more high profile, both in terms of recognition, but unfortunately also troll attacks. These jobs and additional ones providing technical support have the potential to be well paying jobs in the respective regards.

I also believe that science and technology can go some distance towards reducing our environmental footprint on Planet Earth. However it is going to require a rethink about how we live as a society. Coming at a time when we are fighting COVID19 and dealing with increasingly urgent signals about the dangers of our worsening environment, I propose the following:

  1. A systemic reinvestment in science at high school and at University, with an increase in the R.S.T. funding pool to 2% of G.D.P. – this will partially assist in luring top notch researchers bake home
  2. Spread 80-90% of the funding across three or four broad areas instead of diluting it down across many areas – renewables; medicine; nano-technology; environment are my preferences
  3. Research pros and cons of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel source

Health is the third area I want tackle tonight. It has been highly prominent as a result of COVID19 this year. With Canterbury D.H.B. in a state of disarray and many other D.H.B.’s struggling to rein in their spending, it is important to revisit how well D.H.B.’s work and whether New Zealand should go towards a more centralized model. Continuing issues with how Pharmac purchases medications and the lack of availability of cancer drugs used overseas is another.

But it will be without doubt the strain that COVID19. On one hand the health system has done extraordinarily well in its biggest crisis in decades. It did not collapse; the medics, doctors and nurses as well as specialists performed heroics. Yet I find several things that need to be done:

  1. Improve the communications system used by staff – too many unnecessary and potentially costly errors being made, with potentially massive consequences
  2. Review the D.H.B.’s and see whether a clean out or complete restructuring is needed
  3. Prepare for a potentially worse COVID19 outbreak than the current surge in New Zealand