My thoughts on election policy in 2020: Part 2


This is Part 2 of my thoughts on election policy for 2020. In Part 1 I listed health, justice and green technology as areas of concern for me. I described briefly what made these policy areas important.

My Education policy has not changed vastly in the last three years. Whilst the 1989 blueprint called Tomorrow’s Schools had a vision then, the 30 years of neoliberal reform that have followed have left an ugly patchwork of holes where students with learning difficulties have been left behind and have fallen through the cracks. Maori and Pasifika students are finding that despite attempts by the system to be more inclusive, the school leavers rate is too high. The curriculum and how we teach it needs to be revisited and Parent Teacher Associations need to get realistic about how much social work we expect teachers to do. Therefore:

  • I advocate for the introduction of a new assessment regime simply called “Year __ Certificate” with course assessment regimes being 50/50 internal/external for Year 11-13;
  • revisit what we teach at schools and how – in Year 11 everyone sits the compulsory English course and have four choices, to which I would add Civics in Year 12;
  • an expanded refurbishment programme for lower decile schools to make them safe/healthy

As we recover from COVID19 and head towards the next election, no closer to knowing what will replace oil and gas than when the Government made the announcement, Energy has not surprisingly become a significant issue for me. Whilst agreeing that oil and gas are sunset industries, it is more like mid afternoon and New Zealand needs to do significant reinforcing of infrastructure, research into the diversification of renewable sources and where new comers like Waste-to-Energy might fit in. I propose:

  • Exploring W.t.E. plants for the West Coast and potentially Auckland and Wellington
  • Research the viability of pumped storage hydro for Clutha, Waitaki and Waikato rivers
  • A nation wide retrofit of all state houses not upgraded in the last few years with pink bats and/or double glazing
  • No more asset sales
  • Incentives for corporates that look to reduce power bills

As COVID19 bites, one of the unfortunate experiences a lot of New Zealanders will be experiencing is applying for Social Welfare. Since Labour came to office in 2017, I have been hoping for a massive overhaul of the Ministry of Social Development and its umbrella agencies Work and Income New Zealand, Child Youth and Families Service as well as Studylink. The Minister in charge, Carmel Sepuloni has however been noting more than hot air and no action, and as a consequence there are now credible fears of another Work and Income style attack where a gunman walked into a branch and shot dead two workers. In order to prevent that, but also to address concerns about the abject lack of humanity sometimes found in the offices of M.S.D.’s umbrella agencies, I propose:

  • Overhauling theĀ  Social Welfare Act, which governs M.S.D. and its operations;
  • Append benefits to inflation, top up benefits for disabled, long term illness;
  • Overhaul the working culture of M.S.D. agencies