Our pol­icy process

The Northland Age - - Opinion - Matt King MP

One of the most im­por­tant things a po­lit­i­cal party can do in Op­po­si­tion is take a good look at its poli­cies and plan for New Zealand. It’s a time to look at what worked and what can be done bet­ter. Af­ter nine years in gov­ern­ment we’re do­ing ex­actly that.

We had some real suc­cesses. Un­der our eco­nomic plan New Zealand was among the fastest-grow­ing economies in the de­vel­oped world, we were cre­at­ing 10,000 new jobs a month, and Ma¯ori and Pasi­fika were achiev­ing more than ever be­fore in ed­u­ca­tion. We should be build­ing on those suc­cesses. But there were ar­eas where we could have done bet­ter, and we need to learn those lessons and im­prove our ap­proach.

So we’re go­ing to take this time in Op­po­si­tion to re­fresh our­selves and our ideas — run­ning the ruler over our ex­ist­ing poli­cies, and proposing new ones for 2020. Should we earn the right to gov­ern in 2020, we’ll be ready. This gov­ern­ment’s 170-odd re­views and work­ing groups so far, the stag­na­tion and lack of cer­tainty shows what hap­pens when you’re not.

We have a thor­ough process un­der way, and we want to make sure you un­der­stand it. This year is about lis­ten­ing. We want to hear from you — par­ents and pupils, fam­i­lies and farm­ers, busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties.

That’s why we’ve kicked off our ‘Have Your Say’ cam­paign. We’ve started with small busi­nesses. We know they are the en­gine room of our econ­omy, and we want to hear from them what we can do to help them suc­ceed. They know their busi­nesses bet­ter than we do, and 2600 peo­ple have re­sponded so far.

We’ll be look­ing at a num­ber of other im­por­tant ar­eas in­clud­ing ru­ral New Zealand and se­niors, but the ‘Have Your Say’ cam­paign is just part of it.

Ev­ery day when our MPs are at Par­lia­ment we meet to dis­cuss ideas and put for­ward pro­pos­als. We have MPs fo­cused on every­thing from so­cial is­sues, law and or­der and the econ­omy through to health and ed­u­ca­tion.

Our MPs are com­ing up with the ideas to im­prove the lives of Ki­wis. And when we’re not at Par­lia­ment, all 56 of us are get­ting around the coun­try and hear­ing from New Zealan­ders.

Next year we’ll in­vite peo­ple to re­spond to our pro­pos­als, and we’ll set out our con­crete plans in the lead-up to the 2020 elec­tion.

We also have 45 bills in the bal­lot, 45 pro­pos­als from Na­tional MPs rang­ing from ef­forts to hold peo­ple to ac­count for a coward’s punch to help­ing more chil­dren learn a sec­ond lan­guage and al­low­ing par­ents to take parental leave to­gether. We’ve al­ready had some leg­is­la­tion passed, in­clud­ing giv­ing more fi­nan­cial sup­port to fos­ter chil­dren. And where we agree we’re work­ing with the gov­ern­ment on im­por­tant is­sues in­clud­ing cli­mate change and child poverty.

All that’s on top of hold­ing this gov­ern­ment to ac­count. When we be­lieve the gov­ern­ment is do­ing things that will harm New Zealan­ders we will op­pose it; it might seem like we’re be­ing neg­a­tive — we see it as be­ing pro­tec­tive. As Si­mon Bridges has said, we will con­tinue to be the hard­est-work­ing Op­po­si­tion New Zealand has ever seen.

"We’ll be look­ing at a num­ber of other im­por­tant ar­eas in­clud­ing ru­ral New Zealand and se­niors, but the ‘Have Your Say’ cam­paign is just part of it. "

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