My values are Labour values.
I want to help build a stronger, more caring society. I am passionate about Dunedin, and I bring considerable energy and wide experience to the task of representing this electorate.
My diverse work background has given me an understanding of the economic and social levers that can be pulled to achieve meaningful change.
Please read some of the discussions included here. I welcome your comments.
- David Clark
Yesterday David Cunliffe was in town to announce Labour’s positive plan for Dunedin.
Read the press release for a flavour of the announcements.
– Labour commits to upgrading Dunedin Hospital. A major capital rebuild to create a modern teaching hospital will begin in our first term.
– Labour commits to saving Invermay.
– Labour commits to re-opening and upgrading Hillside as the centre of an engineering cluster.
Some good coverage from CH39 Dunedin TV.
I enjoy campaigning. Now Parliament has risen, I get to spend more of my week in Dunedin with the people who elected me. Whether at street corner meetings, during door-step conversations or at meet the candidate events, I love the direct feedback. Most Dunedin people are hoping for a Labour-led government. Thankfully that is looking more and more likely by the day.
Opportunities for people to meet their local candidates involve a fair bit of organising. My thanks to all of the groups that are hosting events – as well as to all of the volunteers campaigning hard for Labour in Dunedin North.
Photos clockwise from top left: a snowy street corner meeting in Brockville; snap! – matching shirts at the HRINZ meet the candidates event; meeting students on campus; with Pasifika community group; at St Margaret’s College; with All Black and Highlander Aaron Smith.
It is only a matter of weeks until the September 20 General Election. We’re into the final ‘sitting week’ of the 50th Parliament.
Pictures, clockwise from top left: 1/ receiving the petition to Parliament of Sue O’Neill and 110 others for better broadband in Karitane; 2/ volunteers begin erecting Labour Billboards; 3/ appearing on Backbenches TV with host Wallace Chapman; 4/ door-knocking in Palmerston.
My big motivation for seeking election was to tackle rising inequality. All evidence points to healthier and happier people in countries with small gaps between rich and poor. And healthier, happier people are more productive. Contemporary economists say it gets the best out of a whole population, rather than the wealthiest few.
The good news is Labour has a positive vision. We want to make the kind of change that really matters. I am proud of my part in shaping our plan.
This is my first term as an MP. I’ve had success with my Mondayising Bill. It is the only Bill voted along party lines to succeed against our opponents’. I’ve also experienced frustration. My Bill for a $15 minimum wage was voted down. In doing so, the Government demonstrated a preference for rhetoric over action.
The election looms. Polls go down and up. Wellingtonians get into a lather. But my experience in Dunedin is that people are more concerned to know the difference a change of Government would actually make.
Frankly, it is the most important question. What does Labour stand for? How will Labour partner with communities? What difference will it make?
Those of us who pay tax in Otago, expect government funded services. Dunedin is a city of education. We look forward to Dunedin hospital receiving due priority. Our operating theatres leak. Dunedin is currently the only major metropolitan hospital that hasn’t received a proper capital upgrade. We learn that the immigration service intends to shut its doors here, and that CYFS is shedding more Otago positions. This won’t do.
Labour stands for positive change that goes beyond three year election cycles. We are raising our sights. We want to achieve decent incomes, opportunities for families, and homes we can all be proud of.
Decent income means the creation of well-paying jobs. Government plays a role here. The OECD says that benefits from agglomeration in big cities play a part, but it is also clear that the really big opportunities for western economies lie in raising skill-levels in the regions.
Labour has always stood for strong regional development. We fought for Hillside, and we will save Invermay. Both of these local examples provided decent jobs, skills training and economic returns to the country.
Labour has a positive vision for this region’s economy. What we learn from the OECD is that not only is it in Otago’s interest, it is in New Zealand’s interest as a whole.
Much future opportunity for our city lies in high-tech. High-tech industries typically have low environmental footprints and build on the education that lies at the heart of Dunedin. There are many innovative firms in town – think: Pacific Edge, TracMap, TracPlus, Squid Gel, Avos, ADI, Fisher and Paykel design, Animation Research, NHNZ, PocketSmith, Education Perfect and Escea. These firms often succeed despite the head-winds created by a hands-off Government which leaves the playing field tilted towards established industries. A Labour-led government will prioritise support for emerging business.
And greater opportunity in Otago means we can build on our reputation as a great place to bring up kids. Labour stands for strong families. Our $60 Best Start payment will provide desperately needed support to the estimated 50,000 children under three who are currently living in poverty. Modest- and middle-income families will be eligible once they’ve used up any related paid parental leave. For Most families it will be for up to one year, but lower income families can count on it for three.
Labour will open opportunity for 25 hours’ free early childhood education for three, four and five year old children, an increase from 20 hours. We’ll reverse funding cuts made in Budget 2010 – that hit Dunedin hardest – for centres with high numbers of qualified staff.
We also want to make housing warmer, healthier and more affordable.
Home ownership rates are at their lowest level in 60 years. LVRs have seen first home owners locked out in Dunedin. Like most in the OECD we’ll bring a Capital Gains Tax to address speculation that drives house prices up. With industry, Labour will build the tens of thousands of houses that New Zealand needs. We’ll also introduce a warrant of fitness on rental housing that stops the letting of housing likely to cause ill-health.
As I campaign for the first time as a sitting electorate MP, I’m excited about the positive change that can be wrought by a government working with businesses, communities and families in our region. I’ve touched on decent incomes, family opportunities and housing we can be proud of. We’ve plenty more positive initiatives.
At its best, Labour has been a government of the people, working to achieve the type of enduring progressive change that matters. I’m positive the sixth Labour Government will do just that.
[Originally published in The Otago Daily Times, Monday 30 June 2014]
From Top left Clockwise: I had great fun answering the kid’s questions about Parliament when I recently visited Karitane School. Terrific to quiz two of my heroes – Profs Wilkinson and Pickett – The Spirit Level authors who popularised the myriad studies showing how a big gap between rich and poor is bad for everyone. With Joy in front of ‘the learning tree’ at Mornington School. With community co-housing pioneers at the old High Street School site in Mornington.
There’s always plenty happening in Dunedin North. Clockwise from top left: I was honoured to present framed certificates at the Inaugural Brockville Community Awards. With Maria Peach in Karitane yesterday when she’d finished catching some mid-winter waves. With Labour door-knockers heading to Halfway Bush on the weekend. Chatting with Nali Lee and Josh Livingstone in the University Link during my regular MP clinic.
Today I spoke frankly in Parliament.
I am concerned about the growing gap between rich and poor, what it is doing to our social fabric, and what it is doing to our economic prospects.
My concern formed a big part of my original decision to stand for Parliament. And – as you would expect – addressing inequality was a major theme in my maiden speech to Parliament.
Since then, things have got worse. The current Government is content to pass tax laws that drive the wedge between rich and poor. It is not good enough.
Labour does not accept the inevitability of a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. We have a positive vision for New Zealand, where every New Zealander has the opportunity to succeed.
I’d be interested to hear what you think.
Labour has announced that it will save Invermay. The Otago Daily Times has commended this decision.
A decision to save Invermay is easy. It costs nothing and increases New Zealand’s productivity. If you’re new to the Invermay story, watch this short video to understand why it is important to save it.
Scientists are currently scheduled to leave Invermay in 2017 – so in one sense there’s plenty of time. But actually there isn’t. We also know that AgResearch’s top scientists are casting about for work elsewhere and some have already left the organisation.
When top scientists leaves NZ we are all the poorer (quite literally). It takes many years to build the kinds of scientific collaboration and commercial partnerships that make Invermay the success that it is.
I’ve spoken again in Parliament about the changes. If you feel moved to act, please sign the petition which is still available in council offices and public libraries across Otago or at www.saveinvermay.co.nz to download.
If you’ve already signed the petition: thank you! Please help colleagues, family, and friends to do the same.
8000 signatures have been collected on the petition so far. 10,000 will be a hard number for any Government to ignore.