A fair, productive and fun Dunedin.

I have an active interest in many issues affecting New Zealand.  Here a few thoughts on the following: fairness, health, education, our independent voice in the Pacific, the environment, and having fun.

Fairness.

We pride ourselves on belonging to a fair society.  The gap between rich and poor must stop growing.

One out of every five children born in New Zealand today is born into poverty. Those who are struggling must be given support to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed.  The success of every child matters to our families, our communities, and to our future as a country.

Health.

You and I value access for everyone to quality health-care.  And we know that a properly funded hospital and accessible health-care services ensures a strong and productive population.

Demand for new and expensive health-care services is growing and things are constantly changing in the sector.  But some things are simple.  We in Dunedin fought to retain neurosurgery because it made sense.  I will continue to fight to retain key services for our community.

A quality teaching hospital is also crucial to the future of the University, and with it to the city.

Education.

I’ve looked at the education sector from many sides.  As a student, as a tutor, as a parent.  I’ve even spent time at the Treasury working on education issues. My work at Selwyn College brought me into contact with Otago University every day.

• Early years are the most important. I am an advocate for free quality early childhood education.
• All schools must be safe with dedicated teachers, and an education system that delivers quality results for our kids.
• A strong tertiary education sector is critical to a strong Dunedin.

Dunedin needs quality well-resourced schools, excellent vocational training and a university that leads our country forward.

An independent voice in the Pacific.

Our forebears came here in search of a better way of life.  New Zealanders are different, and we have led the world in many things.  We are celebrated as the first country in the world to grant universal suffrage.  We had an early and excellent version of the modern welfare-state.  Our anti-nuclear stance has enhanced our image as a principled, fair-minded and independent country.

We must continue to be a farsighted and principled international voice.

Environment.

Dunedin’s early fathers left us a legacy of parks and reserves, the green belt and the botanic gardens.  Our lives are enhanced by the recreational opportunities afforded by our beautiful city and our beautiful island.  I want to make sure we hand the benefits we’ve enjoyed to the next generation. Our own well-being and the future for our children depends upon our safe and pleasurable environment.

Under the fifth Labour government, both in Treasury and in parliament buildings, I worked with Ministers to establish New Zealand’s first emissions’ trading system.  Imperfect though it was, it established the importance of the ‘polluter pays’ principle. I also worked closely with the Minister of Energy to turn the sector towards a focus on New Zealand’s plentiful supplies of renewable energy.

Fun.

Last, but by no means least: Dunedin must remain a welcoming, friendly and fun place to live.  The creativity, energy and flair of our student population must be harnessed to keep our city lively and interesting.  Our innovators need to be celebrated.

Dunedin is a special place.  I see people walking at the reservoir, picnicking in the gardens, visiting the Farmer’s Market, cycling to Waitati, eating out, doing gardening or DIY, out at the beach.  Dunedin enjoys a reputation as a city where ‘people work to live, not live to work’.  We’re lucky to be here. Let’s make the most of our quality of life.