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

Photos from the campaign trail


Conserving our future

Cuts to the Department of Conservation (DOC) have hurt Dunedin.  The National Government’s promise to “cut bureaucracy and preserve front-line jobs” rang hollow here.  In our town six front-line DOC workers were cut this year.

DOC currently manages about a third of New Zealand’s land mass with a budget roughly the same size as that of the Hamilton City Council. They contribute to our clean, green brand – but are very thinly stretched.

So what would Labour do differently?  Well, our conservation policy has been announced.  In short: we’re going to invest more in the Department of Conservation as well as in the volunteer communities that support our conservation efforts.

Besides investing in people, significant projects are proposed:

– Labour aims to have 30 per cent of our marine area in some form of protection by 2020 – both in the territorial sea (out to 12 nautical miles) and the exclusive economic zone or EEZ (a further 200 nautical miles).

– The NZ biodiversity strategy will be properly reviewed, and findings implemented.

– The water conservation orders, recently undermined by National, will be built up again.

– Labour will strengthen the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation 2011.

– And with Labour there will be no mining of national parks. Labour has always opposed mining on Schedule 4 land.  Its status will be simplified and strengthened, providing certainty for all interests.

Our environment is critical to our identity as New Zealanders.  And beyond that, Labour appreciates the economic value of our clean, green brand.  Clever policies which enhance our conservation estate are good for our own enjoyment and our future prosperity.  Labour will do plenty more.  Details will be on Labour’s policy page soon.  In the meantime, some bullet points from the press release below:

-Continue to encourage private sector investment in conservation projects;
-Resource weed and integrated pest control on public conservation land to protect threatened species, ecosystems and significant landscapes;
-Promote predator-free island sanctuaries, and be vigilant in protecting them;
-Continue to make additions to land held for public conservation through dedicated funds (e.g. the Nature Heritage Fund);
-Begin a systematic classification of stewardship land;
-Formally investigate adding the Mokihinui river area to Kahurangi National Park;
-Pursue iwi, local government, community and corporate partnerships for conservation projects, reviewing DOC’s role in the Treaty settlement process;
-Encourage private landowners to protect conservation values on their land;
-Reinstate the Enviro-Schools programme;
-Target school-leavers who are contemplating working in the conservation sector;
-Develop new camping grounds as opportunities arise;
-Implement a phase-out of unsustainable fishing methods;
-Prohibit shark finning;
-Recommit to the Antarctic Treaty system, and act as an international advocate for the protection of the Antarctic ecosystem from mineral or other inappropriate exploitation.


Occupy Dunedin

Last night, I spoke at the Occupy gathering in the Octagon.  I thanked those involved for bringing the Occupy discussion to Dunedin.

I’ve blogged about Occupy before.  It is drawing attention to the growing gap between rich and poor.

Many of those involved in Occupy Dunedin come and go.  They’ve got jobs to hold down during the day (or shift work at night) and they show up in the Octagon as time allows.  While the group covers a broad cross-section of society, they share a common concern that things are not as they should be.

And things are not as they should be.  Under the More…


Labour's TV launch

Labour’s TV launch on Friday was different.

The documentary style is a bit experimental.  It’s certainly got tongues wagging.

Watching it makes me feel proud. From the feedback I’ve received around the traps, I’m not alone in that.

Curious?  Or want to view it again. Click this link. It’s well worth a look.


Campaigning Dunedin

It’s been a top week.  Labour has grabbed the initiative.

We’ve grasped the nettle on superannuation.  Labour’s decision to tackle the big issues is being rewarded.  Commentators have complimented Labour on its courage – and panned National ducking for cover.

I’m out and about spreading the word on Labour’s new policies.  This week some events have been less political: I’ve chaired a meeting of the Otago Community Trust, met with Mayor and Councillors, and dropped in on the Presbyterian Support AGM.  And in the political arena: I’ve argued for better public health funding, shared my views on sustainability issues, and spoken about education policy, attended a business networking meeting, and researched Otago University’s recent commercialisation successes.

I’ve also dropped in on folk camped out in the Octagon. They’re drawing attention to the growing gap between rich and poor. Last week I wrote a blog for the Labour MPs site on the Occupy movement.  I noted intriguing debate on developments in Occupy Dunedin at The Standard too.  The online debate echoed the process of the movement itself.

And today, I went to the St John’s fair in Roslyn.  Good to catch up with heaps of old friends.  We came away with some quality bric-a-brac too.  Then off to Port for some door-knocking with Labour supporters.  It was hot.  Everyone I met had a sunny smile.  A truly magic day.


For our future

This election will be critical to our country’s future.

The current government has no plausible plan for the economy. They want to sell off our state assets to afford the tax cuts they’ve already given our wealthiest citizens. When the money from the sale dries up, they expect things to get worse.  Even Standard and Poors agree with them on that point.

Labour, on the other hand, wants to create a fairer tax system, and map out a path to a more prosperous future.

The choice is stark.  Only Labour can stop the sale of our state assets.

Because the choice is stark and the message clear, I’m enjoying being full-time on the campaign trail.  My job is made easier by the many strong policies Labour already has out. Further details on Labour’s policies as they’re released can be found on the ownourfuture website.

Until recently, I’ve been working my full-time day job alongside the demands of the campaign. But now I’m on leave.  That means I’m able to commit all of my available time to getting the Labour message out to the voting public.

If I haven’t run into you yet, I hope to see you soon.



Photos from Sunny Dunedin


Hoardings a go

Thanks to all the people who are helping the campaign out by erecting billboards or supplying a fence or window to display one.  More of each are needed.  If you’re able to help, please be in touch.


Dunedin schools are good schools

Yesterday, retiring MP Pete Hodgson and I dropped in on Bradford School’s hands on science afternoon. 

Bradford School was buzzing.  The children were bubbling with enthusiasm as they showed us around.  They mixed coloured fluids to make ‘traffic lights’ in a glass.  It reminded me of visiting Cobb and Co as a kid – the traffic light drink was always a highlight.

The hands on science was impressive stuff.  I don’t remember science at primary school being this involved.  Posters illustrating previous experiments were on display.  Unpopped pop-corn kernels had  been counted, the effect of acid on metals had been observed, as had the volcanic effect of breath-mints inserted into Cola.  The colour composition of felt-pens had been examined using chromatography. 

My experience is that all schools in Dunedin are good.  Dunedin doesn’t seem to have bad schools.  We are well served.  Maybe it is a consequence of our strong Scottish heritage.  After all, the Scots were responsible for starting New Zealand’s first University here in this city.  Maybe it is related to the proliferation of quality early childhood eduction options in Dunedin.  Maybe it is because parents put time into their children and the schools they attend.  Last weekend, I visited George St school fair and the number of parents volunteering at the fair was impressive. 

I’m sure Dunedin’s schooling success is a combination of many factors.  And partly it’s because it’s the way things have been for a long time.

Dunedin teachers are professionals, and they do a good job.  Let’s celebrate them.


You can't beat Dunedin on a good day vi

Dunedin is pumping. 

Friendly weather and visitors for a World Cup makes for a carnival atmosphere. Often it’s hidden treasures, off the beaten track, that are most fun. 

Last night I dropped into the Regent 24 hour book sale. I took some first-timers – they were impressed.  The layout has changed with the new seating, but there are still plenty of old friends to bump into.  And bargains to be had.

Up early and off to the Farmers’ Market this morning.  This isn’t the first time I’ve raved about the whitebait.

Then we visited the George Street Normal School fair.  Great community event.  Wonderful cultural performance by the kids. Hand decorated cupcakes.  Great banter at the food stalls.  Burger or Bacon Buttie?  We got both.  Dog got the scraps.

A quick photo with all of the ‘Bobs’ at the Bacon Buttie stand.  And then home.  
Over the road there’s a game of touch rugby going on.  Some of my former Selwyn students are taking on some Puma’s fans.  Last weekend, I went to the Fathers’ Day event at the Edgar centre. Annette King and I stopped in on Polyfest too.  There’s always plenty going on in Dunedin…  And the carnival atmosphere adds another dimension.
You can’t beat Dunedin on a good day.