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

Red Alert

I posted yesterday on Red Alert for the first time.  Posting on the Labour MPs’ blog site provided me with a chance to introduce myself to a wider audience. I took the opportunity to point to some of the issues in New Zealand that most need addressing.

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Holiday Snap

Surrounded by spectacular scenery on the Rakaia river.

What a terrific country we live in.  Let’s keep it that way.

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Puzzling facts

We’ve just had a relaxing summer break with family.  We stayed at a high-country station near Methven.  The dog came too.

I love the opportunity to get out into the outdoors, to ride my bike and to eat in a leisurely way. 

But one of my favourite summer-time rituals is a little quirkier.  It involves several days absorbed in back-issues of The Listener.   I indulge myself in a series of David Tossman’s Cryptic crosswords.  While I solicit help from others from time-to-time, often I am singularly obsessed with this pursuit. 

I’ve often wondered why these puzzles are so attractive. And maybe I’ve just stumbled across this riddle’s answer…

An article in the New York Times explains that they affect mood.  The very idea of doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle shifts the brain into an open, playful state that is itself a pleasing and captivating escape.

Curiously, it is not clear whether or not the chicken comes before the egg; the effect may run the other way too. Humour and a buoyant mood can move the brain into a state that is better for problem solving!

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Christmas cheer

Wishing all blog readers, friends and supporters good cheer over the festive season.

Special thanks to the volunteers who have delivered my pamphlet across the Dunedin North electorate in recent weeks.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

David

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Christmas fire sale

In a cynical move, this Government has dropped an array of unwelcome news just before Christmas.  It has done this in the hope that the outrage will have died down by the time we’re back from our holidays.

I’ve written a piece on The Standard about the Government’s decision to sell off a power plant that helps cap power prices and assists security of electricity supply.  This was announced 8 days before Christmas.  It seems National are unconcerned about the old and the infirm being unable to pay their power bills: or worse – freezing to death in mid-winter power cuts.  There’s plenty of robust debate in the comments section.

The decision to privatise workplace insurance is both cynical and awful.  Sadly, predictably, it’s been announced in the week before Christmas.  Our ACC system is envied by the world.  The Government’s proposal will encourage under-reporting and will generate private profits at the expense of the taxpayer.  Find out more here.

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A wee bit more like Dunedin

Those who support the Labour Party often do so because they want to create a better New Zealand, and a better world.

We who fall into this category want a New Zealand where: our children have a good education; we feel warm and secure in our homes, and; opportunities for work and education are open to all. We want a New Zealand: where a trip to hospital doesn’t require a chequebook; where all people are included; where the elderly are afforded decent care.  And we want a New Zealand that strives for social justice.

I think Dunedin North is closer to some of these ideals than other parts of New Zealand. More…

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Pike River – more sad news

Sad news today of redundancies at Pike River.

Labour list MP,  Damien O’Connor, has said what will be on the minds of many: ”the least” Pike River Coal could do was pay the miners their wages and bonuses.

“Those who worked at Pike River are already dealing with the trauma of losing their colleagues, sons, brothers and fellow Coasters and they should not now have to deal with not receiving money they are owed.”

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Nature's best

Even in these straightened times we mustn’t lose sight of our environment. 

Dunedin’s early fathers left us a legacy of parks and reserves, the green belt and the botanic gardens.  Our happiness depends in part upon the recreational opportunities afforded by life in a beautiful city and on a beautiful island.  We are grateful.  We want to hand the benefits we’ve enjoyed to the next generation. Our own well-being and the future for our children depends upon a safe environment. 

Our growing rich-poor gap is not only socially damaging. It can also be environmentally damaging. Reducing the gini coefficient is certainly part of the solution to our environmental woes. People who don’t know where their kids’ next meal is coming from aren’t going to rush out and buy a hybrid are they?

Even simple economics suggests we should care for our surroundings.  Tourism is our country’s second biggest export earner and it is driven by our 100% pure brand.  Without income from Tourism, we couldn’t afford the public services like schools and hospitals that are crucial to a fair society.  The 100% pure brand relies on us not destroying our birthright.

Meet the earthclock.  It sits on a website full of useful and accessible resources.  There are tools and tips on how to save energy at home.  Some of the material on the site is simplistic (for example, its presentation of the foodmiles argument is limited) yet I find myself returning time and again to the earthclock.  I find its dash-board style representation of the use of earth’s resources a sobering reminder of human impact on the planet.

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Short updates

Phil Goff and Sue Moroney have revealed detail of the Government’s Early Childhood Education centre cuts.  The survey data is sobering.  The 54 centres that responded to the survey in Otago will lose an average of $48,500 per centre as a result of the Government’s cuts.

Andrew Geddis led debate on the extraordinary powers afforded Gerry Brownlee in the wake of the Canterbury Quake.  He has posted a reflection three months on.  A report on use of the Earthquake powers was released this week.   The increasing use of extraordinary powers is the most worrying thing.

Rino Tirikatene has won the opportunity to stand for Labour in the Te Tai Tonga Maori electorate that takes in the South Island.  I look forward to campaigning alongside him at the next election.

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Congratulations Ben!

Congratulations are due to my brother Ben Clark. 

Ben was yesterday evening confirmed as the Labour Party candidate for North Shore at the next election.

Ben is a smart, thoughtful and civic-minded individual.  He’s had a busy few weeks with the birth of his second daughter, lots on at work – and the increasing demands of politics. 

Ben will bring plenty to the party; he’s got a good policy brain and is a tireless submitter to select committees.  Career-wise, he’s been a computer programmer since leaving Otago in the mid nineties. 

On a lighter note: the prospect of brothers in politics has generated some amusement in media circles, from comparisons with Britain’s Miliband brothers in the ODT to photoshopped depictions of the dynamic duo in the Standard.

Welcome aboard Ben!  I look forward to campaigning alongside you at the next election.

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