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

Out and about in Dunedin

Mornington School Kapa Haka GroupMP at Globe TheatreMP with Youth MP Bokyong MunMP with Tony WilliamsSteiner School visitAt Waitati School with teachers and assistantsBotanic Gardens 150 celebration 1Botanic Gardens 150 celebration 2

There’s stacks going on in Dunedin through the winter.  Congratulations to schools keeping kids motivated through the depths of winter (photos from recent visits to Mornington, Steiner and Waitati Schools), to the Globe theatre (for persistence with troublesome buildings), my Youth MP Bokyong Mun (forming a local advisory group), artisan Tony Williams (successful local business), and the Botanic Gardens (top international status and a 150 year celebration).

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The Snow

Dunedin SnowVan in SnowOff to Wellington on footOpoho snowman

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Fairness as a cultural imperative

I briefly mentioned the importance of ‘fairness’ as a cultural value in an overview of my USA study trip. Since then, I’ve expanded on the theme in the Otago Daily Times.

While ‘fairness’ has been important in our past, it is even more important to our future.  Social cohesion and economic advancement demand it.  It makes sense to develop all of the talent in a society, not just the talent of a wealthy few.

But fairness is also a reason New Zealanders are invited to sit at the table during international negotiations – despite our small size.  That means it’s good for our exporters.

I’ve had heaps of feedback on the ODT piece on fairness. Click on the link to read the full opinion piece published in the Otago Daily Times.

Colin Powell David Clark

The danger to future prosperity of growing inequalities is something I’ve written about before I was elected to Parliament. See here. Since then the situation has got worse.  Recent reports show that the gap between rich and poor is the largest it has ever been in New Zealand.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that the Government act to make our country a fairer one.

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Budget debate speech

In this country – on average – Labour Governments have grown the economy faster than National Governments. Sadly this fact is not more widely known. But this Government’s unfortunate distinction is that it has *the* single worst economic record of any New Zealand Government in the last 50 years.

Here’s my contribution to this year’s Budget debate.

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Eisenhower Fellowship

The Eisenhower Fellowship exchange programme has been a tremendous privilege.

Now my time in the USA is drawing to a close. During my time in USA, I’ve met with a range of political, social and economic experts. And I’ve got to know a group of astonishingly talented people.

I’ve also met with internationally recognised figures such as Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York Times Journalist Tom Friedman, former New Zealander Politicians now holding international responsibilities like Helen Clark, Mike Moore and Jim McLay, and influential Kiwis who live abroad but retain a passionate interest in supporting the country that gave them opportunity, like Derek Handley, and Hon Peter S. Watson.  Dozens of others with and without New Zealand connections have given of their time and expertise.

With this privilege comes responsibility.

Having travelled largely on my own, the programme now requires that the 21 exchange Fellows come together as a group – from diverse nations – to devise our contribution to making a more just, peaceful and prosperous world.

Over the past six weeks, I’ve had time to think.  I’ve focused on inequality, social justice, education and values.

I understand better that the strength of New Zealand’s contribution to the world comes through its reputation as an independent nation that values fairness.  The fairer New Zealand society becomes, the better for us.  But also, the better for the world. The hermeneutic of David Hackett Fischer in particular has resonated during my trip.

When I return to New Zealand, I will bring some very practical policy ideas, but I think the most important thing will be a renewed sense of the importance of fairness to New Zealand’s future.  Our economic and social future depend upon ensuring every Kiwi has the opportunity to succeed.

Amish buggy in PennsylvaniaEisenhower Fellowship with Navajo Nation President Shelly and First LadyWith Senator Elizabeth WarrenVincent High School visit MilwaukeeAt Google SanFran, trialling Google BikesWith State Representative Daniel Riemer in MilwaukeeInflatable RobotsCycle Courier Portland

 

 

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#BostonStrong

I hadn’t counted on this experience during my Eisenhower Fellowship USA study visit.

Along with residents of neighbouring suburbs, I spent 10 hours in ‘lockdown’ in Cambridge Massachusetts while police hunted nearby for the second bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

After flying into Boston late Thursday evening, I woke to news I was not to leave my hotel. It was towards the centre of a search area. 

Stay indoors instruction BostonCoffee and TV screens at buffet breakfast

The day’s meetings were cancelled. I spent the day tracking local TV and social media, drinking coffee and and catching up on correspondence.

Roughly an hour after the ‘lockdown’ instruction was lifted, Tsarnaev was located in a boat parked in a Watertown backyard a few kilometres away. By that time, I was out walking the eerily quiet streets.  The only thing that punctuated the silence were sirens of speeding police cars heading (Twitter told me minutes later) toward that boat. 

Police speed to suspect in boat through empty streetsBoston Municipal Buildings half mast and Police drive pastPublic transport resumes in quiet city BostonStreets begin to come alive Boston

There are many affected both directly and indirectly by events, many shocked that terror and its aftermath could happen so close to home. I attended a Church service at the First Congregationalist Church in Cambridge this morning. The preacher offered ‘space away from the glare of media’ for reflection and prayer. The prayers named parish members who knew the suspects, who worked in the hospitals, who lived in nearby streets. Some wept in the pews and gasped audibly as prayers were offered too for the suspects and their families.

First Church Congregationalist United Church BostonBoston Free Hugs

Walking into town after the Church service students offered free hugs to passers by.  Shop windows and placards everywhere carry the moniker #BostonStrong.  The town is slowly coming to life. 

Boston Strong

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School buses: a fight for common sense

I am a big supporter of our public school system.  David Shearer’s promise of a world-class education at your local school is spot on.  It needs to be.  Anything less risks not achieving the potential that sits across our society.

I can also understand Government policies that aim to save taxpayer money.  But sometimes, in the push for apparent savings the application of Government policies seem to make little sense.  At times it appears bureaucracy gets in the way.   The cessation of free school bus services for students living in the Blueskin Bay area already enrolled in Dunedin secondary schools is one of those times.  I wrote about it in an opinion piece late last month:

DScene article - School Buses

Three weeks ago, I hosted a meeting at Waitati with affected school Principals, concerned parents and Government representatives to try to get a common sense solution to the problem outlined in the article linked in the thumbnail above.

At the Waitati meeting, Ministry officials promised to raise issues with their political masters including issues of natural justice and compensation for those affected.  Since then, the phone has been off the hook; we’ve heard nothing back.  But I am still holding out a little hope that no news is a sign of good news to come. Fingers crossed that common sense will prevail.

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In and Around Dunedin

With Young Labour at OU Clubs and Socs DayOrganpipes, Mt CargillBest Dressed MPs. Goodness!Charter Parade with Lt Cdr McCaw, & Paul OrdersWith Young Labour DoorknockersWith Valley Voice Folding GroupMV Monarch, DunedinSouthern Steel supporting Weetbix TryathlonWeetbix Tryathlon medal presentationWith Sophie Pascoe, Ali Shanks, Aaron Smith

A post earlier in the month highlighted the many and varied activities of a local electorate MP. Here are a few more examples: welcoming students, exploring Mt Cargill’s ‘Organ Pipes’, selected as a best dressed MP [No. Really.], supporting the Navy Charter Parade for HMNZS Otago, Door-knocking with Young Labour, folding the Valley Voice Newsletter, on-board the Monarch, and presenting the medals to Weetbix Tryathlon competitors with sports stars Netball starts Jodi Brown and Te Paea Selby-Rickit, multiple Paralympic swimming Gold medalist Sophie Pascoe, World Pursuit Champion Ali Shanks and All Black Aaron Smith.

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Economic Development

It has been a big fortnight in politics for me.  David Shearer has reviewed our Labour caucus and refreshed the lineup.

As a relatively new Member of Parliament, I received a big promotion and a new challenge.  I feel privileged to have been trusted with significant new responsibilities as I take over the role of spokesperson for Economic Development and Small Business. I’m excited about the opportunity.

Of course with any promotion comes increased expectations as a related Otago Daily Times editorial makes plain.

For those with an interest in jobs and the economy, TV3’s Firstline asked me where I want to take the portfolios.

In short, David Shearer has shared his vision for a clean, green, diversified economy that creates jobs in a sustainable way. My task is to outline a credible plan to get there.  Elsewhere, I’ve shared in writing some early thoughts about these new responsibilities.

 

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Nice one Stu!

Wow. Local musician and personality Wolfman Stuey has alerted me to this recording of a song he’s written. He says it’s in support of my efforts as the local Member of Parliament. He’s fed up with the Government and wants me to keep holding them to account. Thanks Stu! I appreciate the support and I’ll keep at it.

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