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

Articles on Asset Sales and Industrial Unrest

I’ve now had a couple of columns published in D-Scene.

Most recently in an article entitled ‘workers deserve more’, I’ve discussed rising levels of frustration amongst people working and saving hard.  They’re doing all of the right things but just don’t feel like they can get ahead.  They were promised something more by the current Government, and now we’re seeing their anger boil over as they seek wages that keep pace with the rising cost of living.

Earlier, I wrote an article on asset sales.  I explain why overseas ownership is not a good idea for the Crafar farms or for our power companies.  You just can’t sell your way to a brighter future.

Follow the links to read my views.  Constructive comments welcome below.

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Road Safety in Dunedin

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to ride with Calum McCreath in the cab of his truck from Kaikorai Valley out to Port Chalmers. As a cyclist, I’m well aware of the challenges presented by other transport, including trucks.  This was an opportunity for me to see the challenges truck drivers face, including those presented by other motorists and cyclists.

Actually, we didn’t see a lot of other traffic on the road, but I got a good sense of the momentum of the vehicle, and enjoyed the opportunity to see heavy machinery in action at the Port.

Ultimately, a proportion of New Zealand’s freight will travel by rail and coastal shipping, but trucks continue to play a significant role in getting our exports to market and in moving the goods we want to buy around the country. The more aware everyone is of the challenges they face, the safer we all will be.

Road users have a responsibility to educate themselves about the challenges other types of traffic face.  And in the end, a lot of road safety comes down to a simple willingness to share the road.

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Mondayising Bill gets Listener profile

The debate about my Bill to Mondayise Public Holidays associated with ANZAC and Waitangi rolls on.  The Listener devotes its editorial to the issue this week.  And Listener Cartoonist Chris Slane offers comment too:

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Dunedin Events

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Day one: Monday-ising public holidays

My first regular sitting day as an MP and I’ve had my Member’s Bill drawn from the ballot.  I’m getting plenty of ribbing from senior colleagues who’ve never had a bill drawn. 

The Bill seeks to ‘Monday-ise’ Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day when they fall on a weekend.

ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day are of great importance.  It is important that we continue to commemorate the days on the 6th of February and 25th of April. The Bill will not change that, but it will restore to Kiwis the holidays they deserve.

I’ve blogged more fully about the Bill at Red Alert.

Update 13 February: The DominionPost editor has taken a firm line in support of my Member’s Bill. A snippet:

“The legislation that sets out public holidays in New Zealand has undergone considerable changes in the past 10 years but, for some unfathomable reason, no government has ever had the gumption to “Mondayise” Waitangi Day and Anzac Day. The glaring anomaly means at least one of the holidays is lost every seven years, when they fall on a weekend. In 2010 and 2011, both were lost, in the latter case because of the rare circumstance of Anzac Day falling on Easter Monday.”  Read the full editorial here.

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New beginnings

The New Year is in full swing.

I have benefited from plenty of Southern sunshine and a decent summer break.  And now things are up and running again.  My calendar is being booked up for the months ahead, and I’m turning my mind to my maiden speech in Parliament.

I will be active on my facebook page during 2012. I’ll be less active on this blog. Much of the early part of this year will be focused on getting up to speed on the parliamentary environment, and with my portfolios.  But I’ll be on Red Alert more often than in the past.

Oh, and I’ve moved into the offices on Albany Street – previously occupied by Pete Hodgson. We’re open to the public office hours. Call by.

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Leadership

A couple of weeks have already passed since the election.  Much has changed.

First, I’ve been elected to Parliament as your new MP for Dunedin North.  Thank you to all of you who have supported me, whether practically through campaigning activities, or through kind words, or simply by voting.  I appreciate your support. And will do my level best to be worthy of the faith you’ve placed in me.

Second, Labour’s chosen a new leadership team.  David Shearer, former New Zealander of the year, and MBE recipient, is our new leader.  Wry critics have suggested his leadership in UN reconstruction work will fit him well for the task ahead.  Grant Robertson, Dunedin born and bred – and a longstanding friend – is his deputy. I am looking forward to supporting these two as they lead Labour’s bid for Government in 2014.

Third, more change has been signalled.  The Labour Party is going to undertake a constitutional review to ensure it’s structures and processes serve the best interests of the Party and of the New Zealanders it represents.

Change can be unsettling.  It is often risky.  I’m looking forward to it.

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Every kid deserves the best start

Every kiwi-kid deserves the best possible start in life.  Like many others, on Tuesday night I watched the hard-hitting child poverty documentary on TV3.

The last Labour Government lifted 130,000 kiwi-kids out of poverty through Working For Families.  But there is still much more to do.  I’ve previously written about child poverty and its effects.

The early years are most important to a child’s development.  It is worth investing more at the start.

We’re going to make some positive changes. Making sure parents earn a living wage means the bills can get paid, the family fed and the house properly heated.  Free 24/7 access to health-care for under 6s is vital. And access to 20 hours free – quality early childhood education means that all children can get the best possible start.

Labour’s plan for child well-being is found on the ownourfuture website.  Detailed policy is linked at the bottom of that page.

I’m very proud of the changes Labour will make if elected to government.

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Six days to save our assets

We’re in the final week of the election campaign.  My fellow candidates and I attended our last candidates meeting at Opoho Presbyterian this evening.  These meetings have been a terrific opportunity for people to hear why each candidate is interested in putting themselves forward for election. They’ve also been fun.

I’ve made clear from the start why I’m standing for election.  I’m deeply concerned about the growing gap between rich and poor.

Labour’s plan to make the first $5000 of income tax-free will mean mum and dad with a couple of kids will have at least $1000 more in the family budget each year.  It will be particularly good for students working part time to support themselves through university.  Labour is also promising to increase the minimum wage to $15/hr to make sure families can afford to feed their kids and heat their homes. Poverty costs us all in the long term. Every child deserves a decent start in life.  One way of supporting kids is through a living wage.

Labour’s opposition to asset sales has been well received.  The cost of living has risen astronomically in the last few years.  People struggling to pay for food and pay the electricity bills don’t have much left over at the end of the week.  And they certainly don’t have the money to buy back assets they already own.

Today I was out with the Dunedin North Labour team in Pine Hill.  It rained but our spirits were not dampened.  We’ll be out and about this week spreading the Labour message in a suburb near you.  Please come out and say hello, and join in a discussion about how we can own our future.

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A positive campaign

Phil Goff had a warm reception in Dunedin yesterday.  People here are keen to change the Government.

Yes Phil is popular down here, but good Government requires more than just a popular leader.

Here’s three reasons I’m feeling very positive about our local campaign:

1/ I find our policies easy to represent to people in Dunedin.  Labour is running with strong policies that line up well with the reasons I have chosen to run for parliament.  They align with my fundamental belief in the importance of creating a fairer society.  I am horrified by National’s priorities.  42% of the value of their 2009 tax-cuts went to the top 10% of income earners.  Just 2% of the value went to the bottom 20% of earners.  That is not fair.  The gap between rich and poor is too large.

2/ The policies Phil has announced show that Labour is prepared to tackle the big issues. Raising the superannuation age tackles the elephant in the room.  A capital gains tax stops tax-dodging and pushes money towards productive industries. (It also addresses our debt issue without having to sell our assets).  And making kids’ well-being a priority will ensure a better society and economy so that all of us are better off.

3/ Last but not least: local volunteer effort is impressive. The Dunedin North Labour campaign runs on local fundraising. Volunteers knock on doors and distribute pamphlets. They arrange meetings. Volunteers put up and maintain the hoardings we have up around town. Caring and thoughtful local members are dedicated to playing their part in creating a better future for our country. These are just some of the ways they work hard to make it happen.

Traditional voting patterns in Dunedin are strongly Labour. This is something I would never take for granted.  Yet the values and ideals of Dunedin residents remain strongly egalitarian.  That in itself is cause for a positive outlook.

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