Homes, jobs and families
In the upcoming election Labour are going to keep it short and sweet. We're going to focus on what we believe are the three most important things that matter most to voters: jobs, homes, and families.
But don't think for a moment Labour have abandoned all other policy because we haven't, but we figure if we get this trinity of jobs, homesand families right, then we'll have a better chance of making New Zealand a far better place to live and work. Let me tell you why.
Labour wants to get more people into their own homes. Good, well- built, insulated homes that can accommodate even the largest families. We call it Kiwibuild. The next Labour government plans to build an extra 100,000 homes. This will mean more affordable prices and more jobs. We'll put our families in new homes but we'll also ensure that mums and dads have jobs to maintain their mortgage and other commitments. There's a benefit for the kids too: we estimate Kiwibuild will create an extra 2000 apprenticeships - many of them in the south. Our policy will recharge the regions.
A healthy, happy family in their own homes is our goal while 200,000 people in poverty is a reminder and the source of our motivation to get rid of this National Government.
This trinity of responsible policy isn't a pipe dream - it's something we've achieved in previous Labour governments. We've seen in recent weeks how statistics can be easily fudged when transmitted between ministry and minister and I believe it happens with other ministries as well. The numbers aren't right. Every day the Government bangs on about how things are getting better, yet the numbers just don't add up. One day Paula Bennett tells us there are more and more people coming off the benefit and going into jobs but the next day there'll be evidence of more unemployed and that beneficiaries are on the rise - who do you believe?
As for the economy, we're told ad infinitum of our country's rock- star economy, well it might be rock-star but the lead singer is Englebert Humperdinck, which isn't very rock-star at all.
I believe a happy family is a healthy family so let's give them more things to be happy about. That's why we've narrowed our focus to jobs, homes, and family. We're going to give more and more Kiwis the awesome feeling of owning their own homes or at the very least, make sure families who are renting are in homes with a certified warrant of fitness.
Rino Tirikatene is MP for Te Tai Tonga.
The Southland Times