Keeping MPs in touch, grounded

As another Christmas arrives it seems an appropriate time to take a breath and reflect on our achievements during the past year.

First up there's Labour's new leader, David Cunliffe. He is energetic, organised and full of new ideas - all qualities that will make him a more than capable prime minister.

He, along with the rest of the Labour Party, is committed to getting members out and into their neighbourhoods and communities to ensure every New Zealander knows what Labour is about.

Door-knocking was hugely successful in the Christchurch by- election, as it was in Ikaroa- Rawhiti.

It keeps MPs grounded and in touch.

This year also saw Labour work alongside Grey Power to get the citizens initiated referendum on asset sales off the ground.

Two-thirds of New Zealanders gave National's sell-down programme a resounding thumbs down.

I have no doubt David Cunliffe will be instrumental in getting New Zealand back on track as a country where the most vulnerable are cared for, the resources of the country are distributed fairly, and important issues like education and child poverty are managed responsibly.

In Invercargill, for instance, there are schools that still stand empty a decade after they were closed. That needs sorting.

The National Government claims it is putting children and their families first.

I'm sure the many parents who are struggling to put food on their family table or presents under a tree would disagree.

I am proud to endorse the new Labour Party candidate for Clutha-Southland, Liz Craig.

Dr Craig is the director of Otago University's NZ Child and Youth Epidemiology Service.

She is clear that we need to do more to eliminate child poverty.

Rates of disease are significantly higher for children from low-income families.

Poverty is making children sick.

And if we do not focus on reducing poverty rates, we will all pay the price.

Dr Craig has the first-hand knowledge to advocate for families. To ensure that children have enough to have a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

And that is my wish for you all.

» Clare Curran (Labour) is the MP for Dunedin South.

The Southland Times