Editorial: Give us your questions and we'll give you the answers

What would you ask of these candidates if you had the chance?

What would you ask of these candidates if you had the chance?

OPINION: In a democracy we pay politicians to ask the difficult questions but we also pay them to find those difficult answers to which we ourselves lack the time or insight to know ourselves. 

How will you get the country off its low wage trajectory? How will you cut the waiting times at hospitals and how will you spend the tax money we give you in a way that is fair, beneficial and sustainable? 

All of these questions have multifaceted answers that rely as much on ideology as fact and therefore none of the answers will ever please everyone, all the time.

That is the nature of the complex society we live in. Because New Zealand has gone way past the basic questions of when will we have roads, schools, water and power and now we demand ever more intricate, insightful and nuanced answers from our politicians. 

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Whether these questions are about wages, health or government spending, inevitably they boil down to asking them how they will make our lives better. 

The problem with this is any improvement over the basics becomes increasingly subjective and, as such, is nearly impossible to easily demonstrate.

How much of an improvement is a new hospital wing over the old when it fulfills the same function. Is a winter with no power cuts better than a winter with numerous power cuts but a lower electricity price. Are cheap imported clothes better than expensive clothes from a thriving domestic industry. 

Add to that a general tendency among some people to move through life wearing a cloak of nostalgia that allows them to both appreciate improvements while simultaneously lauding the past as better and it begs the question of who would want to be a politician anyway?

Because complex answers are not easy to understand or even articulate, it can sometimes be more useful to ask a question of character of our political candidates.

Where do they stand on the gender pay-gap? Who do they love? What gets them out of bed in the morning? What book did they last read and if indeed they read at all?

From questions such as these you might be able to ascertain if their moral code of conduct and integrity matches with yours. You may be able to decide whether they are someone you want to believe in. 

On Tuesday the Taranaki Daily News will be holding a candidate's debate to which we have invited all those seeking to be elected to represent the New Plymouth electorate. 

There will be National's Jonathan Young, Labour's Corie Haddock, Stuart Bramhall from the Greens, Act's Anneka Carlson, Independent Basil Lawrence and NZ First's Murray Chong.

We want to know what questions you want answers to. What should these people who seek to be your representative in Wellington be asked to explain. 

Send your questions to editor@dailynews.co.nz. The best will be asked of each candidate on Tuesday. It will then be our job to listen to their answers.    

 - Stuff


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