Speech to 2014 AGM of NZ Nurses Organisation
Wellington 18th September 2014
E ngā Mana, E ngā Reo, E ngā Iwi o te Motu, Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā Tātou Katoa.
You may be one of the almost half a million voters who has already voted. If you’re not, I certainly hope every person in this room will have voted in the next two days, and that you’ve dragged as many others to the polls as you possibly can. Not voting is not an act of rebellion; it’s an act of surrender.
As you may know I live in Greymouth, and I’m a candidate in the West Coast Tasman electorate, but as with every other Green Party candidate around the country, I am asking not for electorate votes but for your party vote. Party voting Green is the way all of our MPs are elected. If you want to see good Green change. If you want not only a new government, but also a new direction, then please Party Vote Green.
Like you, we love Aotearoa New Zealand!
But there’s plenty of areas where we all need to show our country a bit more love.
It’s not okay that:
- 61% of the monitored sites on our rivers show water that is unsafe to swim in
- Our beaches and marine ecosystems are being endangered by risky deep sea oil drilling
- The world’s rarest dolphin is at serious risk of extinction on our watch
- Our country has no plan and has taken no effective action to combat climate change
- More than a quarter of a million children miss out on essentials like food, clothing and access to health services because of poverty
- A person can work full time and still not bring home enough money to cover even basic living costs
- The Wellington wharf is day-in, day-out piled high with raw logs waiting to be shipped to China, emblematic of our low quality, low wage NZ economy.
The Green Party says we need to show our love for this country with a cleaner environment where our rivers are safe to swim in, a fairer society where every child can thrive and a smarter economy that will work for everyone.
At this election we have announced policies that would deliver:
- A wahakura welcome – a sleeping basket, bedding and clothing as a gift from our country to every new born baby. That’s about preventing illness and providing practical help but more importantly it says to new parents “You don’t have to do this alone. Our whole country has a stake in ensuring your child has a great life.”
- Backing that up with a non-discriminatory child tax credit and parental tax credit, aimed at alleviating child poverty funded by increasing the top tax rate to 40%
- Supporting Sue Moroney’s parental leave bill at 26 weeks, but looking to extend that out to 13 months, like Sweden,
- Extending free Early Childhood Education to two year olds
- Ensuring that they live in a warm, dry, healthy and secure home through extending OUR home insulation scheme, introducing a warrant of fitness for all rental houses, legislating for better rental security and increasing housing supply to address overcrowding
- Dropping power prices through our joint NZPower scheme with Labour, and introducing progressive power pricing to deal with fuel poverty
- Using all the tools at the Government’s disposal – even though National will call us a nanny state – to control obesogenic environments, and to drastically reduce the damage alcohol and tobacco are continuing to cause
- Prioritising safe walking and cycling to schools for our transport budget
- Making schools hubs for delivery of other services and providing free lunches, free after school and holiday care and dedicated nurses in all decile 1-4 schools
- Scrapping pretty well everything in National’s education reforms and returning to the idea of schooling being tailored to the individual needs of each child, along with the resources to make that possible
- We have a whole bunch of measures aimed at making it more achievable for all school leavers to move into productive work, study or other training
- Massive investment into innovation, research and development to deliver a more diverse, higher wage economy
- Better protection for workers and unions
- And restoring the natural environment so kids born today will still be able to share our love of nature with their kids.
In the health arena we say:
- End National’s erosion of health services, which they have budgeted to continue, by funding health services to keep pace with increasing need
- Return investment into public health, primary care and other community-based services, which have been the biggest losers under National
- Strengthen and extend Whānau Ora
- Make all primary care entirely free up to the age of 18, and after that age more strongly target primary care funding according to need. The principle must be that NOBODY who needs primary care services should be prevented from getting them because of cost
- We will reinstate the mental health ringfence and the requirement that all DHBs meet the volume of mental health and AOD treatment services indicated by the Blueprint
- We will expand the targets in the Health sector, to focus on what is genuinely important for improving health service quality, rather than what will make the Minister look good
- We will address workforce problems through a genuine partnership with health professionals, providers and training organisations
- We will mandate safe staffing through CCDM in all hospitals and
- We will ensure that all new nursing graduates have a job they can go to
- We will close the gap between aged care services and DHB-employed nurses and we will ensure that all workers and all provider organisations are paid fairly for the work they do.
We love New Zealand
We believe it’s time for Government to return to the central purpose of expressing our collective commitment to look after each other and the natural world, and creating a better world for the generations to come, not simply making the economy grow faster.
We will bring a different set of priorities to the decisions Government makes about resource allocation to that which National has used. We will not be spending $20Bn on so-called “roads of national significance”. We will not be giving away $1.1Bn each year in tax cuts for the wealthiest New Zealanders. We will not be selling off strategic public assets for political purposes.
Yes our programme for ensuring every New Zealander can thrive is an expensive one. But it is totally possible to achieve this just by making different value choices to those National has made. The economics consultancy firm Infometrics has independently reviewed our revenue and spending plans, and concluded not only that we can deliver these transformational programmes, but also that we will run a larger surplus and pay down national debt faster than National.
You can make this possible. We have 14 MPs now. Our target is for at least 15% of the Party Vote, which would bring us 20 or more. 20 or more principled, pragmatic and positive MPs who love Aotearoa and will make it better.
Cleaner, fairer, smarter.
Party Vote Green