Let’s focus on the issues, solutions

Wairoa Star, Wairoa East Coast by STUART NASH 06 Jul 2017

Nash Notes Stuart Nash Labour MP Wairoa, /Napier as a Member of Parliament it annoys me when, from time-to-time, politicians we forget we are well paid to primarily develop and implement solutions to the issues that are important to New Zealanders.

The past couple of weeks have been dominated by two issues that have increased the general public’s cynicism towards politics and politicians.

Firstly we had the Todd Barclay affair where a naive young National MP resorted to breaking the law in order to prove an employee’s incompetence.

Then we had the Labour interns saga, where an ex-chief of staff tried to run a programme for international interns that completely turned to custard.

While these incidents point to varying levels of incompetency on behalf of both sides, the real damage (in my book at least) is it turns people off politics.

Or to put it another way, we are behaving in a way that simply meets the expectations of a large number of New Zealnders – badly! The disappointing thing is that with less than three months until the general election, this is the very time politicians should be out there talking about policies and ideas, and pushing solutions to issues that are important – like housing affordability and the shortage of social housing, increasing levels of crime, meth use out of control, health care reform and underfunding of the sector, education and the difficulty schools have attracting staff to Auckland and rural New Zealand, unemployment and the need for more economic development.

Instead, the media is dominated by internal squabbles and palace politics.

For this, on behalf of my profession, I apologise.

The other disappointing thing is the political media actually concentrate on this sort of nonsense and turn a whiff of an issue into a full-blown scandal.

I am hopeful that in the lead-up to the September 23 general election the mood changes and the media does start analysing each party’s policies in a way that engages with the public in a positive way; and that our political leaders stay on-message and therefore we see a positive campaign based around ideas, solutions and a vision for New Zealand.

I am proud of the fact that when I criticise something, I always try and offer an alternative solution.

After all, politics and politicians can either be a force for good or a complete waste of time. I like to think that I practise the former.

What’s the point in being here if one doesn’t seek to make positive change that benefits everyone?

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