Wel-com.

The most recent issue of the Wellington Diocese Catholic newspaper, Wel-com, contains an interesting column written by Archbishop, John Dew. In it he discusses the up coming election and how people should look at the “total package” of a party before voting. In particular he talks about one Michael Fitzsimons who wrote in the October issue of the Tui Moto (Independent Catholic Magazine).

In this column Archbishop Dew asks “What is the vision of society that inspires our choice of leaders to govern the country for the next three years? Is it a vision that brings us just one small step closer to living according to the values of the Kingdom of God?”

Archbishop Dew wrote that the answer Michael offers looks like this;

“A manifesto that engages and benefits the whole community”

“Quality public education that empowers everyone to succeed”

“A health system for all, not just the privileged”

“A tax system that pays for it all”

“A resolve to act decisively on climate change”

“A commitment to restorative justice wherever possible”

“A determination to address entrenchment deprivation”

This is quite a list and one that should be considered when deciding who to vote for. So let us take a look at each of these points and compare them to the policies and platform that I am campaigning for through the Alliance.

1. “A manifesto that engages and benefits the whole community”

The Alliance actually has a manifesto that outlines all our policies. Few parties do these days. In it you can see how we have designed our policies to benefit everyone, not just those who fund our campaign but all of New Zealand.

“Quality public education that empowers everyone to succeed”

Only the Alliance is committed to a fully funded public education system that does not rely on donations from parents. We see schools fees as an extra financial burden on the parents of New Zealand. Parents should not have to worry about their chosen school needing extra funding. Parents should not get visits from debt collectors for not having paid their school fees.

The Alliance is committed to funding an education system with a maximum class size is 20. We see this as an important step in creating an education system where everyone (including the teachers) is empowered to succeed.

“A health system for all, not just the privileged”

The Alliance is dedicated to providing all New Zealanders with a healthcare system that is not only adequately funded and resourced but also free for all New Zealanders. We recognise that there are still people who struggle to find the money to pay for a visit to the doctor and/or pay the prescription costs, regardless of the fact that these cost have reduced in recent years. They may have reduced, but they are still a barrier to some. Only a free and resourced healthcare system can provide access for all New Zealanders.

“A tax system that pays for it all”

Of the minor parties, the Alliance is the only party who costs out its programme. We can honestly say we know where the money will come from. The Alliance has always followed the idea that people should only pay “according to their ability to pay”. To us this means removing GST, making the first $10 000 tax-free and introducing a tax system where those earning less than the national average of $41 000 pay significantly less income tax. The tax burden is shifted to where it has to belong, on those earning significantly more than the average. Please check our tax tables. As one of my fellow Alliance members put it “If you can afford to misplace 50 000 Tranzrail shares, you can afford to pay a bit more to help run our schools and hospitals”.  We think that is a reasonable expectation.

“A resolve to act decisively on climate change”

Climate change is one the greatest threats to our natural environment. New Zealand should be a world leader in finding solutions for climate change. We aim for carbon neutrality by 2030. The fight against climate change cannot be successful without international solidarity. The Alliance is committed to acting on climate change. Check our policy document here.

“A commitment to restorative justice wherever possible”

When in government the Alliance led the call for restorative justice processes in our criminal justice system. Due to our presence in Government, New Zealand now has the concept of restorative justice included in the relevant statutes. However, the needs of victims of criminal activity are still a major issue. The Alliance continues to be committed to the ideas and principles of a restorative justice system and will continue to fight to have them implemented.

“A determination to address entrenchment deprivation”

I believe this means being determined to removed from the New Zealand economic system those elements that keep people living in poverty. I think it means actively working towards eliminating poverty. Alliance candidate (and author of our budget) Jim Flynn has stated numerous times that the Alliance programme can eliminate poverty. Our programme will set in place a system where those who need assistance can actually get worthwhile assistance in a meaningful time frame. Those who need healthcare get healthcare and are not referred on to a private provider. Students who are struggling will get the assistance they need sooner rather than later. People will be able to afford to buy sufficient, quality, locally produced food for their families.

So as you can see, when you compare our platform against the criteria laid out by Michael Fitzsimons we actually stack up quite nicely. Please consider the Alliance when voting.

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