Judith and David can complain all they like but they are far from being in Government
Irrespective of that – we still need a plan on where we go from here is a country.
Here is the thing with Judith Collins and other Opposition Members of Parliament - and ill be brutal in my assessment. The reality is that an election is still nearly two years away - 2023 - and until then all the politics in the world do not change the fact that a government with an overwhelming majority in the house that could probably govern alone is still at the helm. Therefore, still very much in charge of what is good, bad, or indifferent when it comes to COVID19 and the pandemic. Essentially, it doesn’t matter about all the noise from the Opposition benches that’s just the reality of it and if it’s one thing i know politics turns on the head of a pin.
But while the pot shots are happening and all the distractions about who is right or wrong or who's idea is better than someone else’s the reality, and tragedy is, we still have a long way to go in this pandemic - so much so that we are barely mid-way through struggling to reach that magic target of more than 90% of the population vaccinated. At the same time, we have an increasing number of small and medium sized business struggling to keep their heads above water, house prices continuing to rise and mental health beginning to really amplify. It’s not one thing it’s a plethora of things.
We have workforce issues, skilled migration issues, problems with MIQ and yet here we are still muddling about in the weeds over trying to convince the unvaccinated that the video they just watched from Russia is fake news. Actually, we need to be press forward past spending so much time on convincing people to get the jab because of all the right reasons, including the fact that it’s been proven by medical science and now double down on the foundations of our economy and nation moving forward - because unless we have a clear economic plan and a plan to inject stimulus into the economy, a plan to rebuild our workforce and finally see investments into health, education and general infrastructure come to bear then all we are doing is tinkering around the edges.
In other words, we run the risk of remaining in some sort of endless summer trying to convince each other that all will be well with the world we just need to get through this. There are so many parts that need to align and line up before we get through this - and as brutal as they might sound - that’s just the reality.
So, when Opposition politicians come up with the bleeding obvious as ideas and then try and tell us all the Government simply pinched them and we spend days on end in the media and online debating with each other that Grant or Jacinda must have stolen David or Judith’s ideas - really, is that what we have really become? Children in a school yard complaining about who's playing with the Lego versus the barbie doll?
You want an idea? Form three taskforces:
Taskforce one: Building New Zealand’s Economic Future - a focus on building plans and executing them to ensure that the country comes out of this much better than predicted and much better than when we went into it. Bring together the nations young entrepreneurs, industry, Maori, business and professional women, innovators and inventors - no more of the usual suspects who wax lyrical about the line-up of letters after their names
Taskforce two: Building New Zealand Social Fabric - a focus on all the ideas and innovations we can muster to address, as a collective, the social challenges facing our most vulnerable, from social services infrastructure, homelessness, our aging population, whanau with a disability, closing the digital divide and more - again, throw the script out and lets focus our time on fresh thinking and new ideas - if what have been doing is going to end up with the same old same old - then lets ditch the what we have always been doing.
Taskforce three: whanau Maori aspirations – bring together our sharpest minds with our Rangatahi and find a way of mapping a future forward for Te Ao Maori. Combining age and wisdom with youth and exuberance. What our aspirations, our hopes and opportunities and how can we get there – what is our roadmap – and under the banner of kotahitanga. The reality is not one person or entity has the answer but as a collective we certainly all do.
And finally draw our greatest thinkers, fresh and youngest minds from these three groups to finally address the vexed issue of racism in Aotearoa and the ongoing divide between Maori and non-Maori with Te Tiriti sitting firmly at the centre of our drive towards true partnership. On that note the Hon Kelvin Davis wrote back in 2018 that “Te Tiriti is a bridge connecting te ao Māori and Pākehā. Since 1840 who has crossed that bridge? Māori have crossed over - how many have come back the other way? Some have, and we are really grateful for that, but it's mainly been one-way traffic.”
Kelvin is completely right – so why not seize this moment to increase that traffic and instead of a one lane bridge we turn it into a two-lane superhighway.
It cannot be that hard given our geographic size and population level to get things right.
Oh and by the way – Jacinda Arden is the Prime Minister and she will be for the remainder of this term of Government – how about we try something novel and back her in instead of bringing her down.
Matthew Tukaki is the Chair of the National Maori Authority, Nga Ngaru