Last week I represented UnitedFuture at the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) political forum. It was well attended, with representatives from most parties (notably missing was Act and the Conservatives) and a good audience with standing room only.
The scene was set with some stark statistics on child poverty in New Zealand and candidates were asked to respond to supplied questions in eight minutes. I was lucky to be chosen to go first and talked about our policies on income sharing and community hubs, our desire to help families into good housing and our ideas on addressing domestic violence.
I explained that we believe that children must be supported as part of the family and the community.
“Family resilience is based on the skills and resources of the parents and the health of the local community in which they are based, therefore policy needs to be focused on both individual families and communities.”
– UnitedFuture principle on family policy
It was refreshing to see that there was definitely some agreement from the parties on at least a few policies, including warrant of finesses for housing and a cross party accord on poverty. However despite the promises, there was little talk about what was being done. A lot of promises on what parties would do, not much about what they have done.
I consider myself fortunate to be able to to stand up and be able to talk not just about what we want to do, but what we’ve done already. UnitedFuture has a record of action on families especially those in need;
- Fought for tax credits in Working for Families to help working families
- Created the Families Commission who gives families a voice in government and ran the highly influential ‘It’s Not Okay’ campaign against domestic violence
- Delivered the national medicines strategy which has helped ensure that around 240,000 more New Zealander’s have got access to the medicines they need.
- Granted pharmacists more power to prescribe, making it easier to get access to more medicines.
UnitedFuture has never allowed ideology or party lines stop the right decisions being made – we’ve worked with all parties to achieve real results. For example we worked with Labour to get the business tax cuts in 20 years, worked the Greens to get homes insulated and supported the Maori Party’s Whanau Ora.
Conversely we’ve voted against policy that we disagree with. Nationals attempt to reform the Resource Management Act was put on hold because we refused to allow them strip out the core principles that the environment must be protected. We offered to work on a solution, but it seems they couldn’t accept anything less than growth at all costs, which is a shame.
What this highlights to me, is that we need parties in parliament that are able to work with others on solutions. Blind ideology doesn’t deliver for those in need, promises don’t help people, action does.
When you’re looking at what party to vote for, take a look at their record of action. It speaks louder than words.