ANSWERS: If you could stand by one policy and ensure that it got enacted, what would it be?

Note: Money would not be an object in any of these answers.

In no particular order:

Anne-Elise Smithson, Candidate for Northcote, Green Party

Rivers Clean Enough To Swim In Again. Rivers clean enough to gather seafood from – not just dip your toe in.

It’s quite simple really.

Right now, two thirds of our monitored river swimming sites in NZ are too polluted to swim in.

With the current standards that have been set, some rivers will be allowed to degrade as long as others in a region are improving. That would allow some rivers to have as much nitrogen pollution as the notoriously polluted Yangtze River in China.

Meanwhile, NIWA scientists say that water pollution from decades of farming may be approaching a “tipping point” which threatens marine life in the Hauraki Gulf. This is through build-up of acidity and nutrients flowing from rivers which receive run-off from farms. The question is, how far will we let this go?

The Green Party will use several policy tools to help achieve the goal of ensuring our rivers and lakes are clean enough for swimming. This includes establishing a network of protected rivers and setting up robust standards for clean water.

This policy will deliver what New Zealanders want – clean rivers and lakes.

And it’s about creating a policy that people will benefit from  in decades to come, beyond the electoral cycle. It’s about not passing the buck down the inter-generational line, and making important changes now.  

Lindsay Waugh, Member on the Kaipatiki Local Board

I fully support the city rail link as an absolutely essential piece of infrastructure for Auckland. This city has been victim of too much short term thinking for generations. The debate should not be focused on the cost of this vital infrastructure. The focus of the debate should be on the cost of NOT building this PT link on the economic sustainability of  Auckland and New Zealand.

Richard Hills, Member on the Kaipatiki Local Board, Candidate for Northcote, Labour

To me I’m passionate about our Youth Policies around apprenticeships, jobs & support services, but I think our Kiwibuild policy would be the most important to get through to make the most difference. To help get people into houses, to create jobs & growth.

So many people are hurting in our community and the biggest thing they’re talking about is housing at all levels. If we can work with social housing providers, council and make sure we build enough state housing too there will be massive positive change across the country.

It’s crucial we act on housing now.

Jonathan Coleman, Incumbent, Candidate for Northcote, National

I would like to see a long term steady downward trend in assaults on children.

Gil Ho, Candidate for Northcote,  Internet Party

Digital Economy & Innovation

Why? Additional source of export revenue means more jobs and a bigger pie.

 Damian Light, Candidate for Northcote, United Future

This is a tough one, there are so many answers I can think of. But if it had to be one policy, it would be a fully funded education system.

We’ve got some pragmatic policies to make this happen in steps like abolishing tertiary education fees and improving classroom sizes.

But if money was not an issue then we could have the best education system in the world, one that unlocks the potential of people so they can achieve what they want.

A system that fully supports children with disabilities, with high quality, early intervention to ensure that they’re not being left behind. One that can identify children who are struggling with literacy and numeracy so we can help them with extra tuition as early as possible. It would have the ability to cope with gifted children also, help them achieve their full potential, without negatively impacting the other students. A system that was not just about maths and English, but also arts and culture, life and social skills. This wouldn’t’ end at school, but be a lifelong education system, helping parents adapt to having children, upskilling through their work and helping them adjust to new opportunities and technology. Our people would understand their heritage and history, where NZ fits into the world.

Education would help other areas too – for example our justice system is full of people who are struggling to find their place in society because they cannot read or write, they cannot get jobs and end up turning to crime. It’s not the only reason people end up in the justice system, but a significant one.

Dr. Grant Gillon, Member on Kaipatiki & Devonport Local Boards

Local councils always used to be about local communities. Local democracy was established to get things done for neighbourhoods and most councils started out as road boards, developing roads that were formed for walking or as horse and cart routes between neighbours. These boards later included water boards and drainage boards and so on. Eventually we were ‘given’ the Auckland Council. But it seems as if the local has turned into corporate.
Communities are now stakeholders. Elected members are a nuisance to the bureaucrats who have ideologically driven views of what other people’s neighbourhoods should look like.
So, if I could stand by one policy and ensure that it got enacted, it would be to develop village planning groups in many of our neighbourhoods. This is more than placemaking which focuses more on single projects. This would mean more than just contracting community volunteers to do work that Council is not prepared to pay full rates for. This village planning would empower communities to discuss, decide upon and develop their own futures. This will be true community development, not community control as we so often see in local government these days.

John Gillon and Anne Hartley haven’t submitted their answers.

This is another edition of pure information. I think this is one of the great things about this blog, our community and even democracy. To see our representatives each stand for something different from each other but each of these have very good points. What do you think about what’s been said?

Next week’s question has been sent out to the candidates. It is: What is successful policy discussion?

Until next time,

Dale

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