Whether I’m out and about visiting councils around the country or talking to people in my local community, I’m hearing that the impacts of inflation and increasing living costs are squeezing middle New Zealand. The economic pain people are feeling as prices keep rising is real and it’s compounded by a sense that there’s no clear pathway beyond here.
More and more, I meet people who are demanding a clear plan; they want reasons to be optimistic. They are done with conversations dominated by negativity. “Where is the leadership?” they are asking.
As someone who held a senior banking role during the global financial crisis, I know first-hand the importance of leadership in restoring confidence. Not knowing which policies will make a difference, dithering when incisive focus is called for, and allowing events to dictate outcomes are the factors that erode confidence.
National’s team includes people who have the right credentials to navigate New Zealand’s economy beyond these difficult times. Decision-making that restores confidence and outlines a cogent response to both international pressures and those brought on by our own government are needed right now.
Getting the economy back on track is also an important element in turning our young people away from a life of crime. I’m absolutely convinced that addressing climbing rates of lawlessness depends on two strategies:
Firstly, we have to deal with the immediate challenge of an outlaw culture that feels it can get away with anything. What we are witnessing now isn’t just a spike in crime, it’s a building wave and this government must get serious about the problem to stop it. I’m stunned criminals are so emboldened they can smash into a jeweller's in broad daylight. This is Takapuna’s high street, not a scene from a Hollywood movie!
Secondly, we need to address the root causes of crime. In our criminal justice system we have men and women who were often expelled from school, suffer from mental health issues, and problems with alcohol addiction. This isn’t simply coincidence. This happens when young people lose hope in their futures, when they have lost interest in education, and when they have poor role models because the people around them have lost hope too.
National will take a social investment approach. Addressing crime, welfare dependence and a whole range of other social problems is interconnected and will require medium to long-term strategies that will only succeed if they are supported by a strong, well-managed economy that generates wealth to the benefit of all of us.