Hobson Article - January / February 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Roll on 2015. Looking back on 2014 from a political perspective, I feel a mix of pride and frustration.

Pride, to be part of a National Government that the people of New Zealand have entrusted with power for a third term.

Frustration, that debate on core economic and social issues was largely set aside during the election campaign. It was a campaign of side-shows, with a disproportionate amount of airtime given to players, who in the end attracted only a tiny fraction of the votes.

Meantime, the Dirty Politics saga, with its hacking of private communications and their posting on line, crossed a new threshold for New Zealand politics.

It is true that these types of political campaigns are becoming the norm worldwide. But I hope that people across the political spectrum, the media, the blogosphere and general public will be reflecting on the campaign over the Christmas period.

There is a price for this style of politics: the real risk of dissuading more and more New Zealanders from engaging in the political process – be that through voting, being involved in an issue of interest or even becoming involved in public life themselves.

Through it all, the National Government, led by John Key, kept its focus on what we knew was important– working to build New Zealand’s future through a strong, stable economy; more jobs and business growth; more support for families; and safer, healthier communities.

We will carry on working towards those goals in 2015.

On a local level, I’m conscious of the fact my friends and neighbours in Remuera and throughout the Epsom electorate want to see local and central government working together to provide effective investment in transport to keep this growing city moving, and to increase the supply of new housing.

I’m keenly aware of deep concern around the substantial increases in rates in this part of town. The mayor and council are, of course, primarily responsible for this and they have the two most powerful levers to control rates at their disposal. These are, controlling spending and spreading the burden more equitably with a higher uniform charge.

Meantime, at the central government level we continue to consider carefully how best we can encourage discipline and efficiency in this important sector, which affects our lives and the local economy so enormously.

I’m looking forward to some downtime over the Christmas period, and to returning to Parliament next year to continue my work as the National List MP based in Epsom and as the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year,

Paul Goldsmith