One of the things dear to Jim’s heart was the idea that the State should use its power to make good outcomes and not leave it to the free market. In that vein, here are some upgrades for 2018 that we should push from a progressive Government.
Universal Suffrage – lower the voting age to 16:
If we want to re-engage youth, we have to actively promote their rights. By including 16 year olds into the democratic franchise, we allow their concerns, especially towards global warming, to be forced onto the political agenda. This would generate a better quality of democratic outcome that weights the realities of todays generation with the vested interests of the landed gentry who always vote. This should be picked up immediately by the Ministry of Youth and championed.
50-50 Gender Boards in all Public Services:
If one of the main criticisms from CEOs and the corporate world is that there aren’t enough quality female candidates for Board positions, then generate the infrastructure to lift that by setting all Public boards 50-50. There is a reservoir of talent inside the Public Service of women who have not been able to advance as far as they should have and who are ready to step up immediately. By lifting all Boards to 50-50 gender ratios inside the Public Service, you immediately upskill and prepare a new generation of female leaders who can move from the public service with Boardroom experience into the private sector to help boost the share of executive power in the private sector as well..
0800 public servant whistleblower phone number:
Where public servants who feel managers or ministerial bosses aren’t implementing new Government policy or are implementing policy that is counter productive to the public, can contact the Labour Party or the Minister or the PSA directly and alert the new Government to how policy is actually being implemented. For 9 years National have indoctrinated these Ministries into weapons against poor people, not for their welfare. They are fiefdoms of neoliberal public policy and those few still in the public service who are burnt out from fighting fires on every front need a boost by this type of gesture so that there is hope that the horror of the last 3 terms can be reversed. It would also give the new Ministers a better way to deal with the Yes Minister Public Servants who are already starting to smother them.
Free Internet in poorer social economic areas, libraries, rural NZ and Marae.
Make this a priority investment into digital infrastructure and re-invigorating Public Libraries and Marae while bolstering rural connectivity and countering lower socio-economic digital divide.
Upper Chamber of Parliament:
NZ is a one chamber Parliament and with the use of urgency, any crazy old thing can be written into law within a couple of hours making our Parliament one of the most powerful in the world. If we are to respect the Treaty as a founding document that should be celebrated as a strength rather than derided as reverse-racism run amok and if we want to make longer term vision from our politics, I think a 50 seat second chamber above Parliament with a 5 year term that has the power to delay legislation that breaches the Treaty or negatively impacts the future. The Tino Rangatiratanga Chamber would have the power to hear who legislation falls under their mandate and if a majority decide it is, then legislation could be passed back down to the Parliament for a re-vote. This would create break peddles for radical policy lurches and avoid captured policy dictates from vested interests.
New Union strike powers and two week worker levy:
If we ar serious about reversing inequality, the rules around strikes need to be urgently rewritten to make strike action by workers far easier. It is only when Unions have actual muscle at the negotiating table that bosses ever bother listening. The current legislation around strikes makes it very difficult for a Union to call one, allowing greater flexibility for Unions to call bosses out with strikes will force employers to want to compromise.
This must be seen as the standard now and not the aspiration.
Free Public Transport for everyone under 18, students, disabled and beneficiaries:
Let’s extend the Public Transport system to help move the poorest and most disadvantaged amongst us around our cities. Pubic Transport can’t be allowed to gentrify, we need it to help counter inequality while promoting more public transport use.
New way for student loans to be worked off:
The horror of our student loan mountain has to be looked at with innovative new ideas to help pay off the generation of debt that has been built up.
Help community groups pay for volunteers and help young people gain skills while strengthening the threads of community.
All woman political panel show on mainstream TV:
Come on. COME ON.
Put a super tax on the profits of tobacco, alcohol and gambling and put that money back into regulation and support services for those damaged by those vices.
Regulated Cannabis Market:
Come on. COME ON!
The viciousness of MSDa in their prosecution of the poor must be ended and the mountain of debt established written off.
Free Yoga, meditation, music, art, drama and literacy classes in all prisons available to all prisoners:
Could do more to generate positive results from our Corrections system than anything else.
Remove GST from fruit and vege:
The state has an obligation to set the market in a way that favours the people, removing GST makes fruit and vegetables cheaper at a time when we substantially need more fruit and veggies in our diet.
Remove GST from condoms, tampons and birth control
We want to support positive sexual health and remove price barriers to contraceptives while acknowledging that tampons are a necessity that should be as cheap as possible. Removing GST recognises the power imbalances that make these necessities worthy of subsidising.
Offer small and medium businesses much lower penalty rates and offer amnesties:
While helping out workers, the new Government (particularly the Greens) should be reaching out to small and medium sized business with a reform on IRD to make their sanctions less punitive towards them.
NZ domestic produce subsidy:
Why should NZers pay the world market price for food produced in NZ? When you consider the market protections created for dairy, meat and agriculture alongside the environmental damage we all share from their production, shouldn’t NZers have a built in local subsidy that recognises the market protections and environmental cost? Shouldn’t NZers be able to purchase domestic produce at a domestic price rather than competing with the price a global market with global demand can create?
Free vegetarian school lunches:
Eliminates hunger at schools, promotes healthy diet, moves away from meat because meat is so damaging to the environment.
The enormity of depression upon our society is only beginning to be understood. It is apparent we have a culture in need of counselling. We need to provide a public service of counsellors who are free and promote going as part of a necessary healthy lifestyle.