Is the National Party writing the news these days?
Everywhere I look I see nasty right wing hit job after nasty right wing hit job aimed at the small missteps made by our new Government get inflated into enormous mountains while real issues that impact the people who voted for us are minimised.
Look at the unfolding horror at my local Middlemore Hospital. I’ve been there, I’ve had whānau there, the staff are great working so hard for the people of South Auckland and New Zealand. The nurses, the doctors, the workers are all fantastic and for them to have to put that commitment into a hospital full of black mould with raw sewerage leaking into the walls is a betrayal of their faith.
It is utterly unacceptable that Middlemore has had power cuts and had to run their children’s ward on batteries! That’s a third world medical infrastructure in a first world country!
And why was this public hospital allowed to rot? Because the DHB were too frightened to ask for more money from the health minister at the time, Jonathan Coleman, who conveniently quit as this news was breaking.
Coleman is off to a rich new job in the private health sector while South Aucklanders are left with an underfunded rotting sewerage-drenched public hospital.
What’s sicker than this is that the media seem to believe that Clare Curran’s coffee date is more important than this appalling dereliction of duty. Over a week, there were 65 news stories about Middlemore Hospital yet 195 about Clare Curran!
It gets worse.
We now know that botched earthquake repairs in Christchurch cost $270 million! Gerry Brownlee originally claimed it was a mere $70 million. This was after we learnt corporate spies were used against Christchurch Earthquake survivors.
National gained budget surplus after budget surplus in their 9 years of power by grotesquely underfunding every social and physical infrastructure we have. This new Government are having to do the hard lifting on traffic congestion because National never had the courage.
Labour, NZ First and the Greens now have to fix our under-resourced health system, education system, roading system, Christchurch rebuild, social welfare system and public broadcasting. Everywhere you look things are worse than National pretended they were.
Already, we are doing more in our 150 days of Government to offset National’s nine years of neglect: the families package; restructuring industrial relations to rebalance the scales so that workers can have a voice again; investment in young people who aren’t in education, employment or training; a minimum wage of $16.50 which will be $20 by 2020; and we have introduced legislation to ban the use of letting fees, which will have huge impact on the communities in which we live.
There is a lot to undo, but this is a Government for the many, unlike the last one which was clearly a Government for the few.
These are so many crucial issues of importance to the people of New Zealand, yet the media focus on a coffee date so it’s time the media started getting their priorities right. This new Government is committed to working for the people to repair the damage of the National Party regardless of what the media headlines have been saying over the last two weeks.
– Willie Jackson is the Minister of Employment and a Labour List MP.
– First published in the Manukau Courier