A couple of weeks ago we asked readers to suggest questions for written answers from the candidates. We chose / edited six questions, and sent them to the four campaigns. Previous posts cover answers from Grant Robertson and Andrew Little. David Parker’s answers are below.
(1) Can you outline your strategy for winning the next election.
Unify around giving greater emphasis to fairer economic outcomes for all NZ’ers, starting with fresh conversations with working people.
(2) How prepared are you to work with the wider left, with the other parties of the left? Would you form a coalition with the Greens, before the next election – why or why not?
I believe I have a good & trusted relationship with the Greens, which I will draw upon. Alongside the Greens, I often represent Labour on green issues, including climate change, renewables, energy efficiency and water. I am determined to better contest the party vote with all our competitors, including the Greens, but not so as to cause the public to lose confidence in a possible Labour-Green government.
(3) How will you combat the attacks that will most certainly come from National and their fronts such as the “Taxpayers’ Union” and blogs? How do you shift the narrative so that “middle New Zealand” stop believing propaganda and start engaging with the real issues going on in New Zealand?
A more coherent message about what Labour stands of is an important ingredient. The linkages between the TU, National, Act & Whaleoil should be more actively exposed.
(4) Rural communities and towns have been declining for many years. What’s your plan to stop urban drift and the loss of vital services to these areas?
NZ cannot prosper with only a few large cities thriving. Our economic policies – which encourage productive investment, rather than speculation, are a key to regional success. So is government procurement, and the fair distribution of public services.
(5) Do you intend for Labour to develop policy specific to Work and Income beneficiaries? (as opposed to policy directed towards low income people in general). Do you recognise that many WINZ beneficiaries have vulnerabilities not being addressed by other Labour policy?
Housing policy, the Best Start package for kids are important steps, but there is more to be done.
(6) Do you have the courage to acknowledge the predicament presented by Anthropogenic Global Warming and take the bull by the horns? Do you agree with the statement: “Coal mining is an unacceptably dangerous and ecologically unsustainable industry in the 21st Century”, and if so what are the implications for NZ?
I am on record as saying lignite development should not occur, as we fry the planet if the world goes coal to liquids. I am also responsible for much of the push toward renewable electricity, and for emissions pricing (which has been neutered by National, but can be easily fixed). In terms of hard coal used for steel & aluminium production, NZ steel & aluminium production using renewable electricity is amongst the cleanest in the world, but still uses carbon. I do not propose closing down existing bright coal mines, only to see dirtier substitutes used overseas.