Friday 19 September 2014

A Policy A Day: Wrap-up

The list of articles in this series is available here.

The General Election is tomorrow, so this series of policy analyses comes to an end. We've looked at 24 different policies spanning a variety of policy areas and political parties, and it has been quite a journey. When I started this project I knew there would be a lot of research ahead, but I feel like doing the research on all the topics has taught me more than most of my university courses. It has been an interesting experience trying to push these posts in the wake of many political scandals, and trying to keep the discussion on policy. Shouting into the wind would be an understatement, but hopefully this resource will be here and remain relevant and useful for a few years to come.

I want to thank the guest bloggers who have helped ease the workload significantly by agreeing to write guest posts. Their styles and biases vary wildly from person to person, but all of the posts have been great and I've definitely learnt some things from the posts. These are all young people who are still developing their views about the world and politics, and every one of them is engaged with decision making in our country. Thank you for not only writing guest posts, but also for continuing to fight the stereotype that youth are disengaged from society and democracy.

I asked each of our guest bloggers to answer the question "If you could tell the incoming government one thing, what would it be?"

Charlotte Austin (Compulsory Te Reo Māori):
"Worry more about the New Zealand you are leaving your grandchildren than your reputation."

Gayathiri Ganeshan (Disestablish the IPCA):
"Keep our kids fed and warm; then make sure their parents can earn a living wage that supports a family. Let tertiary students study in a conducive environment (hint: not one in which we have to work multiple jobs to afford study). Break cycles of offending by showing offenders care and decency, especially prisoners. Give primacy to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, protecting human rights and safeguarding the environment. In short: be better." [Editor's note: One thing Gayathiri. One thing.]

Jason Armishaw (Variable Superannuation):
"I would like to see the government reduce distortions in the housing market by introducing a universal capital gains tax."

Maanya Tandon (Food in Schools):
"If you could try and undo as much of the last 6 years as possible - that'd be great."

Thomas Vautier (Universal Basic Income):
"Ignoring the needs of the youth and lower/middle classes will come around to bite you. You should begin to focus policy that will begin to shrink the increasing wealth deficit. It will be the biggest problem you will face in the coming decade."

Rosie Polaschek (Abolish Maori Electorate Seats):
"Remember all the sectors of society and their interests, and to think about all of them in decision-making."

Gina Yukich (Cleaning Our Rivers):
"Ask young people what they want from education. Many teachers are out of touch with their students, and parents' desires for their children can differ from the childrens' desires for themselves."

Bhenjamin Goodsir (Castle Doctrine):
"I would remind them to keep in mind New Zealand’s strong history of protecting and furthering Human Rights. These rights are a fundamental part of our society and we need to do everything we can to continue this history."

Simon Johnson (Capping School Donations):
"Any new government should renew its focus on education. New Zealand should be aspiring to be the most highly educated nation in the world. A new government of any party should adopt a rigorous evidence-based approach and be bold in their thinking."

Camille Wrightson (Targeting Gangs):
"Prioritise people and the planet over profit."

Andrew Chen:
"I look overseas at many governments and just have to cringe. From government inaction to poor policy to political scandal, the government stops working for the people and everyone becomes worse off. New Zealand is a great country to live in - please try to keep it that way."

This election has been a very interesting one to say the least. It tears at my principles internally; on the one hand I want to only talk about policy and make sure that governments are elected on the basis of policy; on the other hand some of the revelations and details released about the current government, from dirty politics to GCSB spying, are unsettling and make me question the ethics of those trusted to lead our country. It makes me lose faith in the political system, and to a certain degree I think that it explains part of why youth are "apathetic" about politics. Hopefully we'll see youth participation in the election skyrocket after the many initiatives that have been put in place, but I'm less hopeful about that making a difference to our government. All I can do is hope that no matter who wins, that they try to keep the interest of all New Zealanders at heart, and that the country keeps trucking along.

If you've read all of the posts, then well done you! A lot of words have been written and I'm glad that someone's been reading them. But this series has to come to an end, so thank you once again to the guest writers and also thank you to the readers for giving us an audience.

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