ROMAN TRAVERS: Stick your election lollies!

Opinion 16/08/2017

OPINION: Stick your election lollies! Right back in your election lolly jar.

I never would have thought that I would have been so ashamed to live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Look at what’s happening in Southland with the Southland DHB: A New Zealand Council of Trade Unions  report says that the Southern District Health Board is underfunded by more than $7 million this year alone. The CTU assessment believes that the health budget shortfall is a whopping $215m nationwide.

And yet we are being offered tax cuts by the incumbent National government. They cannot be serious can they?

The lead up to any election is like being at a children’s birthday party waiting for the clown to come.

The anticipation is so exciting, but in reality, he’s just another crappy balloon puppeteer hiding behind the façade of badly applied makeup, more interested in payment than pleasing the wildly excited audience, fuelled by the huge amounts of sugar coursing through their veins.

The similarity is frighteningly similar when you look at what we are faced with now that the general election is now weeks away.

It’s hard not to become enticed by the woeful promises of tax cuts and extra payments for doing nothing more than opening your eyes and swinging your legs out of bed each morning. In fact, you wouldn’t even need to get up based on some of the lollies being offered in this election.

Stick your election lollies!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if I wouldn’t love to see less of my hard earned money disappearing into the consolidated fund. What really gets up my nose is the disturbing commentary we hear that leads us to believe that New Zealand is doing well; even though we continue to borrow like there’s no tomorrow.

How does it make you feel when a member of parliament tells you that there is an operating surplus when there are so many examples of extreme need sticking out like a policeman at a Rhythm and Vines festival?

Our public hospitals continue to struggle with budgets that are cruel and highly restrictive based upon the growing needs of our communities. Pharmac, the governement agency that determines which medicines are funded and which remain at full cost to you and me; continue to battle with their mandate apropos the funding they receive.

The New Zealand Police, The Department of Conservation, our wonderful teachers, doctors and nurses. They all need more money. Not only to ensure that they can get the job done that we entrust them to do, but also to prevent them being lost to other employment or to other countries who love that we educate and train their future employees.

Then there is the housing issue. What the hell happened here? Once upon a time, 60% of us owned our own homes. We are hurtling towards a nation of long term renters, with 60% soon thought to be renters rather than home owners.

Seeing homeless people in huge numbers around the streets of any country is incredibly upsetting. Seeing them here in New Zealand just makes me ashamed. We should be judged by the way we look after those most at need and we are collectively doing a woeful job.

The government is you and me. They are a democratic reflection of what we choose in that polling booth once every 4 years. The best way to kill democracy is not to vote. That will stop it in its tracks.

Don’t give me a tax cut. Get things sorted first, and then take the lid off the lolly jar. 

Roman Travers is a Broadcaster and Writer. He also works for Pfizer NZ and these views are his own and not the views of Pfizer NZ.