By Clive Jackson
Reti is low key, hard working, medically qualified (as an academic and private clinician as well as a former DHB board member), multi-lingual,
and an international trade consultant, to name a few of his traits and areas of experience. In recent months, as well as travelling the length and breadth of New Zealand to meet his obligations as deputy leader of the National Party, he has also taken the time to travel to remote rural areas in Northland to help vaccinate those in marginalised communities. He is also of Maori heritage and from a working class background. He has achieved his current status from hard work and a belief in being a New Zealander and not a member of an under privileged minority. Reti is respectful, transparent, collaborative and willing to listen to and agree with his political opponents when he believes their proposals are for the good of New Zealanders as a whole. He exhibits all those traits we try and teach our children – why should we not expect these traits in our politicians?
Celebrity politicians who have gained popularity and support because of their star status and not their ability have dominated politics, not just in New Zealand but in other countries like Canada and France over recent years. Covid has given them a platform they would never have had to spread their orchestrated stories. Now however, as we all start to face the reality of living with Covid, the wheels are falling off. Eighteen months in our country’s government debt has increased by some $60 billion and we have nothing to show for it. Ardern and her government have spent the whole time playing catch-up because they failed to plan after being gifted a lifeline by New Zealand having the luxury of geographical isolation, a small population and an initial hard lockdown, which gave us a 6 month buffer to learn from offshore experiences and set up a proper plan to face a world living with Covid. $60 billion of government spending should have produced major infrastructure improvements like several new well equipped hospitals and upgrading of current medical facilities and staffing, new motorways and roading improvements as well as other transport upgrades. But no, we have had totally untargeted release of newly printed money by this Labour government which has kept interest rates artificially low and has resulted in an uncontrolled speculative spree in our property and share markets. In 2 years (to 30 June 2021) New Zealanders have increased just our housing debt by $53 billion. Remember this is totally separate from government debt which for the same period was over $50 billion. It is simply unsustainable.
It’s time for a change and we need a steady head and common sense to get us there. We need someone who can look above the petty bickering and get people working together and not always seeking a fight. We need a medical and financial compromise.
Shane Reti stands in the best position to do this and to help repair New Zealand and bring us back together.