National has been running several nation-wide Have Your Say campaigns. Some might think these are so much hot air, or ploys to occupy space on social media platforms. There is a purpose to them, however – in fact, by taking part, you’ve helped to set the direction for us on where you want to see New Zealand go on some major issues.
It’s when MPs are working on the ground that we see the impact that larger issues, such as Government’s regional fuel tax, have on people’s daily lives. However, wouldn’t it be better to be proactive and steer policy from the front? For one reason, it’s much harder to get a derailed policy back on track than to set it properly from the start.
A good example is the current KiwiBuild fiasco.
Government’s announcement it’s going back to the drawing board on this one came after it spectacularly missed its first-year target to have 1,000 homes built by July. That number was downgraded to 300 — and now interim targets have been scrapped altogether. To date, a paltry 47 homes have been built — amid reports of buyers withdrawing and homes being sold on the open market without going back in the ballot.
National proved after the earthquakes that the way to build more houses is to release more land and to speed up the consent process. We also delivered the KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme, which allowed eligible aspiring homeowners to withdraw from their KiwiSaver funds and gifted an up to $10,000 grant towards their deposits. The figures say it all: between April 2016 and March 2017, 315 HomeStart grants were approved just in Waimakariri electorate.
This year, we are leading the policy debate by releasing eight discussion documents with new ideas that will tackle the serious issues facing New Zealanders. The first phase of our policy development process – the Have Your Say campaign – saw over 10,000 New Zealanders give us their ideas. In 2020, New Zealanders will know we can deliver on policies that have been shaped by New Zealanders – without having to set up over 200 working groups at a cost of $700,000 a day to get some ideas together on what we think New Zealanders want.