by Geoffrey Churchman

Over 200 locals filled the Baptist Church Hall in Te Moana Road to capacity to hear National Party Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson Nicola Willis, along with Otaki electorate candidate Tim Costley talk about what the next government will do, and won’t do, after 14 October.

Tim gave introductory comments about his career and family, and his motivation for wanting to be an MP. He said that it doesn’t include money — he gets more as an Air Force pilot than he will as an MP, but service to society and the needs of people is important to him.

An approximate 25 minute address by Nicola Willis followed on the depressing way things are now with the country, and what the next government will do about it. In 2017 government debt was a bit over $5 billion — now it’s $95 billion, and as everyone knows, inflation is well up, particularly food prices for which the annual percentage increase is well into double digits. The annual current account deficit (imports minus exports) was $33.0 billion (8.5 percent of gross domestic product [GDP]) in the year ended 31 March 2023, according to figures released by Stats NZ yesterday. This compares with $24.2 billion (6.8 percent of GDP) in the year ended 31 March 2022.

Nicola asked if anyone in attendance felt they were getting 80% better service from government departments and bodies than they were in 2017. That is the extent of the increase in public service spending that has happened since the Labour Party took office. Nobody felt that; in fact services have got considerably worse as anyone needing medical treatment will attest to. She mentioned that when this government announced $1.9 billion would be spent on mental health she welcomed it as it’s a big problem. It turned out to be a bonanza for bureaucrats, but nothing useful happened in the delivery of services; even the Auditor General could not work out where the money had gone.

The most important thing the next government has to do is grow the economy after the considerable attacks on the productive sector than have been made by this government, motivated by ideology and not reality. A bigger productive sector and a smaller government sector will help achieve many of the societal goals that people want to see — such as improved infrastructure and less red tape will mean shorter waiting times for a government body to do something. She was scornful of the Green’s Wealth Tax plans — her mother told her an important principle: you don’t bring the bottom up by pulling the top down. A Green Party style wealth tax in Norway was a disaster — the rich voted with their feet and left: the result was a lower tax take than before,

Skyrocketing crime was mentioned — ram raid offences have increased 600% in the last 5 years and 75% of offences are committed by youth under 17. This government is deliberately soft on crime and offenders are soon back on the streets.

Matters that audience members were also concerned about included: Co-governance notions — a definite no as far as National is concerned as all citizens should be equal — Globalists — National is cool about them — rampant Te-Reo-fication — English is essential for comprehension — and keeping social housing — same policy as Labour; sell old houses in the wrong places and build new more appropriate ones where they are needed.

She and Tim concluded by asking people to help where they can with donations to spread direct awareness of National’s alternative policies to those of this government — as the bribed, pro-Labour Mainstream Media won’t mention them.

L to R: Dr Frances Hughes CNZM, National candidate for Mana; Nicola Willis and Tim Costley.