Opinion: What happens when I door-knock for Labour

Tracey McLellan is a Christchurch-based Labour Party council member

Why do we need a Labour-led Government?

New Zealand is a fantastic country and we need a Labour-led Government to make the most of it: New ideas, positive leadership, and a genuine commitment to addressing the growing problems we face. National have had nine years in Government and they are clearly out of steam.

I’m scared of dogs. I only mention this because you come across plenty of them when door-knocking. Most people reassure you it’s okay because their dog is friendly, which isn’t always obvious.

Nevertheless, I door knock because it’s the best way to find out what’s important to people and gauge the mood – and there is a mood for change.

This weekend I spoke with a woman who was genuinely excited she voted Labour. She had before but not recently. She said housing was the reason and she was hopeful and excited that Jacinda was going to be the next Prime Minister. Mental health is the most frequently raised concern, and people have been extremely generous sharing their stories.

Mental health will be a priority of the next Labour Government. We’ll review mental health services and plan to better look after those who need help, and to support our amazing health workers to do their valuable work.

People really love to talk about water. It’s absolutely imperative that we restore our rivers and lakes to a truly swimmable state within a generation and Labour’s water royalty gives regional councils the resources to clean up waterways.

Here in Christchurch, we know only too well what a lack of action feels and looks like. Labour is committed to speeding up the rebuild and healing the hurt across mental health, education and insurance worries.

We’ll fund extra mental health professionals across primary and intermediate schools; accelerate the schools rebuild programme, and establish an arbitration tribunal to finally fast track insurance resolutions. We have to reach a workable settlement with city council to provide more certainty around the anchor projects.

The $300 million on the table for projects that benefit the city’s future is a great idea and means we get to decide locally what that looks like. Importantly, Labour is committed to restoring full democracy to Environment Canterbury.

Growing up, I remember Mr Wright, our principal who had a fondness for telling stories about New Zealand. I felt proud and very lucky. It was not wasted on me that the heroic changes and best ideas were credited to Labour governments.

It seemed then, and I know it’s true now, that Labour is about getting things done. I’m convinced that we can’t afford to stick with the status quo – and now feels like the right time for change – so let’s do this.

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