In the lead-up to the election on September 23, we’re profiling some of our widespread international volunteers and asking them to share why they’re voting Green in 2017. Today, meet Kylie. She’s a Kiwi living in the Netherlands with her husband Mark. She is a freelance communications consultant and enjoys geeking out on scifi, kiwi music, and pop culture in general.
New Zealand has a lot to be proud of. We’re great at sports. We make awesome films, produce phenomenal music, and write amazing books to great acclaim all around the world. We are inventors, and innovators. We make unfathomably delicious wine and chocolate! Our little corner of the world is breathtakingly gorgeous. We are lucky to come from Aotearoa, a place with a deep and rich culture. Living overseas has shown me that internationally we have a fantastic reputation for all of these things, people want to talk to us about them all the time. They are things to absolutely be proud of.
But what makes a country really, truly successful? Is it that we look beautiful to the outside? Or is that just clever marketing?
In what other ways do we lead the world?
New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the world. Our rangatahi are killing themselves at a rate twice as high as their American counterparts, and five times that of British young people.
We have the highest rates of family (child) and intimate partner violence in the world.
We have the highest percentage of homelessness in the OECD. 42,000 Kiwis now live in “precarious” housing such as garages, caravan parks and cars.
More New Zealand children are killed by poverty-related diseases linked to cold, damp, and overcrowded housing than are killed by car crashes or drowning accidents.
We top the IMF’s housing unaffordability list.
I’m not proud of these statistics.
They are all interconnected, and reflect a Government and a society that has the wrong priorities. We see the consequences of this inaction in our education, health and crime statistics. All of these factors disproportionately impact Māori.
If solutions aren’t found for these systemic problems, our people don’t thrive, limiting our potential. If our government continues to prefer running at a surplus over properly funding programmes to improve these outcomes, they are part of the problem. If we are to judge the success of our country by how we treat our most vulnerable, we are failing. Catastrophically.
Multiple governments have tried and failed to fix these problems. Something’s got to change. We have to try something new.
Watch this short excerpt from when Kylie and Mark met our international candidate Bridget Walsh on her recent global pop-up tour.
This election I’m proud to be voting for the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Along with a clear plan to tackle climate change, they have become the strongest opposition voice in parliament for our most vulnerable. A representative democracy can only be strengthened by having Māori, youth, queer, disabled, and refugee voices in government. As a member, I am proud that all of these voices and perspectives are represented in the top ten of our party list. I believe in the Green kaupapa, and I believe we have policy to begin to combat all of the challenges we face. A Green heart in the next Labour Government will ensure a truly progressive government, working to improve life for all New Zealanders.