A society divided

What we are seeing outside Parliament, and the reaction to it, is the culmination of underlying issues that have been rumbling along in our communities for some time, says opposition leader Christopher Luxon. Photo Scoop
  • By Christopher Luxon, MP for Botany and National Party leader

I want to address the elephant in the room: our increasingly divided society.

I entered politics because I wanted to help create a society where Kiwis can get ahead.

Where if you’re willing to put in an honest day’s work, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

That’s my vision for New Zealand – a society of opportunity.

But what we’re experiencing under Labour is a society divided. The Prime Minister talks about the team of five million, but actually she leads the most divisive Government in recent memory.

Renters versus landlords. Business owners versus workers. Farmers versus cities. Kiwis at home versus those stuck abroad. The vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.

What we are seeing outside Parliament, and the reaction to it, is the culmination of underlying issues that have been rumbling along in our communities for some time.

It’s driven by Covid and vaccine mandates, yes, but the frustrations shared by many Kiwis are also driven by a Government that seems to be stalling.

The cost of living is through the roof. The dream of home ownership is turning into a nightmare. Long-term benefit dependency is skyrocketing.

Then add to the mix Labour’s approach to Covid, which relies far too heavily on controlling all aspects of everyday life, rather than using tools like rapid antigen tests to manage risk and give Kiwis more personal responsibility. No wonder Kiwis are frustrated.

The “team of five million” has fractured and we all want to see a pathway out, together.

We must chart a path back to that middle-ground that unites us and not allow ourselves to be divided into warring factions.

Kiwis should be able to question the current health response while also agreeing that some restrictions are still required to minimise deaths and ensure our health system is not overloaded.

Kiwis should be able to sympathise with some of the issues being raised by protestors without being framed as condoning illegal behaviour or siding with anti-science conspiracy theorists.

Kiwis should be able to ask whether the Government is striking the right balance between individual rights and public health imperatives without being dismissed as pandering to extremists.

The Government’s unwillingness to engage with these issues has amplified division. The dismissal of anyone who questions their approach has fed a growing distrust.

What this country needs is new leadership.

Leadership that knows how to get things done and get our Covid toolset in place, that isn’t too proud to call it when we get things wrong and admits its mistakes, and that shows up when times are tough, not just in the glory moments.

New Zealand is a great country and we have a great future. We will get what we deserve, and we deserve the very best – but ultimately that is up to each and every one of us.

If we join together, and celebrate our differences rather than letting them divide us, we really can deliver a better future for all New Zealanders.