Isn’t is good to be reading a paper copy of the Times once again! Long may our trusted local newspaper reign over us.
Being locked down for a month gave us all time to reflect on the things we value. Family, friends, community and personal wellbeing. All things that Lucy and I rediscovered while confined to our Dannemora home with our kids.
While cars mostly left our local streets, on my daily exercise through Botany, it was great to see families and children out enjoying each other’s company during that difficult time.
As we now emerge from our two months of protective bubbles, there are many questions about the next two years ahead.
The Government delivered a big shot of adrenaline through its annual Budget last week. It was quick and dirty with sums involved beyond our normal comprehension.
Like it or not, that’s what governments around the world need to be doing to get us through. Here’s what I would do from here:
1) Ramp up infrastructure spending. Identify legacy projects that provide 3-5 years worth of stimulus and leave us with tangible assets we can make use of afterwards.
Locally that means the Eastern Busway, Botany to the Airport Rapid Transit, East-West Link and Mill Road corridors.
2) Re-align our trade strategy towards traditional trading partners. Nations within the Five Eyes network are known entities and highest on the trust scale.
We don’t have free trade agreements with the US and UK because for too long all our eggs have been in the China basket. Now’s the right time to change that.
3) Strip back the amount of regulation and red tape we wrap the country up in. Feel good policies are nice to haves in the good times. Reducing the hurdles everyday Kiwis and business owners need to jump through will free us all up to get on with our lives.
And goodness, don’t we all just want to get on with our lives once more?
Covid-19 changed the way we approach the world, but it also made a closer more resilient nation that will now pull through.
Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany